Phil Steele explains who he likes to appear in the CFP playoff this year and why.
Phil Steele’s 2019 College Football Preview isn’t set to his stands for another couple of weeks, but you don’t have to wait to get his take on next season’s College Football Playoff.
Steele, who joined me and Lee Shirvanian on “The Opening Kickoff” on WNSP-FM 105.5 on Wednesday, didn’t exactly go out on a limb.
Yes, it will be Clemson and Alabama for the national championship.
“I’m going with Alabama this year,” he said. "When I look at Alabama, I see their defense being stronger than last year with six starters back. They only lost five draft picks this year. That’s light for that side of the ball."
Steele rates Alabama defensive line as the third best in the country and its linebackers the best in the land. He also added more experience in the defensive backfield makes the unit more formidable.
You add that to an offense he calls “one of the most explosive offenses in the country,” and he gives Nick Saban’s group the nod.
“You have to look at 44-16,” Steele said of last year’s loss to Clemson in the CFP title game. "That is going to be a highly motivating factor for Alabama."
Steele’s picks don’t go without a little controversy.
He tabs Michigan and Georgia to round out the top 4.
“When you look at Michigan, they’ve never gotten past Ohio State," he said. “They’ve got five starters back on defense, so it’s going to be your typical nasty Michigan defense.”
Shea Patterson and the offense will be “explosive” and getting Ohio State at home gets Jim Harbaugh in the Final Four, he said.
“I’ve got Michigan favored in all their games,” he said. “I think Michigan can run the table and make the playoffs.”
Meanwhile, the Georgia Bulldogs will crash the party as the SEC second invitee.
"SEC Country is OK with it, but the rest of the country is like, ‘Oh my goodness,’ but I’m picking two SEC teams this year. When you look at Georgia, they are loaded both offensively and defensively. They’re a better team than they were last year. And last year, they gave Alabama everything they wanted in the SEC Championship Game.
“I think you have an undefeated Georgia and an undefeated Alabama battling for the SEC title game. I still think the loser makes the playoffs.”
Steele’s preview will hit stands June 25. You can download the magazine or order a copy at PhilSteele.com.