Is there anything better than the College Football Playoff? I mean, it would be fantastic if we could extend it to eight teams (five conference champions, and three at large teams), but until then we can look forward to some great matchups. Looking at last year’s playoff, we can expect some teams to drop off a little bit (looking at you, Oklahoma), but at the same time the nucleus should be fairly similar.
We can peg Alabama in for a slot now, as the Crimson Tide have yet to miss the College Football Playoff. That’s too easy. After that? There’s some parity, but it could be more predictable than you think. Some conferences don’t have any big hitters (stares at Pac-12), while others are simply loaded (glances back at Big Ten). We should all be looking forward to a 2018 season that could shake up the landscape of the NCAA as we know it.
Now then, it’s time to ruffle some feathers with my CFB Playoff projection.
1. Alabama (13-0) – When’s the last time Alabama was bad? It’s been a minute, that’s for damn sure. Every year, the Crimson Tide loses an astonishing amount of talent to the NFL, particularly on defense. But, instead of regressing they somehow get better. Led by defensive tackle Raekwon Davis and linebacker Christian Miller, the Tide look to feature another great defense to go toe-to-toe with anyone. Don’t sleep on the offense though, as sophomore Tua Tagovailoa might just slap you in the face.
2. Ohio State (12-1) – Urban Meyer may be shady, but he’s a hell of a football coach. Tasked with reinventing the the quarterback situation, are we really that worried? Sure, J.T. Barrett is one of the most prestigious signal callers in school history, but he couldn’t quite take them to the next level. Dwayne Haskins seems like a fine young quarterback. But it’s really this defense that we should be drooling over. Nick Bosa returns for his junior season and the Buckeyes are beginning to make an argument for the “DBU” label.
3. Clemson (11-2) – This defensive line could be historically good. Led by defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, the Tigers defensive line is good enough to dominate any offensive line. Joining Lawrence are Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, and Austin Bryant. That’s pee-pee pants city for opposing quarterbacks. Meanwhile, the quarterback situation may be a mystery for now, but by midseason top overall recruit Trevor Lawrence will be guiding this team all the way to the ACC Championship game.
4. Georgia (11-2) – The window is open for quite some time with Jake Fromm only entering his sophomore season, and another blue-chip recruit in Justin Fields right behind him. After an electirc freshman season, we are all looking forward to more D’Andre Swift. Meanwhile, Deandre Baker leads what should be another good Bulldogs defense, with fellow defensive back J.R. Reed helping him monitor the secondary. Georgia is just a step ahead of everyone else in the SEC East, and they should glide to another SEC Conference Championship Game as they earn a rematch versus Alabama.
First Two Out:
5. Wisconsin (10-3) – Just how far away are the Badgers from contending? Not that far off if you ask me. All you need to know is Jonathan Taylor will win the 2018 Heisman Trophy behind three future NFL studs on his offensive line (David Edwards, Michael Deiter, Beau Benzschalwel). Scoring points will come easy for the Badgers in 2018, but they are still a step behind the Buckeyes in the Big Ten.
6. Miami, FL (10-3) – Break out those turnover chains, because this Hurricanes defense is going to be busy once again in 2018. Captained by stud linebacker Shaq Quarterman, this Hurricanes defense will hit you hard, and hit you fast. Offensively, the team must replace Mark Walton, but look for wide receiver Ahmmon Richards to contend for the Bilentnikoff Award (best wide receiver) no matter who’s throwing him the rock.
2019 CFB Championship
Alabama vs Clemson
Maybe this is too boring, after all this seems like the Golden State Warriors versus the Cleveland Cavaliers of college football. But what makes this so much better is the fact that these teams are constantly reloading and shuffling in new players. Even with that in mind, they STILL find themselves with one-to-two losses a season and a spot in the College Football Playoff. That kind of consistency is rare, and we need to truly admire the legendary Nick Saban and maybe the second best head coach in the nation, Dabo Swinney.
A battle that is too evenly matched to not give us a hell of a game, the Clemson defensive line will go against Jonah Williams and the terrible two-some running back duo in Damien Harris and Najee Harris. Meanwhile, Raekwon Davis and his Alabama defense will try to go toe-to-toe with Mitch Hyatt and the Clemson offense. On paper, this will either be a high-scoring affair, or a defensive slug-fest.
PREDICTION: Alabama, 29-17
The rich get richer. Nick Saban will close in on his seventh career National Championship, sixth since 2009, and will tie Bear Bryant for most National Championships in Alabama history (6). The Tide will roll through everyone in 2018 behind a, once again, dominant defense. But this time, it’s the Alabama offense which does the heavy lifting. Tua Tagovaiola should be considered a legit Heisman candidate, and with arguably the best stable of running backs, the ceiling of that offense doesn’t seem fair.
Even against a great Clemson defense, the Tide will prove to be too much physically and wear them down. Clemson’s offense might not be up to the challenge versus the Alabama defense and could get down in a hurry. But fret not Tigers fans, as your future is ridiculously bright with Trevor Lawrence at the helm.