College football is unique in the sports world, in that most major sports do not tell anyone where a player or team was ranked at the end of a season. The NFL, for example, doesn't release rankings of the rest of the teams in their league following the Super Bowl. But these rankings in college football aren't just interesting, they are also previews in a way of which teams are poised to get better from one year to the next. These two teams, in particular, appear poised to take their year-end rankings and improve on them in 2019.
Realistically, any number that isn't number one in the country is a ranking that the Alabama Crimson Tide look poised to improve on from one year to the next. This is a product of being a dynasty for as long as they have been, and having one of the best coaches of all-time in Nick Saban. After last year's disappointing performance in the national championship game against Clemson, the Tide are fully expected to get back to the title game, where one more win would move them up from their year-end ranking of two back to the top spot.
If the Tide are going to get there, they are going to need another strong year from Tua Tagovailoa. Alabama's quarterback will be in his second year in charge of the offense and has already been given his notes on where he can improve in the season to come. If those improvements get made, it could be a long season for the rest of the SEC and college football as a whole.
Thanks to the budding rivalry between Clemson and Alabama, there is no clear favorite to win the College Football Playoff. Whether or not Alabama can change that remains to be seen, but they certainly have a chance to get back on top of the mountain this season.
The UCF Knights finished last season just outside of the top-10 in the final polls of the season after dropping their New Year's Six bowl game to the LSU Tigers. This season, they head into the year with the latest American football odds at bet365 putting them at +5000 odds to win the title. And while they likely won't find themselves in the College Football Playoff, the team is giving itself every chance to get there with a stronger non-conference schedule.
After a season opener against Florida A&M, UCF heads to Florida Atlantic for what should be a tricky road game against the Lane Kiffin coached Owls. They then host Stanford of the Pac-12 before traveling to Pitt for the return leg of a home and home series that started with a blowout win for the Knights last year. If they can run the table in those games and continue to not lose in American conference play, the Knights could find themselves in the top-10 at the end of the year, as long as they get their quarterback situation figured out once and for all.