2019 College Football Chatter

midswat

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The 2019 Way-Too-Early Top 25 Early top 25 college football teams for 2019: Alabama, Clemson again top the list

Paul Myerberg, USA TODAYPublished 2:30 a.m. ET Jan. 8, 2019 | Updated 5:04 p.m. ET Jan. 8, 2019
Alabama and Clemson have already staked claim for being college football's best teams of 2018. For the rest of the Bowl Subdivision, attention has already shifted to next season.
An early Top 25 for 2019 begins with the Crimson Tide and Tigers before following through a run of elite programs, including Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas and
it's never too early to start thinking about what's next. Here's the USA TODAY Sports preview of what's ahead for college football in the fall.

1. Alabama

The Crimson Tide will have a Heisman Trophy favorite in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, an outstanding collection of skill players and enough returning talent to overcome what should be another exodus of starters to the NFL. There's no reason why Alabama can't be the nation's most dominant team during the regular season.

2. Clemson

There will be a significant rebuild on defense, led by a new cast up front, but the Tigers will still have defensive coordinator Brent Venables. In other words, there's no reason for major concern. The offense will be unstoppable behind the arm of rising sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the feet of junior running back Travis Etienne.

3. Georgia

Georgia still has an Alabama-size hurdle to overcome before winning a national championship. But the Bulldogs' recruiting has been outstanding, quarterback Jake Fromm will contend for All-America honors and the road through the SEC East isn't overly intimidating.

4. Oklahoma

Maybe the Sooners' new quarterback won't be the next Kyler Murray. Either way, picking this offense to suffer a big decline in production is betting against recent history. Where OU may take a step forward is on defense behind new coordinator Alex Grinch, formerly of Ohio State.

5. Texas

Eight new starters on defense is cause for some concern, though Tom Herman's recruiting and the overall direction of the program in the wake of the Sugar Bowl overshadows any worries over personnel. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger seems poised to explode on a national scale.

6. Ohio State

Ryan Day replaces Urban Meyer. A new quarterback, perhaps Georgia transfer Justin Fields, is waiting to replace Dwayne Haskins, who is headed for the NFL. All eyes will be on the Buckeyes as the program undergoes a huge transition. Still, Day's work with the offense and the program's wealth of talent suggests the move won't be too rocky.

7. Michigan

Shea Patterson's decision to return in 2019 is a huge win for an offense that desperately needs consistency under center. There will be a spotlight on Jim Harbaugh, who needs to deliver a win against the Buckeyes and make a run at the national title after struggling with the Wolverines' rivals through his first four seasons. But this could be a team that takes the next step in 2019. 8. LSU

Question marks may abound on offense, as always, and the loss of standout defenders will make it even harder to run with Tagovailoa and Alabama. But the Tigers will return a starting quarterback, most of its rotation on offense and many starters from a defense that leaned toward youth in 2018.

9. Washington

Transfer Jacob Eason, formerly of Georgia, will take over at quarterback and rank among the best in the Pac-12. Where UW has personnel issues is in the defensive backfield, a unit of major strength set for a rebuilding during the offseason. This is still the league's best team by a not-insignificant margin.

10. Texas A&M

The Aggies seem ready for takeoff after a very solid debut under Jimbo Fisher and his staff. After going 9-4 and reeling in a top-five recruiting class, A&M will begin 2019 expecting to crack double-digit wins and challenge for a New Year's Six bowl coming out of the SEC.

11. Oregon

Justin Herbert's decision to return for his senior season is joined by the best recruiting class in program history. Whether coach Mario Cristobal can polish Oregon into a title contender remains to be seen. On paper, however, the Ducks are the second-best team in the Pac-12 and a dark horse in the postseason chase.

12. Central Florida

UCF showed how its offense can shine even without quarterback McKenzie Milton at the controls. While notching yet another unbeaten regular season is a tall order, the Knights have the offense, skill talent and experience to romp through the American Athletic Conference and stand as the surest thing in the Group of Five.

13. Notre Dame

The Irish have important starters to replace at wide receiver, in the secondary and along the defensive line. Altogether, the roster doesn't seem strong enough to contend with college football's best for the national championship. This is still a team with a baseline of nine wins that could exceed that mark should the offense become even more two-dimensional.
14. Florida

How far the Gators go in Dan Mullen's second season depends on whether an offense that brings back starters at quarterback, running back and receiver can find the explosiveness that was elusive in 2018. If so, Florida could make a serious run at Georgia in the SEC East.

15. Southern California

Last season's awful finish might be a sign of things to come. It might also be an aberration, though chances at offensive improvement took a hit when new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury became the Arizona Cardinals head coach on Tuesday.

16. Iowa

The Hawkeyes will be in good-to-great shape at offensive tackle, quarterback, edge rushing and in the secondary. There will be big names to replace at tight end and along the interior of the offensive line, but Iowa's track record at both positions lessens any worries over a shift in personnel. Iowa could be the best team in the Big Ten West.

17. Iowa State

Iowa State's offense will hand the reins to sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy, a rising star in the Big 12. The Cyclones' biggest calling card is coach Matt Campbell, who has won a reputation as one of the top young coaches in football.

18. Stanford

Stanford will be Stanford in 2019 — a team that will win nine or more games, battle for a New Year's Six bowl and play with a bruising physicality. As always, the Cardinal could upend Washington and win the Pac-12. At worst, this team will be a fixture in the national rankings.

19. Penn State

There are fair questions to be asked about whether Penn State has what it takes to climb atop the Big Ten and earn a spot in the national semifinals. A bigger question asks how capably the offense can replace Trace McSorley at quarterback and find answers for the handful of would-be-seniors set for the NFL draft.

20. Army

Army will have a friendly schedule to go with the powerful running game and rock-solid foundation laid by Jeff Monken and his coaching staff. Still, can the Knights match this year's win total? Maybe not, but be ready for this team to be a very real contender for a New Year's Six bowl.

21. Nebraska

It's only a matter of time for Nebraska. Behind Scott Frost and quarterback Adrian Martinez, look for the offense to explode. What the Cornhuskers need is to get bigger and stronger overall and develop far more consistency defensively. If so, this is a team that will at least double this year's wins.

22. Syracuse

There will be a slew of senior starters lost to graduation, notably at quarterback and on the offensive line. As a whole, the Orange will break in a number of contributors recruited by Dino Babers to fit his offensive system and look largely the same along the defensive line and in the secondary. Syracuse might not hit on 10 wins but this is still one of the best teams in the ACC.

23. Wisconsin

Wisconsin looks for a rebound after a relatively disappointing season defined by injuries. There is uncertainty at quarterback and new faces set to ascend to starting roles on the offensive line. By and large, though, the Badgers are a safe bet to win eight or nine games during the regular season and contend for the Big Ten West.

24. Boise State

Don't overthink it: Boise will be in the thick of the hunt for a national ranking. The biggest offseason debate will be at quarterback, where the Broncos need to replace a four-year starter in Brett Rypien, and perhaps at running back as the Broncos will lose Alexander Mattison to the NFL. Look for the defense to pick up the slack should the offense struggle during the transition.

25. Baylor

Baylor's chances hinge on whether coach Matt Rhule returns in 2019, as he could be a contender for NFL openings. But the program's trajectory — from one win in 2017 to seven this past year — says a big step forward is in the offing.

26. Tennessee

Soon . . . ya dumbasses.
 

midswat

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Jalen Hurts is in the transfer portal and has visits set up with Maryland and Miami.

Wonder if he'll give FAU a look as well, considering he played his best football under Lane Kiffin.
 

boozeman

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Agreed. Heck of an OL coach. Heard that Collins got a 7 year contract, which is awesome. Going to take some time to overturn that roster (can relate). Really hoping GT can start being a thorn in UGA's side.
I am just thankful we will not have a grade school offense for the first time in forever.
 

Cujo

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Jalen Hurts spotted in Norman yesterday according to multiple reports.
 

midswat

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Jalen Hurts spotted in Norman yesterday according to multiple reports.
He's visited Maryland, Oklahoma, and I think either has or is going to visit Miami. Personally hoping he goes Miami.

Not sure Oklahoma makes sense but they just had Austin Kendall enter the transfer portal so maybe he knows something.
 

Cowboysrock55

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Even if they only have mediocre prospects, they’d still be better than Hurts.
Yeah I don't think Hurts throws the ball well enough to succeed at Oklahoma. I think he would end up a backup again. Better to go to a mediocre program that would be thrilled just to have his speed on offense.
 

Deuce

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So Brandon Wimbush to UCF, Jalen Hurts to Oklahoma and Tate Martell to Miami. Now Blackman at FSU is in the portal.

:lol College Free Agency is crazy all the sudden.
 

1bigfan13

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So Brandon Wimbush to UCF, Jalen Hurts to Oklahoma and Tate Martell to Miami. Now Blackman at FSU is in the portal.

:lol College Free Agency is crazy all the sudden.
I'm really interested in seeing what Lincoln Riley can do with Jalen Hurts.

I don't expect him to be Baker Mayfield/Kyler Murray good. But I could see him being 1st or 2nd team all conference.

He'll be going up against weaker defense while playing in a more creative and aggressive passing scheme. I think a lot of his detractors are going to be in for a surprise.

On a related note, I guess this means their 5-star dual threat QB from the 2019 class (Spencer Rattler) will in all likelihood be red-shirting this year.
 

midswat

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Really thought Maryland or FAU made more sense for Hurts. Kind of an odd pairing at Oklahoma. Hurts has talent but he’s not an elite passer.
 

L.T. Fan

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I haven’t seen enough of Hurt to have an opinion. I do think the demand for talent is greater with the QB position with Oklahoma than with Alabama.
 

midswat

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Calling it now... Alabama dynasty is over.

Think it starts this year with a 2 loss season.

Think Saban hangs it up in 2-3 years.

Losing quality assistant coaches left and right. Hard to keep replacing coordinators every year. Damn enos, his OC, took the Miami job without even telling Saban anything. He just didn’t show up for a meeting and Saban found out then.

Anyways, they’ve still got a shit ton of talent, but I think it’s over for them. Clemson is equally as loaded. UGA isn’t that far behind (unfortunately). Oklahoma looks like they’re on the cusp of dominating.

Call me crazy but I say they lose (at least) two games this year and miss the playoffs and Saban hangs it up before the 2020 season.
 

NoDak

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Calling it now... Alabama dynasty is over.

Think it starts this year with a 2 loss season.

Think Saban hangs it up in 2-3 years.

Losing quality assistant coaches left and right. Hard to keep replacing coordinators every year. Damn enos, his OC, took the Miami job without even telling Saban anything. He just didn’t show up for a meeting and Saban found out then.

Anyways, they’ve still got a shit ton of talent, but I think it’s over for them. Clemson is equally as loaded. UGA isn’t that far behind (unfortunately). Oklahoma looks like they’re on the cusp of dominating.

Call me crazy but I say they lose (at least) two games this year and miss the playoffs and Saban hangs it up before the 2020 season.
:shrug
 

DLK150

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So Brandon Wimbush to UCF, Jalen Hurts to Oklahoma and Tate Martell to Miami. Now Blackman at FSU is in the portal.

:lol College Free Agency is crazy all the sudden.
Wimbush should have gone someplace he could start. He probably should change positions too.
 

Deuce

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Wimbush should have gone someplace he could start. He probably should change positions too.
I’m curious to see how he looks in camp. His competition will be a RS Sophmore will 3 career starts, a sophmore walk on and a true freshman. He should win the job, but Mack won’t give it up easily. If he doesn’t win it, he should move to WR.
 

DLK150

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I’m curious to see how he looks in camp. His competition will be a RS Sophmore will 3 career starts, a sophmore walk on and a true freshman. He should win the job, but Mack won’t give it up easily. If he doesn’t win it, he should move to WR.
He probably will under those circumstances He's just a streaky passer, much better runner and I was thinking RB unless he shows good hands in camp. Nobody really knows. When he was with ND, RB was the consensus opinion among fans.
 

skidadl

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Graham Harrell to USC as the OC now. Interesting. USC seems sort of like their HC is on life support.
 

Plan9Misfit

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Graham Harrell to USC as the OC now. Interesting. USC seems sort of like their HC is on life support.
He has to be. The USC alumni and boosters hate him, season ticket holders are giving up their seats, and longtime donors have stopped donating. I think they’re just waiting for Urban Meyer to suddenly feel better in 2020 so they can bring him in.
 

1bigfan13

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Seminole fans won't care. He flat out sucked anyway.

Which is why he was kicked off the team instead of receiving the standard slap on the wrist (sit out the first half of a game, 1 game suspension, etc.) that good players receive.
 

midswat

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Tennessee added a lot of talent this recruiting class.

#11 ranked class after back to back 4-8 and 5-7 seasons?

Were on the rise....
 

midswat

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Really excited about the recruiting class Tennessee put together, stealing Derrick Ansley from the raidahs (Alabama also tried to get him back when they lost their DC), Tee Martin coming back to the Hill, and the overall staff the Volunteers have assembled.
 

boozeman

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Really excited about the recruiting class Tennessee put together, stealing Derrick Ansley from the raidahs (Alabama also tried to get him back when they lost their DC), Tee Martin coming back to the Hill, and the overall staff the Volunteers have assembled.
 

skidadl

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[h=1]How Texas Tech, Houston show the financial gap between haves, have-nots could be getting wider[/h] [h=2]This Story is About...[/h]
[h=4]Share This Story On...[/h]
Brad Tollefson/AP

Texas Tech fans yell as Kansas' David McCormack shoots a free throw during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson)By Ben Baby, Staff Writer Contact Ben Babyon Twitter:@Ben_Baby
One of Texas Tech's most significant athletics accomplishments in January didn't happen on the court or on a field.

It happened on a spreadsheet. When Tech athletics submitted its annual financial filing to the NCAA, it reported a drop of $2.5 million in university funding it received. And in the process, the percentage of university dollars Tech used on athletics dwindled closer to zero.

That wasn't the case across the state. According to financial reports obtained through open records requests, the financial gap widened between in-state public athletic departments during the 2017-18 school year.

While the state's three public schools in "power five" conferences -- Tech, Texas and Texas A&M -- are mostly self-sufficient, more than half of the operating revenue for the five public "group of five" schools comes from university funding.

Of Tech's $89.3 million in reported revenue, only $3.3 million -- 3.74 percent -- came from student fees and institutional support. And the decreased subsidy wasn't by accident.

"We did make a concerted effort going into (2017-18) and we wanted to be able to state that exact fact, that we stand on our own two feet in that regard," said Jonathan Botros, Tech's athletic chief financial officer.

A&M and Texas each reported more than $210 million in operating revenue. Neither school receives university money for the athletic department. In 2016-17, they were two of the 14 schools in USA Today's NCAA financial survey that took no subsidy money.

According to Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt, the reason Tech went from being 6.53 percent subsidized the previous year to what it reported in January largely stems from the success of its men's basketball program.

In Chris Beard's second season in Lubbock, the Red Raiders reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. In addition to Tech's baseball success, the athletic department has surpassed its budgeted ticket revenue, Hocutt said.

And the financial success comes during a period when the football program struggled to the point that coach Kliff Kingsbury was fired at the end of the 2018 season.

"With the same level of success in football that our other athletic programs are achieving, there's limitless opportunity for us to grow our revenue side in football as well," Hocutt said.

Houston is at the other end of the spectrum. After Tom Herman left his post as the Cougars' football coach to take the same job at Texas, the team lost 11 of its next 26 games.

That made a significant impact on the athletic department's finances.

In 2017-18, Houston reported a $5.8 million drop in football revenue, according to its NCAA filing. In contrast, the Cougars saw a $4.8 million increase in money the university gave to athletics through direct transfers, bringing the total to $22.4 million.

That money, combined with $8.8 million from student fees, makes up 56.5 percent of Houston's total revenue, which put it with the rest of the state's "group of five" schools that were mostly subsidized. Houston athletic director Chris Pezman declined to comment for this story.

The financial shifts at Houston and Tech underscored the gap between the state's public Football Bowl Subdivision schools. The "power five" schools receive less than four percent of their revenue from fees, while the "group of five" programs are subsidized between 56 and 71 percent.

Jordan Robert Bass, a professor and director of the sport management program at the University of Kansas, said athletic departments in that tier typically lack the revenue from donations, ticket sales and other key areas that "power five" universities enjoy. That places great importance on money from students, especially at a time when athletic spending is increasing across the country.

"For these 'group of five' schools, if they stopped relying on them, that would be a big, big loss for them," Bass said. "They don't really have a choice if they want to keep trying to compete."

Tech recently raised its student athletic fee up to $59.20, Botros said, the first increase in seven years. He said the money will go directly to improving the in-game experience.

It will also cover the admission cost to every Tech sporting event, which a recent survey showed can cost between $850 and $1,300. Tech received just over $13,500 in direct institutional support to pay salaries for a student work program.

More and more schools could be battling to find ways to be self-sufficient in the future. Bass said in the last decade, student bodies across the country are voting against increases in student fees in greater frequency, even though they wouldn't go into effect after many who voted graduated.

"I think you're seeing a bigger awareness from college students of the student fees that they're paying to athletics," Bass said.

Hocutt said one of his primary goals over the next few years is increasing revenue without relying on money outside of the athletic department. Tech recently broke ground on a $29.5 million basketball practice facility and a standalone sports nutrition center. Both projects will be fully funded by athletics.

But even though the Red Raiders are in an improved financial situation, they still have their share of unique challenges Hocutt embraces.

"We don't have the same the budget Texas and Texas A&M do," Hocutt said. "But at the same time, we have the expectations that we're going to line up across the line from them in competition and win. And there's a sense of pride that comes from that with Red Raiders across the country." [h=2]Unequal funding[/h]
The financial gap between the state's three public "power five" schools and five "group of five" schools widened in 2017-18. A look at the funding levels:
 

L.T. Fan

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Leach is one of my favorite coaches if for no other reason than his attitude about the game.
 

1bigfan13

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:lol

I'm old enough to remember when Oklahoma made the transition from the triple option offense to more of a traditionally ran offense.

I want to say Cale Gundy was our QB and him being able to pass for over 2,000 yards in a season felt like a huge accomplishment.

Along those same lines, it still amazes me that former OU TE Keith Jackson somehow gained All-American honors and was a high draft pick coming out of that wishbone offense.
 

skidadl

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Head coaching job rankings by Athlon.

Athlon Sports ranks all 130 head football coaching jobs in FBS, from 1 to 130. They consider facilities, support, location, etc. They have Tech at No. 36, which I think is fair.

Comment: "Tech is an interesting program. It is in a remote location, but Lubbock isn't exactly a small town (population: 250,000). It's a big state school, but it's at best the third-best program in the state. Recruiting can be a challenge as well since Dallas is a 5-hour drive. Bottom line: There's a lot to like -- and a lot that makes this a tough job."

Other rankings of note:

4. Texas
8. Oklahoma
12. Aggy
22. Oklahoma State
33. West Virginia
36. Texas Tech
37. TCU
42. Baylor
48. Houston
62. Washington State
63. Iowa State
64. Kansas State
68. Kansas
 
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