The start of my not-so-bold preseason Top 25

Published 3:34 pm Tuesday, July 23, 2019

With fall camp starting in a matter of weeks around the nation, I have put together my preseason college football Top 25.

This list is completely useless, based 100 percent on speculation and could be easily proven wrong by the start of Week 1. Just wanted to get that out of the way at the beginning of this column. Nonetheless, I love Top 25 lists! So here is my 1-5, with 6-25 coming over the next few editions.

Clemson – the Tigers’ 2018 campaign had some bumps along the road, but every expectation was ultimately met with a CFP National Championship title. Trevor Lawrence is pretty dang good, as it turns out, and will only improve in his sophomore season. Not only that, but it doesn’t appear there is much to threaten Clemson’s ACC dynasty, likely meaning another 12-0 regular season and ACC Championship. Just one word of caution: Syracuse. They gave the Tigers a heart attack last year, and are poised to do the same again this season.

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Alabama – Tua is heading into his (likely) last season at Alabama as a junior. He and coach Nick Saban are going to be hungry for a championship run to avenge the whooping laid on them by Clemson in last year’s title game. Similar to the Tigers, the Crimson Tide should have a fairly easy regular season—up until November that is, when LSU and Auburn loom.

Georgia – The Dawgs dropped the ball in their final two games of the season last year. They led or were tied with the supposedly-best Alabama football team of all time until the final seconds of the SEC Championship, then came out bored and uninterested against Texas in the Sugar Bowl. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Fortunately, Kirby Smart isn’t one for letting that kind of performance slide. They’ll learn from it—coaches, players, staff, everyone. Oh, and more than half of the starters in 2018 were underclassmen. This much returning talent means expectations are bigger than ever in Athens.

Oklahoma – The Sooners had Baker Mayfield. The Sooners had Kyler Murray. The Sooners have Jalen Hurts. The Sooners have a bonafide quarterback whisperer as their coach. Oklahoma isn’t going anywhere, it appears. Back-to-back playoff appearances that came up short are in the rearview mirror. Easily the best team in the Big 12, Oklahoma will score lots of points (and allow a lot too). Will it be enough to make another College Football Playoff? I think so.

Michigan – OK. This time is the real deal, guys. Michigan is absolutely, totally going to have a great season that doesn’t disappoint everyone and leave Jim Harbaugh looking like an outdated-play calling, old fashioned, khaki-wearing football coach. What, I’m serious. Michigan has shot themselves in the foot way too many times in Harbaugh’s tenure, but returning quarterback Shea Patterson and a first-year head coach at Ohio State, Harbaugh’s kryptonite, will be a recipe for success for the Wolverines.