The biggest storyline of the 2018 college football season will be … ? The college football experts weigh in …
Penn State’s rise from the abyss: It will be hard to overstate the transformation, given the depths from which this program has come – and to what it will mean to everyone in State College. Even without Saquon Barkley, and with a nasty schedule, the Nittany Lions will be in for a College Football Playoff-level season, showing off the staying power under James Franklin.
Three things: Legalized gambling, legalized gambling, legalized gambling. Wait, that’s the biggest sports story of 2019.
For this year, the big storyline will center around the dominance of the biggest of big boys.
Forgetting for a moment all of my other picks and predictions and calls throughout the offseason, this feels like one of those seasons – sort of like 2009 and 2005 – when there was a sense of inevitability throughout the run, with it all leading up to a massive payoff.
In 2005, USC was coming off a national title, and Vince Young Texas was the powerhouse that took off right after beating Ohio State in Columbus. The focus of the season turned into those two, and if they could avoid a big gack on the way to the Rose Bowl and the BCS Championship.
In 2009, Florida was the big star, but it quickly became obvious that it was going to be Colt McCoy Texas vs. the winner of the Florida Tebows vs. Alabama in the SEC Championship for the national title.
This year, considering the talent levels, the schedules, and everything that’s in place from last year’s respective teams, Alabama and Clemson might just be that much better than everyone else.
The whole season will be a road to seeing these two eventually square off in Santa Clara, with two teams out of Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Washington making for an epic College Football Playoff.
And then it’ll be the Crimson Tide and Tigers for the fourth time four years, and the third time for the national title.
Other Preseason Expert Picks & Predictions
– The Four College Football Playoff Teams Will Be …
– The Top Three Heisman Finalists Will Be ….
– The One Big Surprise Will Be …
– The One Big Disappointment Will Be …
– One Big, Stupid Prediction (that might be right)
We. Do. Not. Know. Here, I refuse to play along. If I knew the answer, there’d be no reason to get out of bed in the morning. Well, maybe for a sandwich.
The new redshirt rule. All across the college football landscape, Power 5 and Group of 5 conferences, every school will have plans in place to play players in four or less games while still being able to preserve a redshirt.
The new rule of playing in four or less games and still being able to redshirt is a great rule and one that allows players to gain playing experience while not using a year of eligibility. A lot of coaches will play more players this season.
The issues and scandals in the Big Ten East. Obviously the Urban Meyer situation will continue to go on and be a factor, but the Maryland nightmare is going to continue to take away from the attention. Considering the Penn State disaster from a few years ago, the problems at Rutgers, and the Michigan State controversy in its athletic department from this last year, more and more, the Big Ten East will be under the microscope.
How good Tua Tagavailoa is (even though he ends up being a meager game manager). Once this all gets going, the idea that there was a quarterback controversy will seem silly In hindsight.
BYU will go 2-10 and fire Kalani Sitake.
Shannon McKinley, TicketCity.com
Urban’s Impact on Ohio State. Regardless of whether Meyer’s administrative leave will result in resignation, firing or nothing at all, it will shape Ohio State as well as the national landscape this season – the players will be affected. If he is removed in any way from Ohio State, they are no longer the Big Ten favorite. If he stays, they will deal with media pressure and controversy. It will be important how they respond.
Due to another pedestrian offense – even with transfer Shea Patterson – Michigan never is in the hunt for anything after dropping the opener at South Bend and losing all red-alert games on the schedule.
The Urban Meyer situation will dominate the season, at least the first part. Probably the second-most decorated coach in college football at the time being under such scrutiny? This isn’t just some coach; this is one of the greatest head men of all-time. This story in so many ways will be a big, big ongoing thing no matter how it shakes out.