Sleeper Teams in 2019 CFB -- Your Thoughts?

Submitted by uofmfan_13 on January 2nd, 2019 at 1:49 PM

Super early, but we know Alabama / Clemson / Oklahoma will be back in the CFB playoff mix in 2019.  Meh.  Yawn. 

More fun to project those "sleeper" programs that might surprise in 2019 (like Northwestern did, Purdue did), or at least cause some chaos/upsets. Based on my view of 2018 and the Big Ten in particular, here are my picks. 

What say you? 

1. Big Ten East: would watch out for Indiana in the East.  Sounds crazy, but don't fall asleep - they have a QB and a RB (Stevie Scott) and host OSU early (week 3) and host NW and then host Michigan.  Have played Michigan, OSU and MSU tough in 2018.  I see them at 8-4 or 7-5 with a home upset of one of the better B10 East programs.  

2. Big Ten West: Nebraska. Definitely see them improving year 2 of Scott Frost.  Hosting OSU, NW and Wisconsin.  Fan base is starved for a winner.  See them improving to 8-4 and with the right bounces, even better and possible contention for Big Ten West.

3. ACC: See Boston College doing better than expected again.  Bring back QB, RB (Dillon) and should be solid on defense again.  7-5 this year, faded down the stretch. 

4. ACC: UVA.  Can see the Cavaliers getting even better in year 3 of Mendenhall.  Can they beat Va Tech?   You think UM vs OSU is on an epic losing streak, UVA hasn't beaten Va Tech in about 20 seasons.

5. PAC 12: Arizona State.  Herm Edwards wasn't a complete disaster like some predicted. Week 2 at Sparty.  Think they could surprise some people, be even better than this year.  



January 2nd, 2019 at 2:24 PM ^

I was going to say Texas. After winning 10 games they will be a popular pick next year, but their schedule really does set up nicely. They get LSU at home for a signature win early, and there's not much treachery on the rest of their schedule outside of the obvious OU game. Have to go to Morgantown but that will be a WV team with a new coach and new QB. Have to go to Ames, which has traditionally been a little tricky, but there's still a chance that Campbell is hired away too.


January 2nd, 2019 at 1:58 PM ^

Alabam /Clemson/ Oklahoma, OSU or second best SEC team. That’s your playoff - rinse repeat.

All other games and teams are meaningless. So says the board so say we all.

A Lot of Milk

January 2nd, 2019 at 2:03 PM ^

I would be shocked if Nebraska didn't win the west and have a chance at the Rose Bowl. They get Iowa, Northwestern, and Wisconsin all at home. Toughest games are at Colorado, at Purdue, and home against OSU.

Texas still won't make the CFP. 


January 2nd, 2019 at 2:05 PM ^

I think you're way too conservative with Nebraska.  I could easily see them going 10-2, 9-3.

Let's say they lose to OSU most likely.

They play Wisconsin and NW at home and have a weak OOC.  They should be favored in all other games.

I think you're way to liberal with Indiana, only because I have the same thought every year since Teven Coleman was there and I'm always let down.


January 2nd, 2019 at 2:05 PM ^

Sparty actually is set up very nicely.  They have 1 more year before they hit a talent glacier so they better capitalize.  They wasted this year.   

West is looking pretty good.  Nebraska and Minnesota seem to be trending and Purdue may have something despite the bowl game mess.

Texas is not exactly a sleeper pick anymore.  

UCLA played a ton of people. Yr2 for Chip.  Should be much better.

According to this board Michigan scored 1.2 pts per game this year so I think with 21 of the top 25 players on offense returning and the QB I think we might top double digits.





January 2nd, 2019 at 2:23 PM ^

The thing that concerns me the most about MSU is that they were in nearly all of their games at some point in the fourth quarter with one of the worst offenses I have ever seen by a legitimate power 5 program. Yes, we totally dominated that game, but it was still 14-7 in the fourth and 7-7 late in the third. All it takes is one play sometimes.

You can look at that two ways though - they could continue to be horrible next year, or, like how Michigans offense improved considerably this season, MSU could also improve and be a problem as a team. I just can't bank on them looking that horrible again next season, but who knows.


January 2nd, 2019 at 9:11 PM ^

I still don't get it.  The data shows Lewerke was servicable because, for example, LJ Scott ran for 3 times more yards in 2017 versus 2018... and scored 8 TDs in 17 versus 0 in 18.

Without a supporting cast, we get to see the true Lewerke.

As far as the backup goes, if Steven Threet and John O'Korn had a love child, it would be Rocky Lombardi.


yossarians tree

January 2nd, 2019 at 3:58 PM ^

If Willikes and Batchie return that is basically their entire defense except the one CB. Their offense has some receiver talent and will likely get better. I think this is the year they dump their OC and the ewok Valenti can finally take a crap. I thought they were overrated pre-2018 but they could be a very tough out next year--and don't forget they've won the last two at the Big House.


January 2nd, 2019 at 2:08 PM ^

I could see Michigan State surprising people. Even though he's 20-18 in his last three years, expect Mark Dantonio to come out firing and maybe only get embarrassed offensively in 2 or 3 games this year.

Watch out for Duke in the ACC. Especially if Zion Williamson decides to stick around another year and play football. Could be a real menace off the edge, and their coach turned down Michigan a few years ago before we hired Harbaugh, so he's pretty good. 

Big Ten West? Well considering Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa have won division championships in the last 4 years, Nebraska is a blue blood, and Purdue beat Ohio State by 29, that really only leaves Illinois. I don't know anything about Illinois. Maybe they'll be good, maybe they won't. But they have another Isaiah Williams coming to play QB which means Ohio State is in trouble. 

Pac12: Anyone. They were all shitty. Lets just say everyone.

SEC: Alabama's second string.


January 2nd, 2019 at 2:10 PM ^

Nebraska for sure. Frost has a great scheme, great play caller, 2nd year in the system for the players, and they have the (albiet young) athletes to make it work if they can execute like they were at the end of the season. Their defense is still a huge question mark, but that offense is going to be one of the best in the B1G - and maybe the country if they continue to up their recruiting - as long as he's there.


January 2nd, 2019 at 2:19 PM ^

Waiting for the feeling to return to my dong after November before caring enough.  Not sure I'll get that feeling back for another 320 days.

M-B Devil Dog

January 2nd, 2019 at 2:40 PM ^

I live in Texas and I'm telling you something is brewing at Univ of Texas. I went to two games this year (brother is a graduate) and they are NOT a bad team. Just not super consistent. I warned every UGA fan I know who was pounding their chests that they belonged in the CFP they better not sleep on Texas as they are liable to punch you in the mouth and well...we all know what happened. While the score was not indicative of an ass whipping, make no mistake. Texas beat Georgias ass all night. Fromm looked average as did their backs.  Same Ehlinger is not a NFL future QB but the kid is as Texas football as Texas football gets. He is their inspirational leader and refuses to quit. I don't know if I've ever seen a QB get stuck like he has and not been the one who got bounced. If Collin Johnson and Lil'Jordan Humphrey return then watch the F out, Texas could sneak into the CFP next year. 


January 2nd, 2019 at 6:58 PM ^

Yes, to my untrained eye, Texas was quite impressive yesterday, esp. relatively unheralded DL holding their own. 

A resurgent Texas, Florida, Oregon are all good things for Michigan—blue chip talent will be more widely distributed and should impede the recruiting by USC, Okla., Clemson, Alabama and to some extent Ohio state a notch. A small notch but still. 


January 2nd, 2019 at 2:50 PM ^

My sleeper team to win a conference championship after a long drought has a returning QB, most of its OL, and a talented WR corps to complement some dynamic young skill position recruits in the 2019 class.


January 2nd, 2019 at 7:23 PM ^

Not a dream.  And I am not being sarcastic.  I predict we all will see the best Michigan offense we have seen in decades.  Yes, decades.  I think Harbaugh will tweak the offense a little further. Learn from his 2018 mistakes and Michigan will have a dynamic offense. Does NOT mean abandoning the run, but more splash plays and more getting the ball into playmakers hands. If he doesn't do it in 2019, it will NEVER happen.  2019 is the year for the offense.  Biggest question mark is the D.