Odds to Win 2019 NCAA College Football Playoff
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The Alabama Crimson Tide won an overtime thriller over Georgia for their fifth national championship in the last nine seasons, and it’s time to start looking at who will win next year’s College Football Playoff National Championship. Below are a few teams worthy of consideration:
Alabama (9-to-4) - It’s been Bama vs. the field to start most years of the Nick Saban era in Tuscaloosa, and such is the case once again as we look toward January 2019. While it will likely be months before significant light is shed on the Jalen Hurts/Tua Tagovailoa quarterback battle, Tagovailoa’s performance in the second half of this past January’s National Championship game raised the possibility that Saban may finally have a playmaker—as opposed to merely a game manager—at the QB position. Veteran RB Damien Harris will return for his senior season, while a platoon of sophomore wideouts are set to take over the departed Calvin Ridley’s one-man show. The defense loses a slew of talent and experience, especially in the secondary, but the next man up at Alabama always seems to end up as a first-round draft pick.
Ohio State (8-to-1) - It has become something of a shock when Ohio State doesn’t make the final four, and this level of talent helmed by the steady hand of head coach Urban Meyer makes the Buckeyes an enticing investment at 8-to-1 odds. Redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins, the favorite in a three-way battle for the starting quarterback job with sophomore Tate Martell and redshirt junior Joe Burrow, has the potential to ultimately be an upgrade over the enigmatic J.T. Barrett at quarterback. Both J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber are back to give OSU a deep unit of running backs, and a speedy wide receiving corps also returns fully intact. Expect yet another dominant defensive line in Columbus, led by Dre’Mont Jones and Nick Bosa. The primary concern is the defensive backfield. After having lost a significant amount of talent to the NFL Draft last spring, the OSU secondary struggled mightily at times in 2017. With leaders Denzel Ward and Damon Webb departing this offseason, Meyer again faces the challenge of getting production out of a young group of corners and safeties.
Florida State (30-to-1) There are plenty of questions surrounding Florida State, which is why the Seminoles are being offered at such an enticing price. Among those questions are new head coach Willie Taggart’s ability to adjust to his second new program in as many years, QB Deondre Francois’ health after a devastating knee injury suffered in the 2017 season opener, a defense that’s expected to return only four starters, and a brutal road slate that includes a trip to South Bend. On the other hand, it’s rare to find a team this talented at these odds, and Taggart has a commanding personality that makes players immediately pay attention. If you’re looking to take a flyer on a team on the outskirts of the Top 25, the Noles are one of the best candidates in this neighborhood to actually pull off a National Championship run.
Washington (35-to-1) - People must have tired of the Huskies after spending the entire 2016 season hyping them up, because seemingly no one in the media paid attention to Washington going 10-3 this past season and nearly beating Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl. Admittedly, quarterback Jake Browning’s second year as a starter (19 TDs) was far less exciting than his first (41), but he posted a better passer rating than either Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen. Both Browning and 4,000-yard career rusher Myles Gaskin are back to take another shot at the Pac-12 title. A victory in a season-opening trip to Atlanta to take on Auburn would go a long way to starting to pave a road to a second College Football Playoff appearance in three years.