Alabama or Clemson will likely run away with the national title in what could be an anticlimactic college football season. But that wouldn't be fun.
You know what would be fun? Sheer chaos.
OK, Alabama and Clemson will probably meet again to determine a national champion. But instead of scripting a season when the top two contenders are the last teams standing and everything in between is bland, let's get weird.
Here are five bold betting predictions for the 2019 college football season:
Oklahoma and Texas are getting all the love from bettors, but we like TCU to win the Big 12 conference this season at juicy 14-1 odds.
Injuries decimated the Horned Frogs last year, but they rallied to win their last three games to finish 7-6 while being down to their third-string quarterback. TCU is being overlooked in the betting market, but the team possesses talent, a quality head coach, and the experience to make a serious run at the Big 12 title.
Gary Patterson is one of the top head coaches in the country, and his teams traditionally bounce back strong after a disappointing season. TCU has finished in the top 10 six times over the last 11 years under Patterson, and three of those successful campaigns came when the Frogs were unranked. That's expected to be the case again this season when the AP top 25 rankings are released on Aug. 19.
The Frogs return 12 starters, but they're even more experienced than the numbers suggest because so many young players got on the field last season. Their schedule is tricky, with road games at Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma. However, with the Big 12's top defense and two experienced quarterbacks, TCU should be right in the mix to win the conference title.
OU and Texas are talented, but both teams must replace key starters from last year's squads. We'll take Patterson to work his magic again, as TCU captures the Big 12 crown and pays off big for bettors.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Clemson's Trevor Lawrence headline the Heisman field as the favorites, and rightfully so. The media drools over gunslingers, and quarterbacks have taken home eight of the last nine Heisman trophies. A receiver has only won the award three times, and not since 1991 when Desmond Howard beat out Florida State QB Casey Weldon.
Is this the year a receiver bucks the trend and takes home the hardware? Maybe. Can we entice you with 80-1 long shot and human joystick Jerry Jeudy?
Quarterbacks are always the favorites, but in Alabama's explosive offense Jeudy will put up crazy numbers, giving him a chance to earn a trip to New York as one of the Heisman finalists.
At 80-1, Jeudy is talented enough to break the quarterback stranglehold on the Heisman if a few things go his way. Roll the dice on the long shot.
Houston is projected to lose to Oklahoma in its opener by roughly four touchdowns. Not so fast.
Houston's first-year head coach and offensive mastermind Dana Holgorsen, who probably needs a cheat sheet to remember the names of his defensive players, defeats Oklahoma on the final possession of the game to win 48-41 in a wild shootout. Oklahoma's national title hopes go up in smoke before the calendar even hits September.
The Cougars, meanwhile, finish with a 12-1 record and appear in a New Year's Six bowl game.
One day we'll love something as much as the media loves Nebraska in 2019.
"ThEy'Re My SlEePeR tEaM tHiS sEaSoN!"
News flash: A team projected to win eight or nine games isn't a sleeper. The Cornhuskers are a sleeper for what, exactly? A meeting with Texas Tech in the Belk Bowl?
We think it's a year too early to jump on the Cornhuskers in the ultra-competitive Big Ten. Nebraska completely flunks out en route to a 6-6 record, and any bettor with an Adrian Martinez 10-1 Heisman ticket will use the back of it for a grocery list by mid-October.
This headline from Bill Connelly in an SB Nation college preview says it all: "Anything from 4-8 to 11-1 is on the table for USC this year. Have fun with that, Clay Helton."
The Trojans are a true 'tweener in 2019. With so much volatility, it's not possible for them to finish with a surprising record, which makes USC a dangerous team for bettors.
However, we predict the Trojans perform well in Week 1, and that result builds momentum for the entire season. Look for the Trojans to surprise and make the College Football Playoff. And if USC goes 0-12, Urban Meyer will ride into Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on a horse in January ready for his introductory press conference, fully equipped with a samurai sword and shield.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.