Preseason College Football Playoff predictions

Christopher Bean, Assistant Sports Editor

We’re less than two weeks away from college football and I couldn’t be more excited, but until the season starts, all we can do is anticipate what is to come in 2019-20. With that being said, I will tell you who I think will make the College Football Playoff.

The first two teams are obvious and need no introduction in the college football world. Alabama Crimson Tide and the defending National Champions Clemson Tigers will both be back in the playoff. Bama has made the playoff every year since it started in 2014. Clemson has made it four years in-a-row, and in that span, both teams have faced each other every year in the playoff. Both teams have two wins apiece in the rivalry and two National Championships since 2015. Three of those games were decided in the National Championship game and the other was in the 2018 semi-finals. Last January, Clemson got the better of Alabama, beating them 44-16 in the 2019 National Championship. Clemson was the first team in the modern era to go 15-0 in a single season.

Alabama brings back Heisman candidate and hopeful quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa is entering his junior year and will be starting for the second straight season. He made his first appearance in the second half of the 2018 CFP Final when they were down 13-0 to begin the half. The Tagovailoa lead offense tied it at 20 in regulation to force OT. The Bulldogs made a field goal to make it 23-20, but Tagovailoa walked it off with a 41-yard touchdown pass. Tagovailoa looks to have an even better year in 2019 to get Bama over the hump.

Trevor Lawrence enters his second year at Clemson and will look to do the exact same thing they did last year: win the National Championship. Lawrence hasn’t lost a game in college and there’s no reason to think he can’t keep that streak. Yes, Clemson lost a lot on defense, but they will do the exact same thing they’ve done the last four years: reload.

The third team that I think will make the 2019 CFP are the Georgia Bulldogs. QB Jake Fromm is also entering his junior year and is 23-5 as the Bulldog’s starter. He led them to the National Championship game his freshman year. Like I said earlier, Bama came back to beat them 26-23 in OT. A year later, Bama came back to beat them again in the SEC Championship game that cost Georgia a second straight trip to the playoff. They ended the year 11-3. Georgia will have to replace three wide receivers and a tight end on offense that all went to the draft last year. However, they bring back arguably the best running back in the nation, D’Andre Swift. Fromm and Swift will have to carry the load this year, but they are more than capable.

My fourth team is the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks come into the season as the 13th best team in the nation and a bit of a sleeper team. Washington is the only PAC 12 team that is ranked better than them as the 12th best team. It’s not surprising that a PAC-12 team The Ducks bring back QB Justin Herbert, who was expected to go in the first round of last year’s draft. He came back for his senior season with unfinished business after going 9-4 last year. The Ducks bring in the No. 1 recruit in 2019, defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux. It won’t be easy for the Ducks as they play Stanford, Washington, USC and ASU all on the road, but I think being battle tested will be a good thing for them.

College football is right around the corner and I can’t wait. With only a four-team playoff, every week matters and one or two losses could cost you a chance to make it. What two teams will join Alabama and Clemson this year? We’ll find out very soon.