Analyst Names His Preseason No. 1 Team For 2019

first_imga wide shot of the rose bowl gamePASADENA, CA – JANUARY 01: in the 2018 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)The 2018-19 college football season isn’t over yet, as we’ve still got Alabama-Clemson in the College Football Playoff national title game, but it’s already time to start talking about next season.All but two college football programs are now in the offseason, after all, so it’s not crazy to start looking ahead.Athlon Sports has already released its preseason top 25 for the 2019 season.There are no surprises at the top of the poll.Alabama comes in as the preseason No. 1.1. AlabamaNick Saban’s team will lose some key pieces off its 2018 team, but the Crimson Tide opens the offseason as the favorite to win it all once again. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa returns after a prolific season, and the sophomore should be the preseason pick to win the Heisman Trophy after a runner-up finish in 2018. Tagovailoa’s receiving corps should be the best in college football next season. DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and Jaylen Waddle are back, and tight end Irv Smith has one more season of eligibility if he chooses to return to Tuscaloosa. Running back Damien Harris must be replaced, while Josh Jacobs could enter the NFL Draft. However, the backfield is in great shape thanks to the return of Najee Harris and Brian Robinson, along with the addition of five-star freshman Trey Sanders.The line faces some retooling, as left tackle Jonah Williams could leave early for the NFL, and senior center Ross Pierschbacher is out of eligibility. Each level of the defense could lose a player to the NFL early, but this unit won’t suffer too much on the stat sheet. Up front, end Isaiah Buggs must be replaced, while Quinnen Williams and Raekwon Davis could decide to go to the next level. The linebacking corps should be a strength if Mack Wilson returns, especially with Dylan Moses, Anfernee Jennings and Terrell Lewis in place. Sophomore Patrick Surtain should take the next step in his development at cornerback, but safety Deionte Thompson could go to the NFL and more depth is needed in this group. Road trips to Texas A&M and Auburn are the toughest regular-season matchups for Alabama in 2019.Alabama has started the season ranked No. 1 in each of the past three seasons. Ohio State was the last non-Alabama team to be ranked No. 1 in the preseason. The Buckeyes were the preseason No. 1 coming into the 2015 season.You can view the full top 25 here.last_img

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