Well, we didn’t expect what we got last night in the college football national championship. Clemson with a dominant performance over Alabama to even the recent series at 2-2, with both teams winning the last four national championships. These two teams are clearly head and shoulders above the rest of college football and I wouldn’t feel safe putting my trust in any other team to make it to New Orleans next season for the championship other than Alabama and Clemson.
Now that the season is done, here is a final look at how I think the teams should be tiered out in the current state of college football as we look ahead to the 2019 season.
A reminder, teams are listed alphabetically under each tier.
Alabama – A tough loss, but that doesn’t remove them from being a top tier team. Alabama and Clemson are the only teams on this tier for a reason. We’ll see what the post-Tua era looks like for Alabama, but they are set as a top tier team. They have played for four straight national titles, winning two of them. They return a lot of talent next season, including Tua and all of the wide receivers. Najee Harris will have his time to shine next season with Damien Harris leaving and potentially Josh Jacobs too. I’ll be curious if Alex Leatherwood moves over to left tackle or not, but there will have to be replacements for Jonah Williams and Ross Pierschbacher. On defense, plenty of names will leave early, but the secondary is fairly young, so there will be some talent returning there.
Clemson – The national champs for the second time in three years. Trevor Lawrence is a serious threat, and will probably be the Heisman favorite right alongside Tua next year. Justyn Ross is a dynamic play maker, we saw plenty of his skill at Central-Phenix City and it’s translating over to the college game. Tee Higgins is back as is Travis Etienne. The offense should continue to be deadly. On defense, they lucked out in their defensive lineman all coming back, but that will be a tough unit to replace in terms of where they were last night. There is still young talent on the team all around to where they will be back in the playoffs no doubt.
Georgia – The loss to Texas wasn’t a good look, but Georgia was a top 5 team this year and easily could have beaten Alabama (for the second year in a row) but choked it away. They are losing some talent to the NFL, but Jake Fromm is back again and Kirby has been recruiting some legitimate groups of players.
Ohio State – They had the most dominant end to the year minus Clemson, beating #18 Michigan State by 20, #4 Michigan by 23, #21 Northwestern by 21 and #9 Washington by 5. Dwayne Haskins is gone, but Justin Fields is coming in and is ready for his shot.
Oklahoma – Didn’t end quite the way they wanted to, but Kyler Murray is still a legitimate player (even though he may have played his last football game ever) and Lincoln Riley will continue to have a good offense.
LSU – LSU’s losses this season were all to top teams – #16 Texas A&M, #7 Florida and #2 Alabama. They also beat Georgia and UCF. LSU’s defense can never be counted out, and with Joe Burrow returning, they could be a dangerous team next season.
Florida – I don’t think Florida is quite there yet. They did beat Michigan, but a Michigan team that fell apart their last two games. They beat LSU in SEC play but also lost by double digits to Kentucky, Georgia and Missouri. They still need some work, but I feel like they will be a decent contender next season in the East.
Notre Dame – I never really bought into Notre Dame, and although Clemson beat Alabama just as bad as they did Notre Dame, I’m still not really buying into them. They are good, but not great in my opinion. Still a top 10 team, but that’s about it.
Texas – Big win for Texas over Georgia, but they are not back yet. Four losses on the season including to mediocre Maryland and Oklahoma State, and winning multiple games against bad opponents by only one score still give cause for concern. They worked their way into the top 10, but only barely.
My Way-Too-Early Top 25 for 2019
4. Ohio State
7. Texas A&M
12. Notre Dame
19. Penn State
21. Iowa State