NCAAF Way-Too-Early Top 25 for the 2018-19 Season

Another year has passed, which means everyone in America, excluding Alabama fans, will continue to wish that Nick Saban had stayed in South Beach just so we could watch him coach against the other Evil Empire of Football up in New England. And with this season coming to a close, we look ahead to the future and immediately begin ranking teams far better than where they deserve to be or where they will end up by the end of next season (see 2017 Florida State).

1. Alabama

  • Tua Tagovailoa comes off the bench, at the start of the second half, of the National Championship game and proceeds to lead Alabama back from a 13 point halftime deficit to win the game and Offensive MVP. Or as my sister’s boyfriend put it, proof that Nick Saban is an evil genius. It doesn’t matter who Alabama loses or at what position, they’re still be the favorite to win next year. Short of Nick Saban retiring or going to the NFL, Alabama will never not be a national championship contender. Jalen Hurts proved that he is a team-first player when he let Tua take over the offense, while Tua will ride this game as a pre-season favorite for the Heisman next year. The defense is just as scary as ever, even without do-everything Da’Ron Payne, All-American safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and, possibly, linebacker Rashaan Evans.

2. Clemson

  • Despite looking completely outmatched in the semifinals against Alabama, Clemson is still right there with them. Having watched this team dismantle my Hokies, in person, in Blacksburg last year, I know that Dabo Swinney (#Soybean Wind) will ensure Clemson remains the class of the ACC. Kelly Bryant looked great at times last year and with defensive superstar Christian Wilkins returning for his senior year, Clemson’s defense will be in good hands.

3. Georgia

  • Jacob Eason is the…. sorry wrong Jake. With Jake Fromm solidifying his place at QB and the #1 QB recruit of the 2018 class coming in, that gives Georgia the last three #1 ranked QBs in the country. Eason has decided to transfer to Washington, more on him later, leaving newcomer Justin Fields as the backup to Fromm. Nick Chubb and Sony Michels are likely headed to the NFL, leaving DeAndre Swift as the starter in the backfield. Butkus Award winner and All-American linebacker Roquan Smith is also gone, leaving the defense with a bit less bite to it. But that shouldn’t matter as the Dawgs are still in perhaps the weakest division in college football and have the #1 overall recruiting class coming in. Anything less than a rematch with Bama in the SEC Championship would be a disappointing season.

4. Ohio State

  • J.T Barrett’s 10 year long career has ended, leaving the Buckeyes with a big hole to fill. But beyond that, they seem set everywhere else. Nick Bosa’s younger brother spearheads the defense and Urban Meyer will continue to torture Jim Harbaugh and the rest of the Big Ten. Just make sure not to lose by 31 again.

5. Oklahoma

  • With Baker Mayfield taking his talents and crotch grabbing to the NFL, the Sooners are hoping to ride the same formula of high powered offense and high-cholesterol inducing defense to another Big 12 championship.

6. Michigan State

  • Losing Saquan Barkley is the only reason why Sparty is here and not the Nittany Lions.

7. Penn State

  • See above.

8. Wisconsin

  • Jonathan Taylor will be a Heisman contender next year, Alex Hornibrook will continue to swing between capable and overmatched throughout the year and the Badgers will ride an overall weak schedule to another Big Ten Championship appearance where they look overwhelmed against OSU. Is it 2017 again? But seriously, outside of Michigan, Penn St and maybe Northwestern on the schedule this year, Wisconsin doesn’t have many opportunities to make an impression on the playoff committee. Hopefully Taylor can carry them again.

9. Miami (FL)

  • Is The U back? Based on the last three games of the season, not quite. Are they close to being back? Probably. Do I want them to be back? Most definitely not. Does the rest of CFB want them back? Uhhh, maybe. Mark Richt has this program going in the right direction, Malik Rosier looked good at times, but definitely needs to improve. The turnover chain was fun at first but is now covered so much by ESPN that they forgot about the footballs (think about it)

10. Notre Dame

  • Everyone and their mother is wondering when will Brian Kelly finally make a mistake and get fried from Notre Dame, just for them to hire the ghost of Charlie Weis or steal his son from FAU. Also when will Notre Dame realize that they have almost no margin for error every season to make the playoffs without joining the ACC?

11. Stanford

  • This position hinges on Bryce Love’s NFL decision. He stays and they’re right there with USC as PAC-12 favorites. He leaves and USC takes over this spot despite whatever I say about them in a few spots.

12. Virginia Tech

  • As a Hokies fan, I’ve been surprised seeing so many pundits put them inside the top 20, some even inside the top 15 (SI at #10, CBS Sports at #11). We’re losing our best wide receiver ever in Cam Philips. We’re losing two dynamic defensive players in the Edmunds brothers, Tremaine at linebacker and Terrell at safety respectively and we’re losing a 340 lb beast of a man in Tim Settle from the defensive line. However, most everyone should know to never count against Bud Foster’s defense, who has some interesting and exciting players to utilize this year, especially Devon Hunter, the #1 rated safety recruit in the class of 2017. Incoming QB recruit Quincy Patterson is an exciting prospect, while Hendon Hooker will serve as the backup to incumbent Josh Jackson. Jackson looked good overall last year but hit the freshman wall after the Clemson game in late October, while Tre Turner joins a young but talented group of WRs, led by Sean Savoy, Eric Kumah, Phil Patterson and Caleb Farley, all of whom will be sophomores or redshirt freshman this season. With Justin Fuente staying for now, and hopefully longer, and with a good schedule that includes Notre Dame, Miami and Georgia Tech at home, the Hokies should be right there with the Hurricanes for control of the Coastal Division.

13. USC

  • I think that Sam Darnold should have stayed another year but honestly he wouldn’t have it any other way. At times, Darnold looked like the second coming of Matt Leinart (college, not NFL) and other times he looked like a second-year QB trying too hard to force a round object into a square peg. When you commit 35 turnovers in two years as a starter and lead the country in turnovers this past season, you shouldn’t be considered a top NFL QB prospect. Obviously Darnold was trying to play his way out of being drafted by the Browns first overall but I’m not sure how USC fans would feel if a UCLA QB is taken ahead of Darnold. The draft can’t get here soon enough.

14. Auburn

  • One win and they might not have had to see Alabama raise another championship trophy. Instead they choked their chance away and left the door wide open for Bama to sneak into the playoffs, whether they deserved it or not. Now they’ve lost Kerryon Johnson to the NFL and will have to pray and hope that their offense doesn’t become anemic when they need it the most, (see LSU and Georgia rematch).

15. Washington

  • Jake Browning is still the QB so why would Jacob Eason transfer there (“sudden change of heart” is the only way he won’t end up here)? Eason could have gone anywhere else cause anyone would have been stupid to not try and get him. Besides that drama, Myles Gaskin stated that he will be returning for his senior season so Washington’s offense should be fine.

16. Michigan

  • I can’t tell if Jim Harbaugh is a great coach or just good. He’s led the Wolverines to 8+ wins every season he’s been there, but he hasn’t been able to beat Ohio State, he hasn’t been able to get a signature win and of course he lost to South Carolina to spoil the Big Ten’s unbeaten 2017 bowl record. At least he recruits well.

17. LSU

  • Losing to Troy should have been the end of the season for them. Instead they turn it around, sort of, and lose their bowl game only because of a fantastic one-handed catch, with some poor tackling mixed in. With another season under his belt, hopefully Oregeron can put this team on the right path to being curb-stomped by Bama.

18. TCU

  • #1. Play well enough to get into the Alamo Bowl. #2. Let opponent build double digit lead on you. #3. Comeback to win and crush your opponent’s hopes and dreams. Profit.

19. Boise State

  • The usual suspect when it comes to a Group of 5 darling coming out of the woods to challenge Power 5 supremacy. We’ll have to wait and see if they’re for real when they play Oklahoma St during their OOC schedule.

20. UCF

  • One of the best stories in a long time, UCF will once again be up there with Boise St for the Group of 5 NY6 berth. Scott Frost leaving for his corn in Nebraska hurts but returning Mckenzie Milton at QB is great. One handed and ball-hawking wonderkid Shaq Griffin should be a Day 2 draft pick. Getting to see this team face off against Lane Kiffin’s FAU Owls will be a treat for the entire country.

21. Oklahoma State

  • Losing Mason Rudolph, James Washington and Marcel Ateman is going to hurt this team but just like OU, their offense, with Justice Hill returning, will do just fine. Let’s hope their defense, 55.3 ppg given up in their three losses, can do better.

22. South Carolina

  • Getting Deebo Samuels back is going to be a boon after posting a nine-win season without him. Georgia’s biggest challenger in the SEC East.

23. Texas A&M

  • The Jimbo Fisher era begins. Getting to see Fisher coach against Saban every year is going to be essential watching for CFB fans. An eight-win season could be in reach with Bama, LSU and Auburn in the same division.

24. Iowa State

  • The second best story of this season, the Cyclones had one of their best seasons ever and they went just 8-5. Two wins over top 4 teams and a brief appearance in the AP top 25. The Cyclones might not contend with the Sooners, Cowboys and Horned Frogs of the world, but they should at least scare them of being carried away to the Land of Oz.

25. Purdue

  • Aside from Matt Campbell, Jeff Brohm is so hot right now. Brohm isn’t going to stay in West Lafayette for long so they better take advantage before he’s gone.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Florida State- Fisher is gone, Willie Taggert is in, and anything is better than what they trotted out on the field last season. Hosting Virginia Tech to start the season will be an excellent way to see how far they have to come, especially in my eyes.
  • Ole Miss- Losing Shea Patterson to Michigan hurts and as a consolation prize, they get to be smacked around by Bama again.
  • Arizona- Khalil Tate is one of the most exciting players in the country and bringing in Kevin Sumlin guarantees eight wins, nothing more, nothing less.
  • Florida Atlantic- Lane Kiffin will continue to entertain and amuse us as he trolls Saban and Alabama. Kiffin is going to get another chance at a Power 5 school shortly, and NCAAF fans can’t wait until that happens.

That’ll do it for the Way-Too-Early Power Rankings for next season in NCAAF. What did you think of the list? Where would you rank these teams? Be sure to tell us all about it and more in the comment section below. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter: @PowerRank_More, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on our Instagram page for all of the latest information from Power Rankings and More.

Published on 1/20/18 at 4:00 PM EST.
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