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Breaking down the 16 Real College Football Playoff title contenders for the 2019 season



When the 2019 season begins on Saturday, Aug. 24, every team will have the same record, and theoretically, the same chance of winning the college football playoff. Except … they do not want to.

First, let's eliminate Group of.

First, the CFP, we can draw plenty of conclusions to the team that will actually have an opportunity to take home the trophy at year's end Five schools from the jump. That leaves us with the Power Five teams along with Notre Dame, but even then, not all Power Five programs are created equally. Within those 65 teams in any given year, there are never more than 1

0 real contenders for the national title.

To go down the field and earn a spot in the CFP, you need to have a combination of factors working in your favor. Talented enough – and remaining healthy enough – to get through your schedule with a few flaws displayed as possible.

So what teams are the real title contenders entering 2019? Below is a list of 16 teams broken down into tiers. To be clear: Just because a team is on the list does not mean I'm predicting that it will be a threat in 2019. I have a few who want to be a factor, but because of their pedigree and talent

Usual suspects

Alabama, Clemson: You did not have to read the headlines to this post before you knew exactly where these teams would be located – at the top. There has never been a college football playoff without Alabama in the field, and Clemson has been selected the last four seasons. These two have met in the CFP four times, and while they've split those four meetings, both Clemson's wins came in the CFP National Championship, including last year.

Both answering, but they remain the gold standard for college football programs right now. The difference is that Alabama's path to the CFP is more than Clemson's (through the SEC) this year.

Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma: Of these.

Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma: Of these four teams, one has won a national title in the CFP era (Ohio State in 2014), and another has lost a title in overtime (Georgia in 2017). Then there's Oklahoma, which has reached the playoff three times, including each of the last two years. The problem is that Oklahoma has yet to win a playoff game. Finally, there's Notre Dame, which went undefeated in the regular season last year and then ran into the buzzsaw that was Clemson's last year's Cotton Bowl.

All four of these programs can get back, though some have better paths than others. As Ohio State has shown, it's capable of winning the Big Ten and being left out. Of course, that's what happens when you lose to Purdue by 29. Without a conference title, Notre Dame wants to be ready, and with road games against Georgia and Michigan, that will not be easy. As for Oklahoma, it has the CFP Selection Committee's respect.

With that notre dame game on its schedule and its SEC slate schedule, Georgia wants to get it through the season with only one loss and not win the SEC.

Traditional Powers

Michigan, LSU, Texas, USC: These are the four schools that have plenty of history to make a college football playoff appearance. We'll start with the one that made you a double-take. No, I do not think USC is going to reach the playoff this year, but it's still USC, and it's still a roster loaded with talent. It's also in the Pac-12 where it is not another obvious choice to win the conference, and so USC has the brand appeal. Should the Trojans defy expectations and win the Pac-12, they'll be a real threat for playoff selection.

Then there's Michigan, LSU and Texas; these are three teams that are talented enough to win their conferences in 2019. Can you see any of these? The problem they all face is at least one other top program they need to topple to get there. Ohio State for the first time since 2011. LSU has to beat Alabama for the first time since 2011. Texas has beaten Oklahoma a few times during the regular season lately, but it has to both beat Oklahoma and win its other games.

Other SEC teams

Auburn, Florida, Texas A & M: If the first five years of playoff selection have anything, but they do not matter as much. No conference is better equipped to take that more than the SEC.

As such, all three of these teams must be considered. You would not consider any of them favorites in the conference, but if we are almost-forwarded to December right now and you

West Coast biased against

Oregon, Utah, Washington: Whether it's reality or more of a narrative, I'll let you decide for yourself, but it's hard to say that there's been a gap between the pac-12 and the rest of the power five in recent years. The conference has just come on the league itself. The conference is about to take its profile, but what would it help to do? The Pac-12 does not have one right now.

I listed USC earlier, but the Trojans are not a favorite in the conference this year. These three schools are the favorites, but when conference title odds were first released this summer, Washington and Oregon were co-faves with Utah right behind them. And that's the problem with the Pac-12 faces right now.

Mythical choice

UCF: Please don 't yell at me about it, Knights, but you probably did not need me to tell you that you are not in the running. You should know that by now.

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