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UGA: Here’s where the Dawgs stand with the early odds, rankings for 2019

The dust has settled on another season of college football, with Clemson taking the national title in convincing fashion.

Does this blowout victory put Clemson in the proverbial driver’s seat for next year’s championship? 

The offensive troika of quarterback Trevor Lawrence, wide receiver Justyn Ross and tailback Travis Etienne (seven combined touchdowns vs. Alabama) will return in full, and the defense won’t lose their thirst for destruction–even if a handful of defensive linemen are selected high in the NFL draft.

That’s certainly a good foundation for ranking no worse than No. 2 overall.

11Alive Sports offers a sampling of betting odds and rankings projections for next fall, with the intent of finding a consensus with both groupings.

We have one request, though: Please don’t strain your eyes too much looking for UGA in each countdown … or Georgia Tech, for entirely different reasons.

Clemson (9-5)
Alabama (5-2)
Ohio State (12-1)
Georgia (12-1)
Michigan (14-1)
Oklahoma (15-1)
Texas (20-1)
Nebraska (25-1)
Washington (25-1)
Florida (25-1)
Notre Dame (25-1)
Oregon (30-1)
Wisconsin (50-1)
LSU (50-1)
Mississippi State (50-1)
Auburn (50-1)

Ohio State
Penn State
Michigan State
Florida State
Notre Dame
Texas A&M


a) Let’s start with the following distinction: National-title odds are vastly different than straight-up rankings for a coming season.

Take UCF, for example. The Vegas experts (above) aren’t necessarily knocking the Knights’ potential for clawing back into the top 10 next season, and perhaps reach a New Year’s Six bowl for a third straight time.

They simply know that, long before the first snap, a Group Of Five program has little or no chance of reaching the four-team College Football Playoff.

b) Independent Notre Dame obviously has more national cachet than UCF, but the Fighting Irish are still proverbial long shots for Playoff contention, short of posting another undefeated regular season.

Here’s why:

Looking at the schedule … the trips to Georgia (Sept. 21), Michigan (Oct. 26), Duke (Nov. 9) and Stanford (Nov. 30) will likely yield at least one defeat.

c) It’s hard to envision any media or betting company logging thousands of man hours on this project in January, since we know it’s a fun and consequence-free exercise.

So, in that vein, it only makes sense that Clemson, Alabama, UGA and Ohio State would occupy the top-4 slots for each survey.

1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Georgia
4. Ohio State
5. Notre Dame
6. Oklahoma
7. Michigan
8. Texas
9. Florida
10. Oregon
11. Texas A&M
12. Washington
13. LSU
14. Penn State
15. Utah
16. UCF
17. Wisconsin
18. Iowa
19. Auburn
20. Northwestern
21. Iowa State
22. Army
23. Michigan State|
24. Missouri
25. Virginia Tech

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Georgia
4. Oklahoma
5. Ohio State
6. Texas A&M
7. Washington
8. Florida
9. Notre Dame
10. LSU
11. Michigan
12. Oregon
13. Texas
14. Virginia Tech
15. Mississippi State
16. Penn State
17. UCF
18. Nebraska
19. Auburn
20. Iowa State
21. Utah
22. Wisconsin
23. Missouri
24. Washington State
25. Northwestern

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Georgia
4. Texas
5. Ohio State
6. Oklahoma
7. Notre Dame
8. LSU
9. Washington
10. Michigan
11. Texas A&M
12. Florida
13. UCF
14. Oregon
15. Utah
16. Iowa
17. Iowa State
18. Penn State
19. Wisconsin
20. Washington State
21. Auburn
22. Utah State
23. Northwestern
24. Houston
25. Nebraska


a) The early-entry defections of Elijah Holyfield, Isaac Nauta, Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley (NFL Draft), along with the transfer of former 5-star recruit Justin Fields (bound for Ohio State), haven’t hindered UGA’s 2019 outlook in any way.

It’s a testament to head coach Kirby Smart’s relentless recruiting prowess, routinely swapping out one blue-chip recruit for another along the Dawgs’ depth chart.

The only downside of UGA ranking No. 3 across the board: These media pundits aren’t factoring in the sustained difficulty of the Bulldogs’ slate next year.

After three winnable games to open the season (at Vanderbilt, vs. Murray State, vs. Arkansas State), Georgia will encounter a somewhat-treacherous run of Notre Dame, Tennessee (road), South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida (Jacksonville), Missouri, Auburn (road), Texas A&M and Georgia Tech (road).

(On the plus side, the Dawgs will conveniently have two byes during this stretch.)

b) I’m absolutely OK with various countdowns rubber-stamping Clemson and Alabama for next year’s title game. 

Until some program can step up and threaten victory … the Tigers and Tide should be robust write-in considerations the following season. 

Sight unseen, perhaps.

c) Here’s a story angle that hasn’t gotten much attention–yet.

With the Peach Bowl in Atlanta serving as a Playoff-semifinal venue next year (along with the Fiesta), Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and Auburn will likely have a zero margin of error in 2019, if these schools harbor any hopes of collecting the No. 1 overall seed … and subsequently charting an easy travel path to championship glory.

Semifinal #1: Atlanta
Playoff title game: New Orleans

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