Best bets — other than Bama or Clemson — to win national championship next

first_imgNational Signing Day has passed, so the long offseason wait is here.MORE: Recapping top-10 classes from NSDWe’ll start the talk with a question: If you had to bet on the next school to win a national championship — other than Alabama or Clemson — then who would you pick?This list is a little bit different than our top 25 for 2019, and that’s OK. It might take a few years before somebody other than the Tide or Tigers wins it.Here are 10 good bets:10. Notre DameIt’s a toss-up between the Irish and Penn State here — programs that have not won a national championship in more than 30 years. Alabama and Clemson routed Notre Dame in the Irish’s last two appearances on the biggest stage, respectively, but they have also had two undefeated regular seasons. Brian Kelly can use that 30-3 loss to the Tigers in the Cotton Bowl as a learning tool while continuing to upgrade the talent.9. OregonThe Ducks are the only Pac-12 team on this list. That speaks to the uncertainty around USC heading into a pivotal season under Clay Helton. Washington could have just easily gone here too, but Oregon is trending up with Mario Cristobal’s top-10 recruiting class this cycle. Plus, he’ll have a good Playoff look with Justin Herbert at quarterback in 2019. The season-opener against Auburn is huge.8. MichiganThe Wolverines haven’t won a national championship since 1997, and the Buckeyes have owned “The Game” this century. Jim Harbaugh, however, has brought in top-10 classes in three of the last four cycles. That included the top class in the Big Ten this year. Winning 10 games a season is one thing, but Michigan needs to beat Ohio State and win a Big Ten championship before it can move up in the national championship conversation.MORE: Michigan must use 2019 recruiting class in next breakthrough7. FloridaThe Gators are ahead of schedule under Dan Mullen, and they capitalized on that momentum with a top-10 recruiting class in 2019. This also is a nod that Florida is in the best shape among the “big three” programs in the state. Florida State is a mess, and Miami has yet another coaching change. Now, the challenge for the Gators is to close the gap with Georgia and offer a better showing if they get to Atlanta than their last two SEC East championship teams.6. Texas A&MJimbo Fisher is the last active coach beside Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney to win a national title, and he has brought those lessons from Florida State to Texas A&M. The Aggies might be a cycle or two away, but they’ll find out where they stand with matchups against Clemson and Alabama next season. Next year will be a stretch, but Fisher will have several chances to fill that dateless national championship plaque.5. LSUThis is a tough spot to be, relatively speaking. The Tigers are talented, but there’s a noticeable drop-off after the top four teams. LSU is one of those SEC teams on this list that has not shown the ability to clear the Crimson Tide hurdle. That said, the Tigers are recruiting well enough to make a run at their first national championship since 2007. Joe Burrow returns at quarterback, and Ed Orgeron has settled in at coach. To break through, LSU must do what is has not done since the No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown on Nov. 5, 2011: Beat Alabama. Do that, and those national championship chances will increase dramatically.P5 PRIMERS: ACC | B1G | SEC | B12 | P124. OklahomaOklahoma fans won’t like seeing the next team ahead of them on this list: not after three Playoff appearances in five seasons and the fact Lincoln Riley has coached back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. The Sooners, however, have not won a national championship since 2000. And while the Big 12 championships are great, Oklahoma still hasn’t won a Playoff game. There will be a continued back-and-forth like last year with this next Big 12 team moving up.3. TexasToo high? Texas hasn’t won a national championship since 2005, hasn’t been to the Playoff yet and just secured its first 10-win season in a decade. We understand that. We still like the trajectory of Texas with Tom Herman, who led the Longhorns to 10 wins and a Sugar Bowl victory against Georgia last season. The Longhorns have landed consecutive top-three recruiting classes heavy on in-state talent. The challenge now is to maintain that consistency, especially early in the season, and make a Big 12 championship run. Texas isn’t back yet, but the Longhorns are getting close. Who’s the best bet to win a national championship next — other than the two obvious choices?Alabama and Clemson have won the last four national championships, and the Crimson Tide and Tigers will be heavy favorites to meet in the College Football Playoff for the fourth time in 2019. Sporting News already has Alabama and Clemson in the top two spots in its pre-preseason top 25. 2. Ohio StateRyan Day inherits all the necessary pieces for multiple Big Ten and national championship runs from Urban Meyer. Justin Fields is eligible, so the Buckeyes have another dynamic playmaker at quarterback. Ohio State is the only other team to win a College Football Playoff championship, which makes it easy to put them as the second choice on this list.MORE: Fields could be 2019’s biggest star — if he plays1. GeorgiaKirby Smart has brought in three consecutive top-three classes loaded with blue-chip talent. The Bulldogs have taken Alabama to the limit in the last two meetings, including the 2018 College Football Playoff championship game and SEC championship game. Jake Fromm gets one, maybe two more chances to end that national championship drought that extends back to 1980. Can the Bulldogs finish the job?last_img

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