Final look at 2019 rankings and a look ahead to 2020 season

Florida coach Dan Mullen, quarterback Kyle Trask and the rest of the Gators hope to keep the offense rolling next season. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Another college football season is behind us, the longest one ever after starting when it was hotter than ghost pepper soup and finishing up almost a full five months later in the coldest indoor stadium press box in America.

Who says we don’t have seasons in the South?

The coronation of LSU was majestic and historical. The Bayou Bengals got in the way of what looked like it was going to be a classic final game rendering the fourth quarter uneventful enough to force those of us who had to stay up to start channel flipping.

As an Associated Press voter, I had to be up at the end of the game to send in my final ballot of the season and here’s what it looked like:

  1. LSU; 2. Clemson; 3. Ohio State; 4. Georgia; 5. Oklahoma.

I thought I was being bold by putting Georgia ahead of Oklahoma, a College Football Playoff team. It turns out I wasn’t as critical of the Sooners as my colleagues. 

Oklahoma dropped out of the top five and was replaced by Oregon in the final poll. LSU’s penchant for blowout wins hurt the Sooners, but not the Bulldogs. 

  1. Florida; 7. Oregon; 8. Alabama; 9. Penn State; 10. Minnesota.

Florida-Oregon or Oregon-Florida. You could have gone either way. Oklahoma at No. 7 was a bit of a surprise.

  1. Notre Dame; 12. Wisconsin; 13. Baylor; 14. Iowa; 15. Memphis.

Auburn finished 14th in the AP poll and Memphis was not in the top 15. Sometimes it’s about your losses more than your wins. Auburn’s losses were to four teams ranked in the top 10 and it had two top-10 wins according to the final AP Poll. 

I get it. 

  1. Appalachian State; 17. Auburn; 18. Cincinnati; 19. Texas A&M; 20. UCF.

I resisted on A&M and UCF in the last month of the regular season and probably gave too much weight to their bowl wins. 

  1. Michigan; 22. Utah; 23. Air Force; 24. Navy; 25; Florida Atlantic.

Maybe I was too harsh on Utah and Boise State, but I wasn’t going to put Texas (No. 25 in the AP) in there with five losses. 

Anyway, that’s a wrap and we already are starting to look at next year and what the preseason poll will look like. 

A lot can change between now and the middle of August, but one thing that is consistent about college football hacks is that we love to start out with rankings before we know for sure what every team will look like when the season begins in September.

Really, it’s just a bookmark for what we think now. And here is what I think now (subject to change):

  1. Clemson; 2. Alabama; 3. Ohio State; 4. LSU; 5. Oklahoma.

Yep, the same cast of characters. Everyone wants to talk about the end of the Alabama dynasty, but I think Nick Saban comes back with a vengeance. LSU is a bit of a mystery at quarterback and Oklahoma will try to do it again with another new quarterback.

  1. Florida; 7. Georgia; 8. Penn State; 9. Notre Dame; 10. Oregon.

This is a big year for Florida with a favorable schedule and a roster that’s easy to like. Dan Mullen talked about the jump from 10 wins to 11 being tougher than the jump from four wins to 10 and he’s right. The jump from 11 to 12 wins is even more difficult.

  1. Oklahoma State; 12. Iowa State; 13. Auburn; 14. Cincinnati; 15. Wisconsin.

Just a gut feeling on the Cowboys with Chuba Hubbard back. Auburn is a team that will be difficult to figure unless Bo Nix takes a massive leap.

  1. Texas A&M; 17. Minnesota; 18. Baylor; 19. Iowa; 20. Michigan.

Two reasons to like A&M this year — the non-conference schedule is soft and the Aggies trade out Georgia for Vanderbilt. 

  1. Texas; 22. Arizona State; 23. Boise State; 24. UCF; 25. Florida State.

Mike Norvell won’t turn around FSU right away, but he’ll get the Seminoles headed in the right direction. Arizona State has a ton coming back. 

There it is … for now. And one final salute to the 2019 season. The 2018 season was not great in terms of the usual great games, but this past season delivered. 

OK, we had one dog semifinal game, but college football was spectacular again this season. The way it is supposed to be.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at



  1. I’ll set aside the fact the Gators fared better vs. LSU than either Clemson or Oklahoma. I’ll even accept the position that all four 2019 CFP participants + UGA should end the season ranked ahead of the Gators.

    What I can’t accept is your way-too-early opinion that Oklahoma, with no known starting QB, should rank ahead of the Trask led Gators for the start of 2020. That makes no sense at all Pat!

  2. Yea, I don’t get your OK logic??? It was early, but UF played LSU far beyond OK’s capabilities. In the end, OK proved they were not competitive with Clemson or the leading SEC teams. The fact they were voted into the CPF, has no technical judgement value. Heck, Baylor had them beat twice and let them get away (IE. more proof OK wasn’t a power). And next year, UF has a proven QB (Pat you labeled him a alikely Pre-season SEC QB) and returning cast and OK is full of questions with no proven QB. Why the OK love? There is no substantive reason to vote OK ahead of UF or Bama? Remember, Big 12/10 is only on par with the ACC (w/o Clemson).

    • It’s not OK love. The point was that 2019 performance (which I didn’t want to argue with Pat about) shouldn’t predict 2020 results when the Sooners are getting weaker, particularly at QB.

      For the record, I believe there are four (maybe even five) teams in the SEC that can beat the 2019 Sooners RIGHT NOW.

  3. “The jump from 11 to 12 wins is even more difficult.” (for Florida).
    But statistically, Florida can go 11-1, lose to say LSU but BEAT UGA, and it’s ATL bound for the Florida Gators in 2020! Go Gators!

  4. Ok, Dooley just proved he doesnt know football at all!! Putting OK above UF when they lost so to LSU compared to UF, THEN, Putting ahead of UF next year when if you watched them play, their offense consisted of their QB running 30 times a game so he WAS their offense. So many games they couldnt move the ball except for the QB run, and next year he is GONE!!! So how in the heck are they supposed to be better???? Clearly Dooley doesnt know how to analyse football!!

      • Nope, didnt miss anything, this isnt the 1st time Ive seen his bloopers and not just UF, its just we are more familiar with our record so its easier to see the errors but Ive questioned his analysis in the past when he made clearly wrong deductions about other teams. Its just easy for Gator fans to take it personal but Ive seen clear evidence that he just cant analyse.

        • That’s where I would disagree now — I’ve seen clear evidence that he is entirely capable of sound analysis, but his inherent drive state to poke Gator fans in the eye gets in the way when Florida is in the equation. Nothing wrong with the man’s brain — one can’t write with such style without being smart — the fault lies in personality.

        • Style?, I dont find anything impressive about the way he writes. Ive read far more interesting prose from the hands of higher skilled wordsmiths! In fact his “style” is quite downhome and common. He follows the crowd in his ballots. I see no personal animus towards the Gators!

  5. I think this article was written before the news broke of LSU’s Brady going to the Pros, but it is going to be tough for them to get a great transfer QB like King without the OC who unlocked Burrow’s potential.

  6. Give me a fornicating break! Oregon-Florida or Florida-Oregon causes no heartburn for Chili McChickenwing? He must have laid off both on Monday night, because that statement is pure, unadulterated bull cookies!

    The Gators lose to the final #1 team and the final #4 team; Oregon loses to 6-7 Washington State and 5-7 Colorado. Yeah, okay, no difference in the quality of the opposition.

    NOT! SMFH…

    Rant over…