Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida State Seminoles Point Spread – Pick ATS 9/2/2017

No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: Saturday September 2nd, 2017. 8:00PM (EST)
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, G.A.
TV: ABC
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: ALA -7/FSU +7
Over/Under Total: TBA

So you want to start off the college football season with a bang? Lets put the #1 ranked team in college football via the Nick Saban dynasty with the Alabama Crimson Tide up against the no. 3 ranked Florida State Seminoles in the opening game of the year in a classic ACC vs. SEC matchup at primetime on ABC and just to spice it up lets set the location to the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA as an epic battling ground. Sound good? Well thats what college football fans will get this Saturday when two of the top programs in college football collide in an opening week blockbuster between two of the biggest fan bases in the south. Ah yes, college football is back in a big way!

If you do not understand the importance of this game, then let me paint the picture. Alabama was one play away from claiming back to back National Championships last year but a late Deshaun Watson touchdown to Hunter Renfrow derailed that plan. However, Alabama returns one of the most talented groups in the country led by quarterback Jalen Hurts, a stable of running backs in Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough, and overwhelming talent in nearly every facet of the game. In nearly every stretch of the imagination, Alabama should be better than they were a year ago when they swept through the season undefeated in route to their 5th National Championship appearance in the last 8 years.

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On the other side of the field, the expectations coming out of Tallahassee are perhaps the highest they have been since the Seminoles 2013 championship run. The Noles are loaded with talent and perhaps have the talent in the trenches to pick up where Clemson left off last year by dethroning Alabama from the pinnacle of college football. The stakes are extremely high. Win and take clear control as the no. 1 team in America with an inside track back to the playoffs barring any unforeseen collapses. I know the SEC is tough and Florida State has to deal with Clemson. However, this is still the stakes as of week 1. A loss would derail any of those hopes and expectations would take a backseat until proven otherwise.

The reason this game may live up to the hype is because both teams matchup fairly well against each other. Florida State has the size in the trenches to make stands and they have perhaps the best defensive secondary in the country. Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts struggled at times last year throwing the football especially in high pressured games against talented defenses. Look back at LSU and the Iron Bowl for late season references. We expect Hurts to be improved somewhat this year but how much? Also, if the Seminoles defense can stand strong against the run to force Hurts into obvious passing situations it would be ideal for Florida States chances to win. Lose the battle in the trenches against Alabama and that opens up the door for the rest of the offense which could lead to another big Alabama opening win echoing the results of the 52-6 win over USC last year, 35-17 over Wisconsin before that, and notable wins over West Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Michigan in recent years in opening games.

For Florida State, my biggest question on the other side of the ball is can Deondre Francois lead this team to victory? Dalvin Cook is no longer the homerun threat out of the backfield and Alabama has been one of the best teams against the run in recent years. More importantly Alabama forced more turnovers and scored more non-offensive touchdowns than any team in the FBS last year. Therefore, Florida State cannot afford to make mistakes and that is my fear. In big games last year, Francois struggled completing 38% in the blowout loss to Louisville, 48.6% in the loss to Clemson, and even 50% in the win against in-state rival Florida. If you read my Heisman Trophy predictions piece, then you already know that I do not have the biggest faith in Francois so he will need to have a huge game to make this upset possible.

Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think Florida State is over hyped and I have said that for weeks now. They get Alabama out of the gates in a game they will have to play perfectly to win. I just do not see it happening. Take Alabama -7

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