Clemson and Alabama were the two best college football teams in the country last season. As the 2019 campaign nears, not much has changed.
The first AP Top 25 poll will be released on Monday at 12 p.m. ET, and it's likely that the Tigers and Crimson Tide will be the two teams at the top of the rankings.
Clemson defeated Alabama in the final game of the College Football Playoff to win the national championship last year, and the the Tigers and Tide will likely be tough to topple at the top of the rankings. Clemson went undefeated last season, and Alabama has lost only one game in each of the past four seasons.
Here's a prediction as to how the first Top 25 rankings of the 2019 season could look.
Projected AP Top 25 Poll
3. Ohio State
9. Notre Dame
12. Texas A&M
13. Penn State
20. Virginia Tech
22. Michigan State
24. Boise State
The teams that will likely be at the top of the first AP Top 25 poll all have strong quarterbacks, and that should lead to some exciting action around the country this season.
Clemson and Alabama both return experienced starters under center this fall. Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence is entering his sophomore season after winning the national championship as a true freshman. Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is entering his junior season after an exceptional first year as a starter in 2018.
But those two aren't the only exciting quarterbacks leading a top program this fall.
Sophomore Justin Fields is entering his first season as Ohio State's starter after transferring from Georgia. Last year, he served as the Bulldogs' backup to starter Jake Fromm, and he showed flashes of what he's capable of. It should be exciting to watch Fields lead a college offense for the first time.
Meanwhile, Fromm, a junior, is entering his third season as Georgia's starting quarterback. The Bulldogs have made the College Football Playoff in both years Fromm has been at the helm, losing to Alabama in the national championship game two years ago and falling to Texas in the most recent Sugar Bowl. So he will be desperate to capture the national title in what should be his final season at Georgia.
Shea Patterson and Jalen Hurts are former SEC quarterbacks who are now seniors leading other top programs. Patterson is entering his second year as the starter at Michigan after transferring from Ole Miss. Hurts, meanwhile, spent the past three seasons at Alabama but will be leading Oklahoma's offense in 2019.
It should be fun to watch Hurts play in the Big 12, a conference known for lots of offense. Plus, he will have something to prove after starting for the Crimson Tide in 2016 and 2017 before backing up Tagovailoa last year.
There are several other quarterbacks who should be among the best in the country this year, such as LSU's Joe Burrow and Oregon's Justin Herbert, both returning starters.
While these teams all have their own strengths and weaknesses, they all have above-average signal-callers. That should bring excitement for these schools and college football fans alike this season.