The college football season will be here before we know it and it’s the perfect time to look at how teams will stack up this year. Chelsa Messinger and Michael Jenkins spoke with college football analyst Phil Steele on The Daily Tip on Thursday to get some insight.
Steele said he’s pretty high on Alabama this season, but sees some games in which they’ll be challenged.
“I think they can definitely reload and they’ll be a national title contender,” he said of Alabama. “It seems like everybody thinks Alabama wins the national title every year, they didn’t win it in ‘19 … But, naturally, they’re a playoff contender … I actually think their defense is going to be better than last year’s defense. So this team is good. They’ve got two tough tests. They’ve got to play Texas A&M on the road Oct. 9, I think that’s a potential slip-up area. And then it would probably be Georgia in the SEC title game are two that could slip them up, as could any of the playoff contenders. It’ll be interesting, but ‘Bama is clearly a national title contender again.”
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Steele also had high praise for Georgia, who could give Clemson a run for their money.
“Clemson’s biggest game is the opening game of the season: Georgia,” Steele said. “And Georgia is a potential roadblock to both Alabama and Clemson … Georgia’s a very good team. And they get Clemson in the opener, where they’re about a 3.5-4-point underdog right now. I think Georgia has a great chance of even upsetting Clemson in the opener.”
“I think Georgia is a team that can make it and watch Texas A&M,” he continued. “Jimbo Fisher’s been doing a great job recruiting there. Almost as good a job as (Nick) Saban’s been doing at Alabama.”
As for dark horses in this race, Wisconsin is one of the teams Steele especially likes as a longshot.
“We’ve got a pretty good track record with our surprise teams,” Steele said, defining a surprise team as a non-Top 10 team that he thinks can make the playoffs. “My No. 2 team is Wisconsin. Wisconsin was just 4-3 last year, but they’ve got the big veteran offensive line coming back. This year they’ve got four VHTs, very highly-touted running backs … I think Graham Mertz will be one of the best quarterbacks in the country this year … Wisconsin has a path to run the table this year and be undefeated.”
“If you’re looking for a longshot,” he said. “Wisconsin could be that team.”
Along with Wisconsin, Steele also said he likes Washington. He sees their offensive line and schedule this season as advantages for them.
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