2019 College Football Thread

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SDRay

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Clemson tops Alabama in college football preseason coaches poll


It’s August, folks. That means college football is right around the corner.
The first Top 25 poll of the 2019-20 season — the USA Today Coaches Poll — dropped on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, the two teams who played in last season’s College Football Playoff title game, Clemson and Alabama, are ranked at the top.
With Clemson at No. 1, it’s the first time in four years that Alabama does not enter the season atop the coaches poll.
Some other usual suspects like No. 3 Georgia, No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 5 Ohio State are also in the mix.
The top 10 is rounded out by LSU at No. 6, Michigan at No. 7, Florida at No. 8, Notre Dame at No. 9 and Texas at No. 10.
Clemson's Travis Etienne reacts after his touchdown during the first half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Alabama, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

After beating Alabama in the College Football Playoff, Clemson ranks No. 1 in the first USA Today Coaches Poll of the 2019-20 season. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Here is the poll in its entirety:
1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Georgia
4. Oklahoma
5. Ohio State
6. LSU
7. Michigan
8. Florida
9. Notre Dame
10. Texas
11. Texas A&M
12. Washington
13. Oregon
14. Penn State
15. Utah
16. Auburn
17. Wisconsin
17. UCF
19. Iowa
20. Michigan State
21. Washington State
22. Syracuse
23. Stanford
24. Iowa State
25. Northwestern
Others receiving votes
Nebraska 152; Boise State 118; Mississippi State 111; Miami 94; Army 91; Kentucky 79; Virginia Tech 64; Texas Christian 63; Southern California 47; Utah State 32; Fresno State 32; Virginia 30; Cincinnati 25; West Virginia 24; Memphis 24; Oklahoma State 20; South Carolina 15; NC State 12; Duke 10; Boston College 5; Florida State 4; Baylor 4; Appalachian State 4; North Texas 3; Houston 3; UCLA 2; Temple 2; Arizona State 2; Troy 1; Tennessee 1; Mississippi 1; Minnesota 1.
 

SDRay

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Projecting the AP college football top 10 months in advance
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
With Trevor Lawrence and most of a team that crushed Alabama returning, Clemson should be an easy No. 1 pick. Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports
The Associated Press' preseason college football poll does not come out until the end of August, almost a full six months away. But I am here to tell you what the 10 teams will be. I have forecast the AP's top 10 for the past 10 years with a 95 percent success rate, including picking all 10 teams last season.
This year will be the 25th edition of my college football preview magazine, and I can tell you that very little of what happens over the summer will influence the poll or change voters' minds. This list is not the top 10 for my 2019 college football preview. I have a list in the front of the magazine of teams outside the top 10 that I think could surprise and contend for the national title. Last year's top two were Notre Dame and Texas. I did not have either of those teams in my projected AP top 10. Notre Dame was No. 12 and Texas No. 23 in the AP poll. Both teams wound up having successful seasons as Notre Dame finished at No. 5 and Texas at No. 9.
Here is my projected AP preseason top 10:
1. Clemson -- Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne are back, and the Tigers have eight returning starters on offense. Replacing the front four on defense will be tough, but the Tigers' 44-16 win over Alabama in the national championship game and a manageable ACC schedule will have the Tigers the preseason No. 1 and the favorite in every game.
2. Alabama -- Tua Tagovailoa and receiver Jerry Jeudy are both back and the Tide's 12 returning starters are more than they have had in any of the past three years. The Tide do face Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Auburn on the road but will be the favorite in all 12 games.
3. Georgia -- The Bulldogs nearly won the SEC title last year after leading Alabama in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Jake Fromm and running back D'Andre Swift headline 12 returning starters overall and Georgia has brought in the No. 1 and No. 2 recruiting classes the past two years.
4. Oklahoma -- The Sooners have nine returning starters on defense and will be stronger on that side of the ball. Lincoln Riley took a Texas Tech walk-on transfer in Baker Mayfield and Texas A&M transfer quarterback in Kyler Murray and transformed them into back-to-back Heisman winners. Neither had a full year of starting experience, and Riley now can work with Jalen Hurts, who is 26-2 as a starting quarterback and transfers in from Alabama.
5. Ohio State -- The Buckeyes had the No. 2 recruiting class in both 2017 and 2018, and one of the main reasons they were only No. 16 for this year's class is that they signed only 17 players as most of the team returns, including nine starters on defense. Quarterback Justin Fields transfers in from Georgia to replace Dwayne Haskins.
6. LSU -- The Tigers were No. 129 out of 130 teams on my experience chart last season and faced one of the toughest schedules in the country, but still managed an excellent 10-3 record and No. 6 finish in the polls. This year they have 16 returning starters, which makes them much more experienced, and Joe Burrow is now a veteran at quarterback.
7. Florida -- The Gators were my No. 1 most improved team in the magazine prior to last year and lived up to that billing in going from 4-7 to 10-3, finishing in the top 10. Feleipe Franks is back at quarterback along with eight returning starters on defense. Dan Mullen always gets the most out of the talent on hand, and this may be the most talented team he's had as a head coach.
8. Notre Dame -- Ian Book is back at quarterback, the Irish have 13 starters returning and this could be Brian Kelly's most talent-laden team. The Irish have to play both Georgia and Michigan on the road, but even a split of those games would still leave them in contention for another College Football Playoff run.
9. Michigan -- The Wolverines were favored in Columbus last year and now will get Ohio State at home. Quarterback Shea Patterson is among 13 returning starters. With a new head coach at Ohio State, the pressure is on Jim Harbaugh. Michigan will get a good number of votes to win the Big Ten this season, and that will have the Wolverines in the preseason top 10 and labeled a playoff threat.
10. Texas -- The Longhorns have only eight returning starters this year, but quarterback Sam Ehlinger and receiver Collin Johnson are two of them, and they brought in the No. 5 recruiting class. This season is Year 3 for head coach Tom Herman, and that is when new coaches seem to hit their stride with the majority of the team constructed with their own recruits.
 

SDRay

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Who’s watching? Heading to the Aztecs opener soon. navy looking great and ND football for me on Monday night. Love College ball!
 

SDRay

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We had some blowouts as expected in week 2 but also some great games. SDSU/UCLA. Michigan/Army, LSU/Texas. College football is just the best.

AP Top 25
1. Clemson (56) (2-0)
2. Alabama (6) (2-0)
3. Georgia (2-0)
4. LSU (2-0)
5. Oklahoma (2-0)
6. Ohio State (2-0)
7. Notre Dame (1-0)
8. Auburn (2-0)
9. Florida (2-0)
10. Michigan (2-0)
11. Utah (2-0)
12. Texas (1-1)
13. Penn State (2-0)
14. Wisconsin (2-0)
15. Oregon (1-1)
16. Texas A&M (1-1)
17. UCF (2-0)
18. Michigan State (2-0)
19. Iowa (2-0)
20. Washington State (2-0)
21. Maryland (2-0)
22. Boise State (2-0)
23. Washington (1-1)
24. USC (2-0)
25. Virginia (2-0)
 

Gill Man

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We had some blowouts as expected in week 2 but also some great games. SDSU/UCLA. Michigan/Army, LSU/Texas. College football is just the best.

AP Top 25
1. Clemson (56) (2-0)
2. Alabama (6) (2-0)
3. Georgia (2-0)
4. LSU (2-0)
5. Oklahoma (2-0)
6. Ohio State (2-0)
7. Notre Dame (1-0)
8. Auburn (2-0)
9. Florida (2-0)
10. Michigan (2-0)
11. Utah (2-0)
12. Texas (1-1)
13. Penn State (2-0)
14. Wisconsin (2-0)
15. Oregon (1-1)
16. Texas A&M (1-1)
17. UCF (2-0)
18. Michigan State (2-0)
19. Iowa (2-0)
20. Washington State (2-0)
21. Maryland (2-0)
22. Boise State (2-0)
23. Washington (1-1)
24. USC (2-0)
25. Virginia (2-0)
UM already heading lower. Good, I hope they crash and burn again lolz.
 

Gill Man

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Today I'm watching ESPN Goal Line off and on. It's sort of a version of NFL RedZone. I gotta say it's kind of cool watching the really small colleges and seeing the stadiums and crowds there and glimpses of the campuses. Places like Valparaiso, Youngstown, Albany, etc etc. That is cool, those are games you don't get to see much of on the major networks. Albany went into overtime with a last second hail mary.
 
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Fender57

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Today I'm watching ESPN Goal Line off and on. It's sort of a version of NFL RedZone. I gotta say it's kind of cool watching the really small colleges and seeing the stadiums and crowds there and glimpses of the campuses. Places like Valparaiso, Youngstown, Albany, etc etc. That is cool, those are games you don't get to see much of on the major networks. Albany went into overtime with a last second hail mary.
I bet all those small colleges had more butts in the seats than the Chuggers.
 

Gill Man

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I bet all those small colleges had more butts in the seats than the Chuggers.
as a matter of fact they DID lolololol. Not even close on most of em. The endzones looked sparse on some of em but the stadiums are much bigger generally. Then add in the fact that no more than half the stadium is chugger fans, spanos should be ashamed. Little stadium and little homecrowd for a little man. Little f-ing weasel.. The LA Weasels would be a good rebrand.
 
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SDRay

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Today I'm watching ESPN Goal Line off and on. It's sort of a version of NFL RedZone. I gotta say it's kind of cool watching the really small colleges and seeing the stadiums and crowds there and glimpses of the campuses. Places like Valparaiso, Youngstown, Albany, etc etc. That is cool, those are games you don't get to see much of on the major networks. Albany went into overtime with a last second hail mary.
I do the same...love that channel! Great games earlier as well with my Irish winning 66-14, Navy and Army winning as well. SDSU kicking ass right now
 
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SDRay

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Game of the week right here.

Georgia, Notre Dame carry playoff frustration into showdown

No. 3 Georgia and No. 7 Notre Dame are both steeped in rich tradition, but they don't have much real history together, not as far as actual on-field meetings go. Yet their matchup Saturday feels like one filled with the bad blood, pettiness and season-changing implications that go hand-in-hand with rivalry games.

We can start in 1981, when Georgia beat Notre Dame 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl to win the national championship. We can thank Dec. 29, 2018, for dredging up the antagonism.

As Clemson and Notre Dame played in the College Football Playoff semifinal, Georgia players tuned in from New Orleans, where they prepared to play Texas in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs felt they deserved a spot in the top four despite two losses, and so did a vocal contingent that lobbied hard on their behalf.

Undefeated Notre Dame, despite playing as an independent with no conference championship game, made it in at No. 3 but drew the bulk of the Bulldogs' ire after Clemson raced out to a 20-point halftime lead. Multiple players took to social media to voice their displeasure, with tweets ranging from receiver Mecole Hardman's "They say the '4 best teams' huh?" to Monty Rice chiming in, "The best 4 should get in #exposed."

A few days later, Georgia lost to Texas, and in the eyes of some, that settled the argument. But their point was made. In the never-ending playoff discussion centering on the most fundamental of questions -- should the four most deserving teams or the four best teams make it in? -- Georgia vs. Notre Dame provided the most heated debate yet.

Much of that has to do with Notre Dame and its unique place in the college football landscape. Throw in the all-powerful SEC, with loyalists who firmly believe it is the toughest conference and will not entertain any argument on the matter, and you get a situation that remains unresolved to this very day. Is it best or most deserving?

Because there are still those who wonder whether the committee got it right last year, and whether Notre Dame's poor showing should forever close the door on its playoff aspirations so long as it keeps playing as an independent. With that as the backdrop, the Irish travel to Georgia on Saturday in perhaps the most anticipated nonconference game of the season.

Although last year is over, this is the type of playoff play-in game that would have drawn us all in. Still, the postseason implications remain very real.

Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports
In all likelihood, Georgia can withstand a nonconference loss and keep its playoff hopes alive. That may not be the case for the Irish, who probably need to go undefeated for another legitimate shot. Borrowing the neuralyzer the "Men in Black" use to erase memories might help, too.

Because right now, all anyone can remember about the Irish and their postseason efforts are their 42-14 loss to Alabama in the 2013 BCS national title game and their 30-3 semifinal loss to Clemson. Notre Dame is 5-13 in bowls since 1993 and has lost every major bowl game in which it has played. Not exactly the type of results that inspire confidence in their ability to compete for a championship.

"We always have something to prove," Notre Dame defensive end Adetokunbo Ogundeji said. "We're focused on the Notre Dame 2019 team, and we're not worried about anything outside the locker room. We're Notre Dame. We're at the highest level. That's just how it is, and all the teams are looking out for us, so we've got to step it up each and every game."

Georgia feels the exact same way. So much so, coach Kirby Smart made the Bulldogs' preseason motto, "Do More." Rather than ignoring the large Alabama elephant in the room, he wanted his players to embrace their shortcomings in their past three championship games against the Tide, and use them as motivation to literally do more.

"We put the pedal to the metal," Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis said. "We had to grind. We had to work for what we got."

That meant doing more after their scheduled workouts. More watching film. More asking questions. More focus on the weight room, eating right, getting treatment. More running after practice. More catching passes after practice. More reps. More time in the facility on off days.

"We've come up short," quarterback Jake Fromm said. "Obviously, we've got to do something, so we think doing more is a little bit better."

This game is the first real test of that mantra, the team's first against a top-10 opponent this season. You could make the argument the mantra also fits Notre Dame. After all, the goal for both teams will always be the same: winning another national championship.

Brian Kelly and Notre Dame got into last year's playoff but lost to Clemson. Many Georgia players thought the Bulldogs belonged there instead. Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports
Both programs rank among the most important and powerful blue bloods, yet they last won national titles in the 1980s. As the years pass and their championship seasons recede further from view, every season feels like one that is missing something. And the desperation grows.

Perhaps that is why finishing No. 5 last season struck such a nerve with the Georgia players, coaches and fans. We are approaching 40 years since the 1980 national championship season, a drought nobody could have ever expected when Herschel Walker led them to victory.

Perhaps that is why getting blown out (again) with a national championship in reach is so difficult to accept for Notre Dame. Each team that lines up will always and forever be judged on whether it finally brings another trophy home to South Bend, Indiana.

In these ways, the programs are more similar than not. Their game Saturday is just the third in their long histories, and their last meeting in 2017 went down to the wire. Georgia rallied to win 20-19 in what was a coming-of-age moment for Fromm, who made his first career start while filling in for the injured Jacob Eason and has started every game since then.

But there was some chippiness and trash talk coming from the Bulldogs in the week leading up to that game. Most notably, safety Dominick Sanders said the goal was to "punish them from the start."

Smart was not pleased with those comments, and it is a safe bet he was not thrilled his players took to social media to chirp about getting left out of the playoff last year. But if anything, both Notre Dame and Georgia can look to last year and the way both their seasons ended in massive disappointment and use it.

Especially with playoff hopes riding on what happens Saturday.

"We've got to rush harder, we've got to stop the rush better, we've got to pass the ball better, we've got to stop the pass, we've got to do all the football things right," Georgia running back Brian Herrien said.

"The football gods are watching."