As the college football season nears, fans bases across the country can feel the growing excitement for what their team will do in the 2019 season. Of course, not every fan base will be happy when the final whistle blows.
While the 2019 season will provide some breakout teams to enjoy, there will also be many fans left disappointed. The offseason is the fuel to the fire for hype and it isn’t until the season hits when the crushing wave of reality hits and leaves disaster in its wake.
Here are 10 college football programs that could leave their fans disappointed in the 2019 season.
Every year is supposed to be “the one” for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines. They had everything in place during the 2018 season then were utterly destroyed by Ohio State. Michigan lost significant talent on defense this offseason and that could spell trouble early against Army’s triple-option attack.
Even if the Wolverines get past Army then stop Jonathan Taylor and the Wisconsin Badgers, they still have Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State on the schedule. A suspect defense with an untested running game, along with the shaky duo of Shea Patterson and Harbaugh in big games, is a combo that could lead to massive disappointment.
Chip Kelly will one day return the Bruins to prominence. Unfortunately for the fans, 2019 could be another tough year for UCLA given its schedule and early stages of a program in transition.
Matchups against Oklahoma, Stanford and Utah are already likely losses for the program. Road trips to USC, Arizona and Washington State make six losses very realistic for the Bruins. Kelly will build this program in the years to come but there are far too many questions to see even seven wins from UCLA.
Taylor will make the Badgers entertaining as a Heisman Trophy contender, but he might not be enough to save the Badgers. Wisconsin’s schedule will be difficult this year and that means even more trouble in a conference on the rise.
A team with aspirations for a conference title and potentially even higher can’t afford losses to big programs. Matchups against Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State could provide just that, though. Toss-up games against Nebraska, Purdue and Northwestern present an uncomfortable potential for a six-loss season and a lot of drinking in Wisconsin.
Central Florida Knights
UCF still represents the Cinderella hopeful for many fans across college football. Unfortunately there might be an even uglier ending this year.
Star quarterback McKenzie Milton will be sidelined for the year and backup Darriel Mack Jr. is now sidelined indefinitely with a broken ankle. Immense pressure will be on Brandon Wimbush to thrive, and an early loss to Stanford will wipe out hope for more national attention.
This offense won’t be as enjoyable without Milton, and once the allure disappears nationally, the rest of UCF’s season will fade into the darkness.
LSU will enter August as a consensus top-seven team in the country. The defense is loaded, and the offense should be better than last year. Now it all comes down to the big games.
It gets started early on the road with a battle in Texas against the Longhorns. Even if the Tigers squeeze out a win against Texas, they still have to face Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Mississippi State and Texas A&M.
LSU can afford one loss this season and still contend for a spot in the College Football Playoff. This offense just isn’t quite good enough to win all six of those games and it will prove fatal for LSU’s high hopes.
This is Oregon’s final shot at making a big run before the team undergoes major changes. The hopes of every fan rides on Justin Herbert’s shoulder and how far he can carry this team.
Herbert’s first test comes right out of the gate against Auburn, and a win will push them into the top-10 nationally. Given Herbert’s lack of consistency, expecting him to beat Auburn, Stanford, Washington and USC is too much.
Oregon will be a good team with an explosive offense in 2019. Herbert just won’t do quite enough to win the big games and make this team a contender.
Penn State Nittany Lions
The Nittany Lions are once again in the national conversation after losing their top quarterback and running back. A committee backfield, developing receiving corps and a quarterback with seven career attempts is not usually a recipe for success.
James Franklin is a good coach, and that will help this young team start the year hot thanks to a soft schedule. Just as Penn State starts climbing the rankings though, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State will bring it crashing down.
Gus Malzahn is on the hot seat once again and he probably picked a bad year to have his job on the line. Even beyond Auburn’s rough schedule, questions at quarterback and along the offensive line pose glaring issues in the SEC.
Auburn’s frustratingly inconsistent offensive line will be asked to protect an inexperienced quarterback and potentially a true freshman if Bo Nix is named the starter. If the protection doesn’t improve from last season, it will be a long season for the Tigers as Texas A&M, Florida, Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Mississippi State hand Auburn’s boosters the final reasons to fire Malzahn and end the team’s repeated inability to live up to its own hype.
The Cardinal feel like a team that will be just good enough to keep their fans happy while constantly falling short of allowing them to be excited. Quarterback KJ Costello will be working with an offensive line that is 80 percent new and a receiving corps that is vastly different from the year before.
It is the makings of a top-40 team this year, especially given Stanford’s poor history against quality competition. David Shaw will help his young players grow and Costello’s talent will help this team be bowl eligible, but they will lose the big games and fade into middle of the conference.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State’s fans must have loved this list until they reached the bottom. While Ohio State is a better team than Michigan, the risk with this team can’t be forgotten.
A first-year head coach and a quarterback with 39 pass attempts on his resume is a volatile combo. A great coach-quarterback pairing can take at least a full year to really click, and while that’s promising for this team’s potential in 2020, it also means we could see a few learning experiences this year.
Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma give the Buckeyes very little margin for error. One mistake can end Ohio State’s championship hopes and that puts a lot of pressure on a young coach and quarterback. Fans should be overjoyed for this program’s future, but they also must understand the team might stumble in 2019.