Are we going to see a College Football Playoff preview in Week 1? Join us for a free college football pick in the SEC-ACC battle between Alabama and Florida State.
Are you one of those people who is so anxious for the college football season to get going that you’re already looking forward to the gridiron version of the Final Four? Well, you’re in luck with a potential CFP preview right out of the gate in Week 1 when the Florida State Seminoles collide with the Alabama Crimson Tide at Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
It’s a prime-time affair Sept. 2 with ABC having the luxury of beaming the 8 PM (ET) broadcast into living rooms and sports bars. BetOnline has the Crimson Tide an even touchdown favorite, though some sportsbooks have already pushed it up to -7½.
A preseason poll conducted by The Sporting News has Alabama No. 1 with Florida State three spots lower, which would make this a semifinal matchup if those rankings held up. They’ve met four times, three of the games taking place in the 1960s and '70s when the Tide won twice and another ended in a 37-37 knot. The most recent clash came in Jacksonville during the 2007 season, the Seminoles posting a 21-14 win as 2½-point favorites on the college football odds though that dubya was later vacated due to NCAA violations.
Could FSU Lose To ‘Bama & Still Reach Playoffs?
Jimbo Fisher has at least 16 reasons for optimism in the upcoming season, that number representing his returning starters from a 10-3 crew that ended with an exciting victory over Michigan in the Orange Bowl. Among those 16 are nine from a defense that ranked 22nd in yardage allowed, plus quarterback Deondre Francois, who passed for more than 3,300 yards and 20 scores as a freshman.
Starting off with Alabama certainly won’t make things easy on the national title front, but the Seminoles could absorb a loss in this one and still make it to the playoff, especially since they are favorites on the NCAA football futures odds to win the ACC. It won’t be easy, but FSU does have its next three games at home, one of them the conference opener against rival Miami, plus a Week 8 date in Tallahassee against Louisville, one of three teams to beat the ‘Noles last year. Looming at the end, however, are road trips to meet Clemson and Florida.
Can Hurts Build On Super Frosh Showing?
Yes, the Crimson Tide only have about half of their starters back from the team that reached the National Championship Game last year, but that shouldn’t be a problem for Nick Saban with the recruiting classes he brings in year after year. Jalen Hurts is back after an outstanding campaign as a true freshman to lead an offense that also returns tailback Damien Harris and wide receiver Calvin Ridley. It’s a mystery behind Hurts on the QB depth chart, so the offensive line has to protect him.
The defense should be fine despite losing the likes of Jonathan Allen as an experienced secondary becomes the unit’s strength. The schedule in the SEC West is always tough, but the Tide do get LSU at home on the first Saturday of November.
Though it’s a different stadium, Alabama has made itself right at home in Atlanta with nine consecutive wins in the Big Peach. I’m not one to bet against that kind of streak and will lay the touchdown for my free college football pick.
NCAAF Free Pick: Alabama -7
Article by Willie Bee