Vegas Favorites Clemson, Alabama Top First College Football 2019 Coaches Poll

Posted on: August 5, 2019, 02:42h. 

Last updated on: August 5, 2019, 12:33h.

The first major college football poll of the year came out late last week, and as expected, Clemson starts off the 2019 season where it ended last season: on top.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, shown here running against Furman last season, helps make the Tigers a favorite for the 2019 college football title. (Image: Ken Ruinard/The Greenville News)

The Tigers, the defending national champions, took 59 of 65 possible first-place votes in USA Today’s Amway Coaches Poll. Alabama, who lost to Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship back in January, got the remaining first-place votes and sits in second place in the poll.

While the poll lists the top 25, we’ll break down the top 10 teams’ chances to win it all. We’ll list the remainder at the bottom with their odds to hoist the trophy on Jan. 13 in New Orleans.

This week, we’ll look at the current odds from the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.

Clemson is the coaches’ favorite and the SuperBook’s favorite to start the season. The Tigers odds are +225, meaning a $100 bet would win $225. Coach Dabo Swinney returns 12 starters from last year’s squad, including sophomore quarterback and Heisman Trophy front-runner Trevor Lawrence.

Swinney told reporters Friday he’s already seen the progression he wants to see from Lawrence, who took over the starting job midway through his freshman season. That entails the young quarterback putting himself in charge of the team and not just on offense.

He’s done all that,” Swinney said. “He’s really asserted himself as the leader, and we all needed to see that. We saw it as the season went along last year.”

The biggest question for the Tigers will be on defense, where they have just four returning starters from a unit that dominated teams all season long last year.

The Rest of the Top Five

2. Alabama (+250): The Crimson Tide also return a dozen players, led by junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and junior receiver Jerry Jeudy, who caught 68 passes for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

3. Georgia (+600): Jake Fromm led the Bulldogs to the title game as a freshman two years ago. Now the quarterback seeks a return trip, but questions linger about an inexperienced receiver corps.

4. Oklahoma (+1400): Jalen Hurts transfers from Alabama, where he was 26-2 as the Tide’s quarterback. He’ll need help from a veteran but yielding defense. The Sooners return eight starters, but gave up 33.3 points per game, which ranked 101st last season.

5. Ohio St. (+1600): The Buckeyes have a new coach in Ryan Day and a new quarterback in Justin Fields, but optimism abounds in Columbus, even if Fields, a Georgia transfer, hasn’t proven himself as a starter.

The Rest of the Top Ten

6. LSU (+2500): The Tigers have 16 starters returning from last year’s Fiesta Bowl-winning squad. But if LSU wants to play for a national title, it must beat Southeastern Conference West rival Alabama. Possibly twice. The two play at ‘Bama in the regular season. LSU last beat the Tide in 2011 in a game at Alabama.

7. Michigan (+1400): The Wolverines also have a new quarterback, former Ole Miss starter Shea Patterson, who will have a trio of veteran receivers as targets this year. Michigan seeks its first Big Ten title since 2004 and its first outright conference crown since 2013.

8. Florida (+5000): The Gators have eight returning starters off a defense that ranked in the top 25 in several statistics, including seven in turnovers forced with 26. Quarterback Feleipe Franks returns after starting all 13 games last season to give the offense a boost.

9. Notre Dame (+5000): The Fighting Irish return 13 starters, led by senior quarterback Ian Book, who proved to be an effective passer last season by completing 70.4 percent of his throws. However, because Notre Dame is an independent, they’ll need to run the table to make the playoff. Games at Georgia, Michigan, and Stanford will make that tough this year.

10. Texas (+2500): Coach Tom Herman has turned around the Longhorns in Austin, but he faces a tough task this season as he has just eight starters returning. One of those returning starters is junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who threw for 3,292 yards and a 25-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio last season.

Teams 11-25: 11. Texas A&M (+20000), 12. Washington (+5000), 13. Oregon (+5000), 14. Penn St. (+10000), 15. Utah (+5000), 16. Auburn (+5000), 17. Wisconsin (+20000), 18. Central Florida (+100000), 19. Iowa (+30000), 20. Michigan St. (+10000), 21. Washington St. (+10000), 22. Syracuse (+20000), 23. Stanford (+20000), 24. Iowa St. (+20000), and 25. Northwestern (+100000).

Best odds among the unranked: Nebraska (+5000).