Prior to the 2019 college football season, LSU wasn’t a clear favorite to win the national title. If the Tigers could get quality play from a quarterback named Joe Burrow, they would have a chance.
That’s exactly what happened.
In 2020, there are a handful of favorites to win the College Football Playoff championship, but each has some questions to be answered. Who will answer them and win this year’s College Football Playoff national title?
The defending national champion loses a ton of talent including Burrow and a number of other NFL draft picks. The biggest losses might have been both of head coach Ed Orgeron’s coordinators – OC Joe Brady and DC Dave Aranda.
Myles Brennan steps in at quarterback and veterans Steve Ensminger and Scott Linehan will call the offense. The Tigers still have Biletnikoff Winner Ja’Marr Chase at wide receiver and the defense has enough 4- and 5-star talent to simply reload.
If the quarterback position and the offense come through, LSU at +1800 could pay out nicely.
It was the first time since the inception of the College Football Playoff that head coach Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide was not involved. They will be back in 2020 and are a slight favorite at +500 to win a national championship.
With Tua Tagovailoa off to the NFL, Mac Jones takes over at quarterback. He fared admirably in taking over for Tagovailoa after he suffered a hip injury late in the season. Jones played just 4.5 games but if he had qualified would have had the fourth-best QB rating (91.1) in the nation.
Saban will have to break in some new receivers – Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III were NFL first-rounders – but the defense should be very good.
If the Buckeyes can answer three questions – pass rush, running game, and the secondary – they are a strong bet at +300 to win another national title. DE Chase Young and his 16.5 sacks are off to the NFL as is RB J.K. Dobbins who eclipsed 2,000 yards last season.
CB Jeff Okudah was the fifth overall pick in the draft, but head coach Ryan Day has enough talent to make the secondary respectable. Plus, he’ll have Heisman Trophy candidate Justin Fields at quarterback. Fields threw for 3,273 yards and 41 touchdowns last season.
If Fields finds a new go-to receiver and Master Teague (789 yards in 2019) steps in for Dobbins, the Buckeyes could claim their first title since 2014.
The safe bet is on the favorite Clemson (+250) to win it all. Head coach Dabo Swinney’s Tigers have played in the last five straight CFPs and have two national titles in the past three seasons.
Clemson has Heisman candidate Trevor Lawrence at quarterback and RB Travis Etienne spurned the NFL to come back and win another championship. The question for Clemson is simply the offensive line. They must replace four starters upfront. How that goes will determine the success of the offense.
On defense, the Tigers must replace three NFL draft picks in the secondary. With the success of the program in the past decade, Clemson’s depth chart is full of 4- and 5- star talent. If the secondary and offensive line comes through, the Tigers will be right back in the thick of things come CFP time.
If there is another contender outside of the “Big Four,” it is Georgia. At +700, the Bulldogs are the favorite to win the SEC East. Remember, head coach Kirby Smart took the Bulldogs to the national championship game in 2017.
The question at Georgia is at quarterback. Jake Fromm is gone and the reins of the offense will be taken by graduate transfer Jamie Newman. The former Wake Forest starter is big at 6-4 and 240 pounds, but he struggled in the Demon Deacons’ biggest games.
The offense and Newman will be in good hands with Todd Monken who takes over as the offensive coordinator. The defense will be outstanding. If Newman comes through, it could be the Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff.