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Category Archives: 2019 Pre-Season

Preseason Rankings: The Big Ten Dominate CBS Sports 130 But Clemson Is Still King

The 2019 college football season is almost upon us, so you know what that means – It’s prediction time! The Preseason CBS Sports 130 was unveiled last week and, to no one’s surprise, the defending national champions the Clemson Tigers sat above the Alabama Crimson Tide, taking the number one seed. Looking at this preseason ranking, we here at The Kickoff cannot help but be excited for what should be an exhilarating 150th year of college football! While Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia and Ohio State are familiar occupants at the top of the rankings, our preseason balloting shows some changes in perception and expectation from where things stood at the end of the 2018 season. 


Looking further down the rankings, No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 21 Virginia, No. 23 Miami and No. 25 Oklahoma State all finished outside of the top 40 in the final balloting of the CBS Sports 130, but no team has seen a bigger offseason adjustment than No. 24 Nebraska. Scott Frost’s second year hype is hitting an all-time high thanks to a 4-2 finish to the season, but the 4-8 Nebraska team finished the 2018 season ranked well in the bottom half of the entire FBS rankings at No. 74. Jumping 50 spots leads us to believe that this Nebraska team is going to be one of the most intriguing going into the year and we are excited to see if this ranking is an accurate reflection of this Big Ten dark horse team. 


Taking a look at conferences, the top 25 spots of the ranking poll are occupied by the SEC and Big Ten, with both conferences having six teams in the top 25. The ACC and Big 12 are next in line with four teams apiece, with the Pac-12 showing no teams in the top 10 but three teams in the top 15 and the AAC holding a lone top 25 spot with No. 15 UCF. 


To view the full rankings, we encourage you to take a look at the official rankings on the CBS Sports website. Also, if you want to see how the CBS Sports 130 matches up to our own rankings at The Kickoff, we are running a limited time, buy one get one free offer on all digital subscription of the newsletter. The Kickoff has been an invaluable resource in the world of college football statistics for over 50 years, providing statistical insight that is unmatched in college football news. 

Our Boldest Predictions for the 2019 Season

Changes are Coming to College Football


Hello again, and welcome back to The Kickoff blog. As the leading predictor of college football results and statistics, we wanted to take some time in today’s blog to go over some of the boldest predictions that are floating around during the offseason. While it is true that every offseason brings with it a large amount of off the wall predictions, we feel that the predictions that we are going to list in today’s blog post have some merit to them and, as a result, deserve a little more analysis than the typical rumors that get thrown about. With just around three months until the start of the 2019 season, there are now a handful of teams that we believe will be ranked among the elites in August. In addition to these noteworthy teams, we feel that a few teams are going to come out as darkhorse candidates this season and could surprise quite a few people. Continue reading below to learn more!  


Notre Dame: Highly Ranked Flop or Potential Powerhouse?


The term “flop” may be a bit harsh when it comes to describing Notre Dame but there is a chance that the Fighting Irish, despite a load of talent returning on both sides of the football, finishes the year with three regular-season losses. This number would surely keep the Irish well shorty of their expectations this season as quarterback Ian Book returns as a preseason Top 10 pick. Notre Dame will not be favored in road trip games against Georgia or Michigan and there are several other games that could go either way for the team during their fall schedule. We predict that their hopes of getting back to a Playoff game after the predicted setback that is going to hit them in Athens.


The Tennessee Volunteers are Going to Win 9 Games


We know that this prediction sounds a little ludicrous after the Vols’ abysmal season last year, but hear us out. Jeremy Pruitt has laid the groundwork for a successful season and we are predicting a better than expected finish for Tennessee this season, especially if they can go into Gainesville and beat the Gators in their SEC opener. The offense this season should be improved under Jim Chaney as long as their is solid play up front. Depth could be an issue if the Vols experience any major injuries in the beginning of the season, however, we expect Tennessee to only lost to Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Mizzou during the regular season. This will be a tough year for the boys in orange, but we expect them to surprise more than a few people with their performance this season.


Heisman Finalist: Sam Ehlinger


Sam Ehlinger has that rare quality where he can make the players around him want to use every last ounce of energy they have to win football games. Not only is he an outstanding player with a canon for an arm, he is a player that inspires his team to be better than their individual selves. We feel that Ehlinger is one of the players this season that has it, that intangible factor that is needed to be successful in the important leadership position that comes with being a quarterback. If Ehlinger decides to step up and take the next step as a passer this season, a step that we see happening after last years showing, we expect that he could exceed 50 total touchdowns by season’s end. Because of this, we feel that his play will be too impressive for Heisman voters not to mention him in spotlight games.


Join us again next time as we continue to cover some of our boldest predictions for the 2019 college football season. If you would like to keep up with the latest, most in depth stats in college football, we encourage you to signup for our monthly Kickoff stats package. We break down all of the important information so that you can accurately predict which teams are going to come out on top this season.

Duff: Sports Wagering to Have a ‘Huge Impact’ on College Football

college football news

As more and more states move to allow legal sports wagering, Kickoff Editor Tommy Duff expects this to have a “huge impact” on the college football experience.

“Not so much the games themselves, but the atmosphere around it. I expect to hear a lot more talk about the odds than we’ve heard in the past,” Duff said.

Predicting sports results and placing a wager on the outcome happens with lots of different sports, as well as non-human contests like horse racing. Websites even offer wagers for things like the Grammys, Oscars, and Emmy Awards, so of course college football will figure prominently as restrictions fall after the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey last May and agreed that the federal ban on sports betting in most states violated their rights.

States that aren’t already on board must pass legislation to legalize sports betting, set up state-regulated sports books and gambling commissions. This is happening because states are missing out on revenues from illegal sports betting.

He expects that at some point, the game will be rocked by a scandal of some sort involving players, coaches or officials who’ve discreetly bet on the game fixing the outcome – similar to the Chicago White Sox being dubbed the Black Sox after 8 baseball players conspired to throw the 1919 World Series.

“Some type of sports betting scandal IS going to happen eventually. Guarantee it,” Duff predicted.

Point-shaving schemes are not new to college athletics, and organized crime may become a factor, as gangsters have in the past (and probably already have been with under-the-table gambling on college football games).

At the professional level, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has stated that betting on in-game events, as opposed to the outcome of games, is a more palatable form of sports betting.

Some have long argued that college athletic programs, the NCAA, and apparel companies take advantage of athletes, who often attend school on a college scholarship but otherwise may scrape by because they do not get to share in the large pools of money generated by their talent.

Many a school has had a wealthy booster caught playing elite players and faced sanction by the NCAA. The counter-argument is that paying student-players would hurt the game and create a situation where a handful of big sports programs would pay top dollar for the elite players while other colleges would get caught up in a bidding war they can’t afford.

Will legal sports gambling create a back-door mechanism for players to profit? Will they see dollar signs instead of championship trophies? In a game built on tradition and glory, the prospect of being banned from the game and disgraced may offer some incentive to behave. Some will argue for leniency if it is proven that players did not bet on or against their own teams.

One thing is for sure: Every time a player falls just shy of the goal line or fumbles, affecting the outcome within the spread, some may now question if the incident was truly accidental.

Within this new environment affecting college football, The Kickoff becomes even more critical as a tool for prognosticating the outcome of games.

“The numbers we include are basically essential for those who follow the odds, including records against the spread and average margin of victory updates every week,” Duff said. “It’s all the information you need in one place and up-to-date.”

Early Expectations for College Football Power Programs

While on the topic of college football and the upcoming season, Duff offered a few early thoughts on what he expects to see.

As usual, Clemson and Alabama will stand a high probability of making it to the College Football Playoff yet again.

“Clemson will be favored to make it again, and we won’t see a large drop off from Bama this year unless Tua goes down. The championship game was an eye-opener, though, and they do not look invincible. Alabama still has the best wide receivers in the country.”

The Tide go into 2019 without former starting QB Jalen Hurts, who transferred to Oklahoma. Duff thinks the Sooners could be in the Playoff mix as well. Could we see Hurts vs Tua at some point?

“It would be interesting,” Duff said. “Tua is more accurate while Hurts is more agile and more dangerous outside the pocket. Oklahoma will be a favorite, but we have to see how Hurts is able to adapt. He’s not as consistent throwing the ball as Murray was a year ago.”

Duff also wants to see how teams like Texas A&M, LSU, Georgia, Michigan, and Penn State shape up over the summer.

“I expect Notre Dame and Brian Kelly to struggle this season. They got stomped in the playoffs, and I don’t think they’ll make it back.”
He said Auburn’s Gus Malzahn will also face pressure if the Tiger’s grueling schedule leads to another letdown. “Auburn should be safe, but if they do have a bad season, I can see Gus in trouble by the end.”

Duff does not think Kirby Smart will be able to deliver Georgia’s first national title since 1980. Much will depend on how well he has recruited to replenish talent. “He won’t be in trouble if they aren’t a Top 4 team. Everyone understands the Bulldogs lost quite a bit of talent.”

As for other coaches, Duff expects Les Miles and Mack Brown to improve their new teams. “They were horrible last year, and they’ll have to get some more talent to compete for any postseason games.”

As we move closer to summer workouts and the opening games of the new season, you can follow the action in the remaining off-season issues of The Kickoff and subscribe to the First Class printed or Email/PDF edition to begin receiving 17 in-season issues starting in August.

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College Football Prognostication: The Art of the Educated Guess

College football is back

Prognostication is not an exact science, but precision forecasting is the aim. Hype rules the Pre-season as coaches look for optimism going into Media Day events. Few would ever be brave (or eccentric) enough to signal to the faithful that disaster awaits the team – saying things like “the best Christmas gift this fall will be an end to our misery” is hardly a good way to pre-sell stadium tickets and inspire exceptional efforts from the student-athletes.

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Looking Ahead: An Early Preview of 2019 College Football

2019 College Football Season

The faces change, but the game remains the same. Colleges and universities across this great country will replace those lost to graduation and playing in the pros with fresh recruits from high schools and junior college transfers. Several great players will be with entirely different teams this season. And then there’s the annual changing of the guard as old coaches get sent packing after disappointing campaigns and new ones try to build a solid foundation as quickly as possible for future championships.

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