Posted on January 9, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
The 2018 College Football Playoff did not disappoint. The championship game between Alabama and Georgia will be remembered for a long time. Of course, every team aside from the celebrating Crimson Tide and grieving Bulldogs are already starting to focus on next season. Even with recruiting, spring practice, and training camp still on the agenda, it’s not too early to look ahead to next year. Here are the early betting odds for the teams in contention to win the 2019 College Football Playoff title.
No one should be surprised that Alabama is the early betting favorite to repeat as national champion. Regardless of how much talent Nick Saban loses, he always has players ready to step in and play at a championship level. Plus, with the way Tua Tagovailoa played against Georgia, the Tide may have the best quarterback in the country next season, making Alabama the team to beat.
Clemson’s semifinal game against Alabama didn’t go that well, but the Tigers will be back next season. The last couple of years, Clemson suffered heavy personnel losses. However, Dabo Swinney will finally get a chance to return most of his starters, including quarterback Kelly Bryant. With a year of starting experience under his belt, Bryant could be ready to take a big step forward next season.
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If you saw Jake Fromm play in this year’s CFB Playoff, it’s easy to see why Georgia will be serious contenders next season. The Bulldogs will have to replace their dynamic backfield duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, as well as some key defensive players. But Fromm should be ready to carry the team on his shoulders in 2018.
Ohio State, 15-2
Urban Meyer is nearly as good as Saban at reloading year after year. The Buckeyes will have to replace J.T. Barrett at quarterback, but they have plenty of great candidates. The overall talent on Ohio State’s roster continues to be a step above everyone else in the Big Ten, making the Buckeyes favorites to win the conference and earn a playoff spot.
Next year will be a big year for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines. But oddsmakers like Michigan’s chances. The quarterback situation has to be sorted out, but the Wolverines have a few capable candidates. More importantly, Michigan’s defense was outstanding this season and will return eight starters, giving them a chance to challenge Ohio State for Big Ten supremacy.
Penn State, 11-1
Speaking of the Big Ten, don’t overlook the Nittany Lions in 2018. Remember, James Franklin has led Penn State to 11 wins in back-to-back seasons. They’ll lose Saquon Barkley, but Trace McSorley will be one of the best and most experienced quarterbacks in the country.
Lincoln Riley did such an outstanding coaching job this season that Oklahoma has to be taken seriously next year as well. Baker Mayfield is gone, but Kyler Murray is ready to take over. Perhaps more importantly, the Sooners have been so dominant in the Big 12 that they have one of the easiest roads to the College Football Playoff among top contenders.
The Tigers beat both Alabama and Georgia this year, so they were not far from being a championship caliber team this season. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham and most of Auburn’s top receivers will return next season. Plus, the Tigers always have a potent rushing attack. They should not be overlooked nationally.
The Longhorns lost a lot of close games to quality teams in 2017, so they are a lot closer to returning to national prominence than most people realize. The Texas defense made huge strides this season, and as long as they can figure out their quarterback situation, Tom Herman’s team could be in a position to challenge Oklahoma in the Big 12 and reach the College Football Playoff.
The U is back in the national spotlight and they return most of their starters next season. Injuries hurt them late in the season, as the Hurricanes lost three in a row to close out 2017. However, Miami’s swagger is back. More importantly, they’ll have more speed and depth than they had this season. The Hurricanes will be a team to watch closely in 2018, and no one should be surprised if they are in the College Football Playoff next year.