With springtime over, and the summer months rapidly approaching, it is time to start looking ahead to the 2020 college football season. Despite the current state of affairs, it does in fact look as if there will be college football played, in some way or another.
Whether that means a delayed season, a shortened season, or a season that starts on time, having a season means there will be a College Football Playoff, and that means predictions. Today we take a look at the teams the staff here at Clemson Junkies think will make next seasons playoff.
My four teams as we sit here in early May, are Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama, and Oregon. The Tigers and Buckeyes look to be the nations two best teams headed into the season, and are led by the two best quarterbacks in the country in Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields.
The Tigers will have a revamped defensive front reminiscent of what we saw during the days of the Power Rangers, which was one of the biggest weaknesses from last years team that made it all the way to the national title game. The Buckeyes do lose a lot on that side of the ball, but have recruited as well as anyone, not to mention having an explosive offense that can mask any early issues they may have getting settled in on that side of the ball.
It’s hard to imagine Nick Saban’s Tide missing out on the playoff two seasons in a row. With LSU losing so much from last years team, the Tide should reclaim their spot atop the SEC West.
As for Oregon, Oklahoma will have to work hard to earn back some credibility with the committee after last years performance in the Peach Bowl, and that gives the Pac 12 an opening to get back into the four team fold. Despite having to replace QB Justin Herbert, the Ducks will take advantage of that opportunity and grab that fourth spot, something they can do even if the lose to Ohio State in the regular season. They have recruited really well under the current coaching staff, and will have a defense capable of getting through the Pac 12 schedule.
Looking ahead at the upcoming season I have Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama, and Oklahoma making the playoffs. I too, feel that Clemson and Ohio State will be the best two overall teams going into the season.
I feel that Clemson will be hungry after Trevor Lawrence experienced something he isn’t used to…losing. The Tigers also have Travis Etienne back along with Amari Rodgers, who I expect want to prove something on their way out. Then you have Coach Venables, whose defense is set to go back to the 4-3, with a revamped new look front four. That should help players like KJ Henry and Xavier Thomas out a lot.
I also feel that Ohio State’s offense will have to carry the team in the early part of the season while their defense grows a little, but expect the huge numbers they will be putting up to do just that. Justin Fields should put up some really good numbers in the regular season. They have dates with Oregon and Penn State on the road but expect them to take care of business.
Saban and Alabama’s only real question mark is at the quarterback position and most would agree that Mack Jones showed promise at the end of last season. Their defense should be good and no one should ever doubt Nick Saban at this point.
I also expect Oklahoma to be back in, with their biggest question also being the quarterback position. Lincoln Riley has shown that he has been able to put the right person in that position and make it work. With that said their defense will have to be better than it was last season.
In no particular order, Clemson, Alabama, Penn State, and Oklahoma State. Clemson and Alabama will both have a chip on their shoulder from last season.
If Clemson can have another perfect regular season and win the ACC Championship, they are in. Alabama also has that chip on their shoulder and I think they are in.
As for Penn State and Oklahoma State, I just decided to go for two teams that I know have potential, but have never been to the playoff.