ESPN Ranks College Football’s No. 1 Non-Conference Game For 2019

first_imgGeorgia's football team running onto the field.ATHENS, GA – NOVEMBER 12: The Georgia Bulldogs enter the field to face the Auburn Tigers at Sanford Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)College football takes a hiatus for the next eight-and-a-half months, leaving us to fantasize about what excitement lies ahead next fall. Once again, we have a number of major non-conference matchups early in the season.ESPN’s Andrea Adelson ranked her top non-conference games in 2019. Some of these games will shape the College Football Playoff race, even though they are in the first few weeks of the campaign.Adelson chose Georgia-Notre Dame at No. 1. This will be the second time these two teams have met recently, with Georgia having beaten ND in South Bend in 2017.The Bulldogs host the Fighting Irish on Sept. 21, and there will be more than just a game at stake, as Adelson notes.Let’s be real. The trash-talk coming from Georgia players via Twitter as they watched Notre Dame get trucked by Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal makes this Week 4 matchup between the Irish and Bulldogs must-see TV. And considering both teams should be in the top 5 and playoff contenders again at that point, this one is already circled 50 times on the calendar, though it’s eight months out. This will be Notre Dame’s first trip to Athens, Georgia, and a return game after the two played in South Bend in 2017 (Georgia won 20-19). It will be hard to ignore the playoff implications in this one, especially considering the Irish must once again — in all likelihood — be perfect to have any shot at the top four.A 12-0 regular season in 2019 would be a major accomplishment for Notre Dame, considering the Irish have to play at Georgia, at Michigan and at Stanford. As for the Bulldogs, they can ill afford to lose a non-conference game before the SEC gauntlet kicks in.In addition to its usual SEC East slate, Georgia has to travel to Auburn and play a tough Texas A&M team in conference crossover action.If both of these teams are undefeated going into Week 4, the atmosphere for this one should be incredible.last_img read more

ESPN Names Clemson’s Biggest Concern For 2019

first_imgclemson head coach dabo swinney celebrates during national titleSANTA CLARA, CA – JANUARY 07: Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers looks on during warm ups prior to the CFP National Championship against the Alabama Crimson Tide presented by AT&T at Levi’s Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)The Clemson Tigers enter 2019 as the defending national champions, coming off a 15-0 season, with an elite freshman quarterback and one of the top recruiting staffs in the nation. But ESPN believes it would be a mistake to think of Clemson as a flawless team as they begin their title defense this season.According to ESPN writer David M. Hale, Clemson’s biggest obstacle heading into 2019 will be finding replacements and leaders for a plethora of superstar defenders that are leaving school.Specifically, Hale pointed to the team losing five of their top six pass rushers from 2018, who have either declared for the NFL early or have otherwise graduated, as a big obstacle to overcome.For any other team, the turnover on defense would be a huge red flag. For Clemson, it’s more of a minor inconvenience. Yes, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant are all moving on to the NFL, along with Tre Lamar, Kendall Joseph and Trayvon Mullen.Hale added that while the Tigers likely have the players capable of stepping up to the plate physically, the team will need to identify its new defensive leaders.The talent remains stout. The leadership will need to be developed this spring.Ferrell, Bryant, Wilkins, Joseph, and Lamar combined for 32 sacks and 70 tackles for loss in 2018.The Tigers may be one of the betting favorites for the 2019 national championship, but head coach Dabo Swinney will certainly want to identify the team’s new leaders quickly.[ESPN]last_img read more