College football is back. Thank the lord! I couldn’t watch another cornhole and spikeball tournament on ESPN2. I need college football back in my life and that’s exactly what we’re getting this weekend. Fans received an amuse-bouche of football with a few games last weekend including Miami vs. Florida, but Week 1 starts the road to the College Football Playoff (CFP).
Every week this season, we’ll look at the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into the weekend. We’re a long way from the first 2019 College Football Playoff rankings, which will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. However, every game matters so let’s kick it off with Week 1.
Are we destined for Alabama vs. Clemson In The National Championship?
This college football season feels a lot like when the Cavs and Warriors met in four straight NBA Finals. The question was not “if” they would play in the NBA Finals, but “how” would they get there. Alabama and Clemson are the two best teams in college football right now. There’s nothing to debate here. Alabama and Clemson have the two best coaches, Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney, and two best quarterbacks, Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence, in the country. Both teams will be double-digit favorites every game with the exception possibly coming in the final game of the regular season when Alabama travels to Auburn. If the Crimson Tide and Tigers meet in the championship, it would be the fifth straight year those two teams met in the College Football Playoff with three of those coming in the national title game. Bama should roll through Duke and Clemson should dominate Georgia Tech in Week 1.
Who is the third-best team in the country?
Is there a consensus third-best team in the country behind Clemson and Alabama? Most fans and experts would choose Georiga as the third-best team in the country. Who can blame them? Georgia has lost three games in the regular season the past two seasons with one of those losses coming to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs will be very good this year. It all starts with the return of third-year quarterback Jake Fromm. Remember the name, D’Andre Swift. The junior running back rushed for 1,049 yards and 10 TDs last season while splitting time with Elijah Holyfield. It’s Swift’s backfield now. If all goes according to plan, the Bulldogs are on a collision course with Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
Can Jalen Hurts become the third straight Oklahoma quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy?
The Jalen Hurts Era at Oklahoma begins Sunday night in Norman against Houston. Hurts has not been a starting quarterback since 2017 when he was at Alabama. Lucky for Hurts, he’s going to a coach in Lincoln Riley who happens to be the best play-caller in the nation. It’s safe to say that Riley has a more versatile offensive strategy at Oklahoma than Hurts’ former coordinators at Alabama. Riley also has two straight quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, who have won the Heisman Trophy. Can Hurts make it three for three? To be honest, I have no idea what to expect out of Hurts. Can he throw the ball for more than 4,000 yards as Mayfield and Murray did over the past two seasons? Only time will tell if Hurts fits into Riley’s explosive offense.
The game with most the College Football Playoff implications in Week 1 is Oregon vs. Auburn
The marquee game of Week 1 with the most CFP implications on the line is #11 Oregon vs. #16 Auburn at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday night. Oregon’s 2019 expectations are very high thanks to the return of senior quarterback Justin Herbert. In 28 starts, Herbert and the Ducks offense have averaged 38.3 points per game in his 28 starts. They’ll need every point on Saturday as Auburn’s defense is coming off a season where it ranked 28th nationally allowing 361.9 yards per game and seventh holding teams to just 17.1 points per game. Coach Guz Malzahn believes this year’s defense could be the best defense he’s ever had during his tenure thanks to Nick Coe, Derrick Brown, and Marlon Davidson. Not to add any more pressure, but the entire Pac-12 conference is rooting for Oregon. This is the Ducks’ chance to put their conference on the playoff radar versus arguably the best conference in the nation.
Can Michigan Finally Win The Big Ten Title Under Jim Harbaugh?
If there has ever been a year for Michigan to win the Big 10 Conference, it’s 2019. Urban Meyer is no longer at Ohio State. Trace McSorley is not at Penn State. Wisconsin is still not back to their 2017 form where they went 13-1. Michigan State is average. There are no more excuses for Michigan. Returning quarterback Shea Patterson is in for a treat as new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis will implement an up-tempo, no-huddle, speed-in-space offense. For Jim Harbaugh, it’s time to win the Big 10 and beat Ohio State.
What are your top storylines for the CFP in Week 1? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.