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Ranking the top five college football teams

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Graphic Courtesy of Ingrid Hua

Graphic Courtesy of Ingrid Hua

Graphic Courtesy of Ingrid Hua

Nikhil Sriram, Lead Sports Editor

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With the 2018-2019 college football season fully underway, some teams have risen to the top, while others have sunk to the bottom. Highlight plays and unexpected wins have defined the first four weeks. But those in control seem to have a tight grip on the reins. So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at the top five teams in college football.

#5: Louisiana State University

Last season, under first-year head coach Ed Orgeron, the Tigers of LSU went 9-4, finishing third in the SEC West. The team has made some obvious improvements, as they have gone undefeated so far. A comeback win effort on Sept. 15 saw the Tigers scoring nine points in the final quarter on 249 yards from junior quarterback Joe Burrow in order to best Auburn 22-21.

While Burrow’s forty-nine percent completion rate and three passing touchdowns on the season is not the best, he has done a great job opening up the run game for running backs Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who have five and four touchdowns respectively. LSU’s defense is solid on the whole, and the Tigers should be serious contenders this year.

#4: Clemson

Despite a victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2016-2017 season, the Clemson Tigers failed to achieve the two-peat, as they lost to Alabama in the semifinal last year. Clemson has had a solid start to the season, but they just barely held on against Texas A&M, winning 28-26.

The team has had a few position shake ups, as head coach Dabo Swinney just announced that freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence would replace senior Kelly Bryant at the starting spot. In the Tigers’ most recent outing against Georgia Tech, Lawrence was fantastic, connecting for four touchdowns in a 49-21 victory. In addition, running back Travis Etienne and wide receivers Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers should help lead the Tigers to a very successful season.

#3: Ohio State

Although the Buckeyes may not have made it all the way to the College Football Playoff last year, they still had an impressive season, going 12-2, securing the Big Ten championship over Wisconsin and the Cotton Bowl championship over USC. They have begun the 2018 season undefeated, despite head coach Urban Meyer being suspended.

The Buckeyes have been dominant in every single game so far, but they will face a tough competitor in the Penn State Nittany Lions, who are ranked ninth in the nation, this Saturday, Sept. 29. Ohio State’s sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins leads the offense and has multiple options in running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber as well as receivers Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill. The Ohio State Buckeyes should be expected to go very far this year, possibly even ending with a trip to the College Football Playoff.

#2: Georgia

The Bulldogs suffered a heartbreaking end to the season last year, losing to Alabama in the National Championship. However, they are once again on the prowl and are looking to redeem themselves this year. Georgia has already gotten off to a fantastic start, dominating in every game they have played so far and currently leading the SEC East.

Sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm has shown some signs of improvement and leads a multi-tiered and complex offense. Junior running back Elijah Holyfield is averaging a solid 8.1 yards on 36 carries so far this season. Their defense, anchored by linebacker D’Andre Walker and defensive back J.R. Reed, appears very strong yet again. The Georgia Bulldogs have all the pieces necessary to go very far this year, and it is likely they will be playing well into the end of the season.

#1: Alabama

Could any other team be expected to top this list besides the Crimson Tide? Over the course of their first four matchups, the reigning champions’ average margin of victory is 41 due to the team boasting an extremely talented roster on both sides of the ball. While their initial games have been blowouts, their first real contest comes on Nov. 3 when they take on the aforementioned LSU Tigers.

Breakout quarterback Tua Tagovailoa commands the offense and has multiple options with running backs Damien and Najee Harris and wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and DeVonta Smith. The defense composed of linebackers Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses and defensive linemen Raekwon Davis and Isaiah Buggs has already recorded 16 sacks resulting in 70 yards lost for their opponents. Ultimately, Nick Saban’s squad looks poised for another trip to the College Football Playoff and possibly another championship.

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Ranking the top five college football teams