What – or who – will be the biggest disappointments of the 2018 college football season be? The college football experts weigh in …
USC: The schedule appears to be favorable but – call it a hunch – this goes off the rails quickly for the Trojans with unforeseen landmines among road games at Stanford, Texas, Arizona, and Utah in their first seven contests.
Alabama is going to be really awesome again.
There’s a large portion of me that appreciates the brutal consistency of Nick Saban’s process and program. But with the team that’s returning, and the not-that-awful schedule, the Crimson Tide will almost certainly be double-digit favorites in every game. And if they’re not, they’ll be close.
I’ve never sensed that Bama inspires pure hatred on a national scale like, for example, the New England Patriots. There’s more of a resignation of – heavy sigh – death, taxes, you’re going to see The Meg even though it’s meh, Alabama in the College Football Playoff.
However, it would be so much fun if the rest of the SEC West got amazing again, and/or if Louisville pulled off the win over the Tide in the season opener. But nah … Alabama is going to roll through the season, get back to the College Football Playoff, and at least play in the national title game for the fourth year in a row.
And while wonks like me will find it amazing and geek out over the program’s brilliance, the eyes of the rest of the sports world will glaze over after Saban throws another national title on the pile.
The collective step back in the SEC surrounding (but, of course, not including) Alabama. Even after the Tide won it all, it was legit to question whether or not they’d proved they were better than Georgia or even Auburn. It’ll be another season of one — at the top — and done for everybody else in a league that may or may not actually be the best in the land.
Not having the BCS formula to determine the top four teams
With no set criteria in the continued process of trying to determine four teams for the right to play for the national championship, the College Football Playoff committee could have their hands full at seasons end. All Power Five conferences could field possibilities of having one team in the Playoff – and even two in the SEC, ACC, Big 12, and the Big Ten.
This would be another example of why the BCS formula is needed to determine the top teams and then have the top four teams play it off.
Miami could potentially have an undefeated regular season and lose in the ACC championship game. How will the College Football Playoff committee look at Miami with potential regular season wins against LSU in Arlington, a home win against Florida State, five road wins and six wins away from home?
No matter what happens in the Auburn versus Washington game opening weekend in Atlanta, if the Huskies lose to the Tigers and run the table, the College Football Playoff, without set criteria, will more than likely favor a one-loss Washington/Pac-12 team over another conference getting two teams in consecutive seasons.
The Big Ten and Big 12 could also be in a position of being left out of the Playoff if there is not an undefeated or one-loss team.
Notre Dame, Again …
It seems like almost every year the collective college football world yearns for the Irish to be completely relevant on a national scale. It’s hard to know if it’s because we all want it to happen, or just think too much of a program that has had arguably the biggest slide in the sport over the last couple of decades — from penthouse to slightly upper-crust.
So here we are again. Notre Dame has been picked by some to be a top ten team with some consideration for a College Football Playoff berth, but there are concerns. The top wideout and running back are gone, and so is defensive coordinator Mike Elko. Couple that with a brutal schedule and the Irish are looking to be another very good, above average team. Is that really enough these days?
Georgia. It returns everybody, but with the SEC getting better this offseason, it won’t repeat and get back to the College Football Playoff. The magic doesn’t return, despite the talent, and Kirby Smart loses three games.
Texas. It is always the Longhorns until they actually prove me wrong and win at least 10 games – something they have not done since 2009.
Shannon McKinley, TicketCity.com
Notre Dame. With the loss of Defensive Coordinator, Mike Elko, and a weaker O-line than usual, there’s not much to boost the Irish into the Top 15. Little besides its blueblood name gives any reason to think this year will be the run to the CFP.
Auburn. With a tough season opener against Washington, a loss would throw them off the rest of the season. Including tough games against Georgia, LSU and Alabama, the Tigers could go from a preseason top 10 to unranked by the end of November.