Year in and year out College Football’s most elite programs are found in the power-five conferences, and send the best in the country to the CFB Playoffs. With many of the nations best players in 2018 headed to the NFL and a lot of questions surrounding some of the more consistent winners in college, it will be interesting to see how the upcoming season plays out. These are the teams that we believe will be champions of their respective conference this season.
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
Clemson has been among the elite programs in College Football for years and will look to continue on their recent success. They have won 4 straight Conference titles. The ACC collectively is weak, and the Tigers must take advantage as by far the best team in it. The Conference used to be tough. Florida State was consistently a top 10 team for a while, that is no longer the case. FSU, along with Virginia Tech and Miami, do not compete in the way that they used to and even struggle to be in the top 25 in recent seasons. Following their 42-10 victory over Pitt in last years title game, Clemson is a huge favourite to once again come out on top. They sent a ton of talent, particularly on the defensive side, to the NFL but, have solid reserves coming back like Xavier Thomas, who have been waiting behind the likes of Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrel, etc. The offense features an elite offensive line, and of course, returns a Heisman favourite at QB in sophomore Trevor Lawrence. Lead by Lawrence, they should run away with the ACC all season long.
Big Ten Conference
The Big Ten is always one of the winningest conferences with strong teams every year. Ohio State won the first ever college football playoff and contends every year. Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, and Wisconson are amongst the Top 25 year every year. That being said, the conference has been absent from the playoffs the past two seasons. The East division is usually the strongest and decides the champion but, the winner and best team will be Nebraska in the West. Ohio State loses Urban Meyer on the sidelines as well as bringing in a new quarterback which will open the door for other teams. Michigan will also be very strong and I foresee that they take down Ohio State to make it to the Big Ten title game against Nebraska. It is always a tough task taking down Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines but, the Cornhuskers have the best QB in Adrian Martinez which will be the deciding factor. If Martinez dominates like he is capable of, nobody in the Big Ten can get past them.
Big 12 Conference
For the past two seasons, the Oklahoma Sooners have won the Big 12 Conference and advanced into the CFB Playoffs. With that feat, they join Clemson and Alabama as the only schools to do so. We do not see this changing as the Sooners will capture a third straight conference championship. The one big question mark they face is replacing Heisman winner Kyler Murray as he will be wearing a Cardinals uniform in 2019. They brought in QB Jalen Hurts, who although had great success at Alabama was replaced by Tua Tagovolia, to be the potential replacement. They also lost Marquise Brown to the draft but, always have loads of talent at the skill positions. Oklahoma State and Iowa State will pose a threat to the Sooners and are a couple of Dark Horse teams to keep an eye on this season. As long as Hurts performs and Oklahoma continues their winning culture, nothing should change here as they are set to capture another Big 12 Title in 2019.
The Pac-12 has sent the fewest teams to the CFB Playoff out of the five power conferences. They will look to change that this year with a group of teams headlined by favourite Oregon. The Ducks return a remarkable 10 starters on offense, including exceptional QB Justin Herbert, along with a lot of talent on the defensive side as well. Oregon will have early tests, opening up against Auburn in the first week, then travelling to face conference opponents Stanford, Washington, USC and Arizona State. These early games will tell a lot about how Oregon will fair this season. But, we say they run away with it. As far as the rest of the Pac-12, there aren’t many teams that can make a run besides Utah, who is a potential dark horse to win. They will be healthy after injuries hurt them last season. Don’t be surprised if Utah repeats out of the South but, they will make it no further once they run into Oregon.
Southeast Conference (SEC)
The Alabama Crimson Tide in all of their dominance has been the face of the SEC for years under Nick Saban. The past two seasons they have not only won the conference but, also advanced to the National Championship game. Bama has broken the heart of the Georgia Bulldogs for the past two seasons, we see this tide changing. Georgia has one of the best offensive lines in the country, along with a group in the backfield lead by D’andre Swift and an established QB in Jake Fromm. Their defense also has some returning pieces and should improve come 2019. Alabama is the favourite headed into the season, and both them along with Georgia should cruise to the Conference title game. There it may become a shootout between Tua Tagovolia and Jake Fromm but, in the end, we see Georgia finally taking down the Crimson Tide and taking the next step as National contenders.