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playClemson football team gets experience off the field (1:33)All In: The Clemson Football Family goes all access with Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers, sharing their experiences with a service trip to Thailand and summer internships. (1:33)11:54 AM ETMark SchlabachESPN Senior Writer CloseSenior college football writer
Author of seven books on college football
Graduate of the University of GeorgiaThe 2019 college football season is finally here, and I’m guessing it’s going to look an awful lot like the past few.All-too-familiar teams such as Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State and Oklahoma are back on top of the preseason polls, as the sport continues to become more and more top-heavy.In my bold predictions back in January, I told you that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence would win the first of two Heismans in 2019; Alabama would reach the College Football Playoff for the sixth straight season; the Pac-12 would be left out again; and former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer would land the Southern California job in the near future.I have slightly altered my projections for the four teams that will reach the CFP: With the addition of Jalen Hurts at Oklahoma, I now have the Sooners returning to the playoff, alongside Clemson, Alabama and Georgia.Here are the rest of my predictions for the 2019 season:ACCACC champion: Clemson
Offensive player of the year: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Defensive player of the year: Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami
Freshman of the year: Zonovan Knight, RB, NC State
Coach of the year: Manny Diaz, Miami
Coach on the hot seat: Steve Addazio, Boston College
Coordinator on the rise: Tony Elliott, offensive coordinator, Clemson
Nonconference game of the year: Texas A&M at Clemson, Sept. 7
Conference game of the year: Clemson at Syracuse, Sept. 14
Upset of the year: Boston College over Florida State, Nov. 9Three predictions for the ACC1. Clemson goes undefeated again: The Tigers still are head and shoulders above everyone else in the ACC, albeit with a lot more youth in key positions. It won’t matter. No one else is close to toppling the defending national champions. Lawrence will be much better than he was as a freshman, when he threw 30 touchdowns with four interceptions. The Tigers will survive early tests against Texas A&M and Syracuse, before rolling the rest of the way to reach the CFP for the fifth consecutive season.2. Florida State will be the most-improved team in the league: The Seminoles should have been better than they were a year ago, but Willie Taggart didn’t have much of a chance with the locker room and culture he inherited. The addition of offensive coordinator Kendal Briles — and just as importantly offensive line coach Randy Clements — will result in dramatic improvements on offense. If FSU can beat Boise State in Jacksonville, Florida, in its opener, it will have a good chance for a fas
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