There is an old saying that it is “never too late.” Well I take that saying and raise it that it is also never too early. The 2018 college football season has just come to an end, but that doesn’t mean it is too early to start thinking about the 2019/20 season. Myself along with another Belly Up writer, Trevor Voytko, will give our top 25 for this upcoming season. You can hate on our rankings as much as you want but at the end of the day you are wrong, and we probably will be too, but that is not going to stop us from telling you our thoughts on what the top 25 should be.

Reilly – 1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Before you all freak out and try and explain to me that this is an asinine pick, just take a moment to think about what next year is going to look like. Alabama and Clemson are going to win all of their games just like they did this year, but the difference is how Bama will be winning those games. Alabama got smacked so bad in the CFB National Championship that it makes the 2019 season pretty terrifying. All I have to say is two words… REVENGE TOUR!

Returning starters: 8 offense, 9 defense

Trevor – 1. Clemson Tigers

QB Trevor Lawrence would be the first overall pick in the next three drafts if possible. His weapons are young, and his schedule is soft. The Tigers will be back in the playoff in 2019 and the favorite by most to win it all again.

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Reilly – 2. Clemson Tigers

Clemson has finally gained that “Alabama Respect” that they finally deserve, but that does not mean they will be the best team in CFB next year. Trevor Lawrence is a stud and will be the No. 1 overall draft pick whatever year he enters the draft, but they are losing a lot of veteran leadership as well as one of the best defensive lines in CFB history. As much as everyone excited that Clemson shit-pumped Bama, how they beat them might come back to haunt them come playoffs next year.

Returning starters: 8 offense, 8 defense

Trevor – 2. Alabama Crimson Tide

Even though the Tide suffered their worst loss ever under Nick Saban against Clemson, they are still Alabama. QB Tua Tagovailoa will lead Revenge Tour ’19, along with their 17 total returning starters on offense and defense. 

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Reilly – 3. Georgia Bulldogs

Something about the Bulldogs screams 3rd best in the country. They are always a top team, but never good enough to be the best. This team always falls short for some reason even though I believe the talent and coaching is there. I am a big fan of Kirby Smart and expect him to be at Georgia for a very long time. The bulldogs will most likely have a dominant defense again which is never the problem. The issue is if Jake Fromm is ready to take that step and win in the big moment. Next year is the year we find out.

Returning starters: 7 offense, 8 defense

Trevor – 3. Ohio State Buckeyes

Urban Meyer’s “retirement” from football leaves the Buckeyes with Ryan Day at the helm. Day showed he was more than capable early in the season during Meyer’s three game suspension as Ohio State went 3-0. Moreover, add in the potential for Justin Fields to play immediately and the Buckeyes will be an extremely dangerous team in 2019.

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Reilly – 4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame lost to Clemson and the talk of how they didn’t deserve went through the roof. There was more playoff expansion talk then ever before. The domination of Clemson and Bama proved otherwise. With that being said after the ass whooping Clemson put on Bama, The Irish do not actually look like that bad of a squad after all. With a lot of guys coming back and Ian Book with a year under his belt. The only difference between this coming year compared to others is if they make the playoff they will deserve it considering they have to play both Michigan & Georgia on the road.

Returning starters: 7 offense, 6 defense

Trevor – 4. Texas Longhorns

Texas is back. No, like, they’re actually back. For real this time, they are back. Statement wins against both Oklahoma and Georgia show that the ‘Horns are relevant again. QB Sam Ehlinger will be back as will five other returning offensive starters. The only other competition in the Big 12 would be Oklahoma, and Texas has shown they can potentially jump them this year. Texas has a clear to the playoffs this year. Hook ‘Em.

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Reilly – 5. Ohio State Buckeyes

Justin Fields > Dwayne Haskins. Ohio State caught lightning in a bottle with Urban leaving along with getting Fields through the “transfer portal.” Ryan Day is not proven, but with a special talent like Fields I think this team will be right where Urban left them. People forget that Justin Fields was the #1 Quarterback in his recruiting class, not Trevor Lawrence. Either way I think this team avoids losing a step even after losing a great coach in Urban Meyer.

Returning starters: 5 offense, 10 defense

Trevor – 5. Georgia Bulldogs

The Dawgs will be loaded with talent once again in 2019 after another stellar recruiting class. The only concern for UGA will be whether they can take that last step and win a big game. All eyes are going to be on HC Kirby Smart, who will have to prove he is not the second coming of Mark Richt. Georgia loses some key players in TE Issac Nauta, RB Elijah Holyfield, and WR Riley Ridley, but still return seven offensive starters.

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Reilly– 6. Texas Longhorns

As much as it pains me to say it, Texas is officially back. Sam Ehlinger has shown a lot of similarities to a CFB legend, Tim Tebow. He is built like a brick-house and has a passion for the game. Tom Herman, as childish as he may act sometimes, brings strong energy and a positive football culture back to Texas that they have been missing since the Colt McCoy days. The Big XII is up in the air this coming year with Murray leaving for the NFL/MLB and questions at QB for Oklahoma. Basically, people might not like Texas in the top 10 and all I have to say is “Ok cool, Hook em.”

Returning starters: 6 offense, 3 defense

Tervor – 6. Florida Gators

UF took a massive step forward in Dan Mullen’s first year as HC as the Gators won 10 games and their NY6 Bowl Game against Michigan in Atlanta. QB Feleipe Franks showed he can at least play the quarterback position with competence, which is all the Gators have needed since the departure of Tim Tebow. The mediocre schedule and return of many key players sets the Gators up for a run at a potential date with Alabama in Atlanta in early December.

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Reilly – 7. Michigan Wolverines

I am and will always be a Harbaugh believer. Yes, I understand his record against Ohio State is not allowed, but he is the best coach that Michigan could possibly have. He fits the mold and gets a shit ton of recruits. Shea Patterson is back and this team will be playing pissed off after how awful it ended this past season. It is either they come back from it, or the end of their season was who they really are just like the fraudulent run Miami had two years ago. I believe they come back and battle with the Buckeyes again to decide on the Big 10.

Returning starters: 8 offense, 5 defense

Trevor – 7. Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma will finally have questions at quarterback this offseason as Kyler Murray will be moving on to the MLB or NFL. One of the potential incumbents is incoming freshman Spencer Rattler, who was ESPN’s number one dual-threat quarterback in the 2019 recruiting class. Oklahoma’s best WR and RB will be heading to the league as well, which will not make life easier for the Sooners. Oklahoma will return 10 starters on defense. While that may sound great, OU’s defense was historically bad in 2018. If Oklahoma wants to hold off Texas in the race for the Big 12, they will have to vastly improve on defense.

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Reilly – 8. Florida Gators

As much as I do not agree with the Florida Gators hype, they continue to prove me wrong. Dan Mullen has made Florida more than relevant after one year at the helm. The players seem to want to play for him. I don’t think Feleipe Franks is going to take them to the promise land, but with an SEC conference that got exposed after Alabama’s performance, anything could happen and the Gators could end up taking advantage of it.

Returning starters: 5 offense, 7 defense

Trevor – 8. Washington Huskies

The defending PAC-12 champions will return seven offensive starters and also welcome the arrival of transfer QB Jacob Eason. After getting a less than fair shot from UGA in 2017, Eason transferred to Washington and will likely be the starter after sitting out in 2018. The PAC-12 is incredibly weak as a whole, so having a soft schedule will have the Huskies primed to make a run at the College Football Playoff. The only concern will be returning only two defensive starters to a unit that was by far the best in the entire conference.

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Reilly – 9. Oklahoma Sooners

Lincoln Riley got a contract extension which means he likes what he has coming back for 2019. They have 10 defensive starters coming back, which doesn’t say much considering how bad they were, but they also have a year of experience and can learn from their mistakes. The QB issue is not going to be an issue because it seems like OU has that next man up mentality year after year. I am not saying they are going to have another Heisman, but sophomore Austin Kendall and incoming No. 1 dual threat QB Spencer Rattler are not bad replacements. I think this is going to be the Longhorns year, but do not expect the Sooners to let them have it.

Returning starters: 5 offense, 10 defense

Trevor – 9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Clemson’s thrashing of Alabama makes the massacre at the Cotton Bowl look far more honorable than before. The Irish receive a lot of banter from the masses for not being in a conference, yet they will be playing road games at both Georgia and Michigan in 2019. Notre Dame will return seven offensive starters, including QB Ian Book, and six defensive starters.

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Reilly – 10. LSU Tigers

Coach O is a man of the people. He gets his players ready to go to war with him no matter what. This team is returning a 8 starters on both side of the ball. Joe Burrow showed flashes of being a quality QB and I think getting some experience in some big games was huge for him. Geaux Tigers.

Returning starters: 8 offense, 8 defense

Trevor – 10. Oregon Ducks

After starting 5-1 in 2018, the Ducks fell apart and finished 9-5. However, Oregon will return a top NFL QB prospect in Justin Herbert, who decided to stay for his senior year. The Ducks will lose only one offensive starter from 2018 and will also return seven defensive starters, making the match up at Washington a critical PAC-12 game. Oregon will also start the season against Auburn in Dallas. Assuming the Ducks run the table, Oregon will be a CFP sleeper pick.

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Rankings 11-25

RankMarc ReillyTrevor Voytko
12.Texas A&MLSU
14. UCFTexas A&M
15.Syracuse OrangeMissouri
16. Washington State Penn State
17. UtahWashington State
18. WisconsinWisconsin
19.Penn StateNorthwestern
20.MissouriBoise State
21. NorthwesternUtah
23.Iowa StateAuburn
25.ArmyWest Virginia

Let us know what you thought about our rankings in the comments below or tweet at us @BellyUpReilly & @TrevorVoytko

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Marc Reilly