The College Football Playoff championship game for the 2018 season is Monday, January 7, 2019, at Levi’s Stadium. The top five favorites to win a national title at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com are the Alabama Crimson Tide (+175), Clemson Tigers (+600), Ohio State Buckeyes (+700), Georgia Bulldogs (+750) and Michigan Wolverines (+1600).
Four of those schools could have a new starting quarterback from 2017 come Week 1 of the 2018 season.
The Crimson Tide open just about every year as the national title favorites as they should, having won five of the past nine under Coach Nick Saban. Jalen Hurts was the team’s starting QB all of last season, but he struggled in the first half of the national title game against Georgia and freshman Tua Tagovailoa led the comeback victory.
Tagovailoa is the clearly superior passer, and sits high on the 2018 Heisman Trophy odds, but Hurts has all the experience and is a terrific runner. That battle will be decided in fall camp; might the loser transfer?
Clemson does return 2017 starter Kelly Bryant, but he was terrible in the Tigers’ College Football Playoff loss to Alabama, potentially opening the door for highly-touted true freshman Trevor Lawrence to take the job. Another former heralded recruit, sophomore Hunter Johnson, saw the writing on the wall and has transferred out.
Ohio State will have a new starting QB with J.T. Barrett, one of the best in Big Ten history, having moved to the NFL. Redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins was battling redshirt junior Joe Burrow during spring camp, but Burrow decided to leave for LSU so it will be Haskins under center.
Michigan’s Brandon Peters played a decent amount in 2017 and is back in Ann Arbor, but Coach Jim Harbaugh got odds-shifting news in late April when the NCAA ruled that Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson was eligible to play immediately even though he’s not a graduate transfer. He was considered the No. 1 QB in the entire Class of 2016 and showed signs of stardom for the Rebels. Patterson left because that program is in some NCAA hot water. He should win the starting job.
The one school assured of its starting quarterback being under center in Week 1 (barring injury) is Georgia with Jake Fromm. However, the sophomore might not want to get too comfortable as the top-ranked QB recruit in this year’s class, Justin Fields, is already pushing him.
Alabama and Georgia don’t play in the 2018 regular season, but it would be an upset if they didn’t meet in the SEC title game. That would seem to preclude another matchup for the national championship. Remember, Auburn and not Alabama won the SEC West last year. Michigan and Ohio State do close the regular season against one another as per usual. Clemson’s toughest test should be October 27 at Florida State (+4500), but the Tigers’ schedule looks rather weak overall.
Only the SEC and ACC have had at least one representative in every edition of the College Football Playoff.
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Source: Heavy Sports