It is never too early to look into the next season of college football. There are a few regulars at the top of the list, and a few surprise that you might not have considered heading into the 2020 regular season.
This list could look very different by the time the first game since players still have yet top declare for the 2020 NFL Draft and find a school after entering the transfer portal
Lets get started!
1. Ohio State
Yes, Ohio State did lose in a controversial way against Clemson in the CFB Playoffs, but the do return a very efficient quarterback in Justin Fields. Fields through for 41 Touchdowns to just 3 interceptions. He also ran for another 10. He is a big physical quarterback that has something to prove going into 2020. Ohio State did lose a few key players in DE Chase Young, Running back J.K. Dobbins, and star cornerback Jeffrey Okudah to the NFL; but the Buckeyes always reload. They are the team in the north that can compete with any team in the south. So coming into 2020, the Buckeyes take the top spot.
Clemson returns the projected #1 overall pick for the 2021 NFL Draft, QB Trevor Lawrence. Clemson returns a deep receiving core with Justyn Ross and Amari Rodgers leading the charge. Clemson will lose Travis Etienne, maybe the biggest x-factor from the Clemson offense these last 4 years. The offensive line will lose majority of the starters from 2019. Only returning 1 from 2019. But even with all of the losses, Clemson reloads while others rebuild.
The Tide find themselves in unfamiliar territory as the pre-season’s 3rd best team going into the the 2020 season. The Tide missed the CFB Playoffs for the first time since the playoff began. Alabama has to decide who will take over at quarterback after Tua decided to declare early for the NFL. The options are Mac Jones, Taulia Tagovailoa, and incoming freshman Bryce Young. Alabama will lose more pieces from the receiving core such as Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III to the NFL. But like Clemson, Alabama reloads and never rebuilds. Nick Saban is poised to get his team refreshed and motivated to make a move for the next National Championship game.
The Gators come in at #4 because of who they return and who they have added to a roster with talent everywhere. After Felipe Franks went down with a serious injury, Kyle Trask came in to start at quarterback. What looked like to be the start to a bad season lead to hope and high 2020 expectations. Kyle Trask got the offense rolling all season long. Florida returns most of their secondary and a two solid receivers from 2019 in Trey Grimes and Jacob Copeland. Florida has always been known for having a stout defense, all the Gators needed was a solid offense to go along with them. If the Gators can beat Georgia in Jacksonville, FL, then the Gators can most certainly punch their ticket to the SEC Championship game.
The Gators early signing class looks strong, and should only get stronger when National Signing Day comes around. The Gators also picked up Lorenzo Lingard, a 5-star running back transfer from Miami. He was rarely used due to an injury, and once he was healthy to play, the Canes still did not want to put their best athlete on the field. He should thrive in the Gators offense once he is eligible to play
The 2019-2020 National Champions enter the way-too-early top-25 at #5. The LSU Tigers are losing a lot of stars from their defense, and the star quarterback Joe Burrow. Their is no secret that this past season, Joe Burrow had the greatest season of any quarterback in the history of the game. 60 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions. Over 5,000 yards passing and he ran for 6 touchdowns. LSU has had a difficult time finding a legit quarterback for years, and the guy they found played for two incredible years.
Now that he is gone, LSU is back to looking for a qualified quarterback. LSU also take a hit in the coaching department. Joe Brady who arrived last offseason from the New Orlean Saints to be the passing coordinator and help revolutionize the Tiger offense, has accepted the Offensive Coordinator job with the Carolina Panthers. This could be a huge blow for the defending champs as their season begins with Texas coming to Baton Rouge. Also, LSU will have to visit the Swamp again. The last visit didn’t end so well.
It will be very interesting to see if the Tigers can continue the style of play they had in 2019 without the Joes.
6. Penn State
If there was a team in the Big Ten that could reach or at least smell the Buckeyes, then it will be Penn State. The Lions are a physical team with big play potential. The Lions are a quarterback away from being dangerous to what the Buckeyes have already. Penn State has to play 4 quarters against Ohio State if they hope to beat them. Also if they beat Ohio State, Penn State can not rest on that win. The Lions will need to carry that win to finish off the season. They stand at 6 because of the potential and that’s it.
Hopefully the Sooner do the right thing and fire their defensive coordinator before the 2020 season begins. The Sooners need to build the weapons around the quarterback. The Sooners have depended on solid quarterback play to win the Big 12 for years, but we all know that a great defense will get you a National Championship. In the 2019 Playoffs against LSU, Oklahoma offense was reduced to throwing the ball to CeeDee Lamb. He was the only guy able to get open. Oklahoma is a legit blue blood of college football, but for the first time in a long time the Oklahoma Sooners are physically out maned and out gunned with fire power. Oklahoma will need to update their scheme and talent. Since the College Football Playoffs began, the Sooners have looked out of place in big games.
8. Texas A&M
This spot was tough for many reasons. For one, the Aggies play in the hardest division in college football. They will face in 2020 the defending National Champions, an angry Alabama Crimson Tide team with something to prove, an Auburn team that beat Alabama last season, and they will see to Mississippi schools with new veteran offensive geniuses at Head Coach. The only thing that make the Aggies formidable is the roster they have. Jimbo can put together a solid team that can rise to the occasion in some of the biggest moments. I do believe that the Aggies have a chance to make this ranking credible, but again it is just January.
The Bears did take a hit due to the loss of their head coach Matt Rhule. He definitely fit the offensive style of play that the Big 12 is known for, but the Bears suffered to stop anything against teams with fast offenses. This one reason is why the Baylor Bears could have the biggest leap for teams in the Top -10 once the 2020 season begins. They truly have a defensive minded coach in Dave Aranda coming in to keep the train going.
Dave has been known as a great recruiter and developer of talent. The winner of Big 12 for the Next decade will be determined by the coach that can stop the explosive offenses being displayed in the Big 12. Aranda will be coming in from LSU; a program that has been at the top of the defensive statistical category since Nick Saban ran the Tiger in the early 2000s. Aranda actually improved the Tigers defense since his arrival. I expect the Bears to be a scary team in the Big 12 in 2020, if the defense can make a quick turnaround. I can see a 10-2 season in 2020.
The Badgers might have a great team, but they will never win a National Championship in todays game. The teams isn’t built for the long haul. Wisconsin’s program is what I call “GATE KEEPER.” Beating teams like Wisconsin give traditional national powers who have fallen off for sometime a measuring stick. Get past Wisconsin and the the road to another championship is close.
11. Notre Dame
16. North Carolina
17. Oklahoma State
21. Arizona State
25. Boise State