The season just finished with LSU winning big over Clemson to win the national championship, but we have already turned out eyes to 2020 to see where Alabama, Auburn and UAB can go in the new decade.
ESPN has released their way-too-early Top 25 rankings, and Clemson moves back into the top spot despite losing the championship game to LSU. The Tigers return Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne in the backfield along with Justin Ross at receiver. LSU loses Heisman winner Joe Burrow plus passing game coordinator Joe Brady.
Alabama comes in at #3 behind Ohio State who returns Heisman finalist QB Justin Fields. The Tide have to replace a lot of players including: QB Tua Tagovailoa, WR Jerry Jeudy, WR Henry Ruggs III, S Xavier McKinney, LB Terrell Lewis, LB Anfernee Jennings, CB Trevon Diggs, DE Raekwon Davis and more.
The Tide do have top rated QB Bryce Young coming in to compete for the starting job and Mac Jones has shown himself to be a valuable player if called upon to be the starter. Linebacker Dylan Moses is coming back to lead the defense after missing all of last season with an injury.
Auburn is at #12 and will return QB Bo Nix for his sophomore season. However, the Tigers lost starting running back JaTarvious Whitlow to the transfer portal (although they do have a top running back coming in in Tank Bigsby) and they have to place their entire offensive line. Add on top of that replacing DT Derrick Brown, DE Marlon Davidson, S Jeremiah Dinson, S Daniel Thomas and CB Noah Igbinoghene on defense.
Here are the full way-too-early rankings from ESPN:
2. Ohio State
9. Penn State
10. Notre Dame
11. Texas A&M
13. Oklahoma State
16. Iowa State
18. Boise State
22. North Carolina