We are less than a week from the start of the College Football season. Here is the moment you have all been waiting for. The 2019 NCAA Football Preseason Power Rankings are here:
The defending champs have a lot to look forward to with Dabo Swinney and Trevor Lawrence at the helm. Not to mention, an ACC schedule that doesn’t do much to stand in their way.
After suffering an embarrassing defeat in last year’s title game, expect the Tide to come back strong in 2019. Tua Tagovailoa will have huge expectations all season, so it’ll be interesting to see if he lives up to them.
The Dawgs nearly knocked off Alabama in the SEC title game, and you can bet they’ll be ready for another rematch in December. Depending on how the rest of their season goes, it might not even matter who loses that game.
Lincoln Riley will look to make his quarterback the third different Heisman Trophy winner in as many years. From all reports, Jalen Hurts looks like a natural in Oklahoma’s system so it might not be too early to start putting those bets in on him.
With Urban Meyer out at Ohio State, this might be the year that Jim Harbaugh and Michigan finally break through to the College Football Playoff. Harbaugh won’t be calling the offensive plays either, which could be a very good thing.
6) Ohio State
As mentioned, Meyer has moved on and so has Dwayne Haskins. New head coach Ryan Day has enormous shoes to fill, but at least there’s a very talented roster that comes along with it.
An innovative offense is apparently to take shape in Baton Rouge this year with a more experienced quarterback to go along with it. QB Joe Burrow should flourish with a year as a Tiger under his belt.
The Gators made massive improvements in 2018 under Dan Mullen to a 10-3 record and a huge bowl-game win. Feleipe Franks could be a dark-horse Heisman candidate if the Gators make even bigger improvements.
Tom Herman was brought in to have success here to stay in Austin for many years, and 2018 was a nice preview of what’s to come. If the Longhorns pull off a win in the Week 2 matchup against LSU, it could be a huge moment going forward.
10) Texas A&M
Jimbo Fisher made a huge splash in recruiting, so of course expectations will be huge in College Station this season. The Aggies went 9-4 in Fisher’s first year leading them, but matchups against Alabama, Clemson and Georgia could have them right back in a similar position.
Justin Hebert might end up being the No. 1 pick in next year’s NFL Draft and a huge 2019 campaign would go a long way in cementing that. The schedule is a tough one, with the opener against Auburn, but Oregon’s defense might end up being the difference in winning the Pac-12.
12) Notre Dame
After getting dismantled by the eventual champs in the College Football Playoff, Notre Dame has to find a way to compete with the big boys. The Irish have very tough trips to Georgia and Michigan this season, so maybe that can shape their future.
Kyle Whittingham got Utah a little closer to national relevance last season and will certainly look to make the final push in 2019. The Utes’ offensive line will bully opposing teams all season, but a retooled defense might end up losing them an extra game or two.
14) Michigan State
Sparty has eight members of their dominating defense returning this season. They’ll certainly need it, with road trips to Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Oh boy.
The Huskies only return two starters on defense and that could certainly cause some issues down the line. Washington’s offense loses a huge piece in Myles Gaskin to the NFL but Salvon Ahmed could be a nice stop-gap for the time being. It just won’t be enough to win the Pac-12.
16) Penn State
The loss of Trace McSorley is a tough one for Penn State, but James Franklin always has his squad ready to play, no matter what the circumstances are. Although that’s fine and dandy, the Nittany Lions have tough road games at Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Nebraska’s defense should carry them to a solid record, but they do need to get better on offense. Luckily, the Huskers’ schedule is in their favor with some of the tougher games at home.
18) Iowa State
The Cyclones’ defense could ultimately be a big difference in a conference that seems to put that kind of thing to the side.
A lot of experts believe the Wildcats are the most complete team they’ve ever been in a while. Look for them to possibly get back to a second straight Big Ten title game with Clemson transfer Hunter Fitzgerald under center.
The Orange had a breakout year in 2018 and capped it off with a bowl win over West Virginia. An easy ACC schedule should have them in a good spot most of the season, and their early matchup against Clemson is at home.
The Tigers have loads of talent but might have the toughest schedule in the history of college football. They’ll open up at a neutral site against Oregon, with home games against Alabama and Georgia. Not to mention, road games at Florida, LSU and Texas A&M. Say it with me, kids – yikes!
After suffering a gruesome leg injury at the end of last season, McKenzie Milton will try to get back on the field while Darriel Mack and Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush also figure to be in the mix. UCF should easily win the conference and the only non-conference tests are against FAU, Pitt and Stanford.
Speaking of Stanford, K.J. Costello could very well be on an NFL roster someday, and a good 2019 campaign would go a long way to ensuring that. Their season-opening includes tough games against (in order) Northwestern, USC, UCF and Oregon.
24) Boise State
Typically, the Broncos are benefactors of their easy Mountain West Conference schedule and that shouldn’t be too much different this season. It should be fun to see what they do in their Week 1 neutral site matchup against Florida State.
Jeff Monken has made quite the turnaround at West Point, despite there always being a rough off-the-field regiment for his players. Nonetheless, look for them to cruise through most of their schedule, with the only Power Five matchup coming against Michigan at The Big House.