Fresno State Bulldogs (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday September 9th, 2017. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: FRES +42.5/ALA -42.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
If there were any doubters to who deserved the number 1 ranking in college football, Alabama silenced critics on Saturday night with an abusive 24-7 victory over no. 3 Florida State. It was not even the best of performances by the Crimson Tide but their extreme talent exuberated in every facet of the game. The Crimson Tide defense consistently roughed up Deondre Francois until he was knocked out of the game with an unfortunate season ending knee injury, the special teams were special blocking a punt that really changed the game, and the offense made some plays in an all-around impressive victory.
Of course the impressive victory was least surprising to me. I picked the Crimson Tide to win the National Championship and I warned everyone they would be too much for Florida State in my preview last week. I told everyone that this team has the potential to be even better than they were last year and I still believe that is the case granted it is just week 2 approaching. Still, Alabama showed immense talent on both sides of the football. The defense was extremely fast and I was impressed by the amount of blitzes that Alabama called to keep pressure on Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois. If Alabama dials up that many blitzes this year, they are going to be terrorizing on defense.
With that being said, there is still a way to challenge this potent Alabama team. I am not going to go into detail surrounding the teams that could potentially give them trouble in matchups. For this week, I will just say that it is not going to be Fresno State. The Bulldogs will enter Tuscaloosa as enormous 42.5 point underdogs despite winning their opener in blowout fashion by the score of 66-0 over Incarnate. Now if you are asking who is Incarnate? Just now that they just moved up to the Division 1 level in 2013 and the entire program is relatively new. Therefore, I am not sure we can judge Fresno State off of last weeks performance other than the fact it was a pure cake walk where they racked up 613 yards of total offense.
Therefore this weeks game against Alabama will be the first true test of the Jeff Tedford era. Tedford was previously the Head Coach at Cal from 2002-2012 if that name sounds familiar. However, Tedford inherited a team that lacks a lot of talent and lets not forget the Bulldogs had their worse season in school history last year with a 1-11 record. Quarterback Chason Virgil has some experience at the FBS level but he has not been great. Even in last weeks blowout victory, Virgil completed just 16 of 29 passing for 246 yards and a touchdown. Backup Marcus McMaryion actually looked a touch better in relief efforts. It is important that Fresno State get the right guy under center because the strength of their team is in the receiving corps. KeeSean Johnson, Jamie Jordan, and DaMari Scott are all capable receivers. The Bulldogs with the help of Coach Tedford just have to find a way to effectively get those guys the ball.
Unfortunately for Fresno State, I think they will have their hands full against this Alabama defense this week. As stated before, Alabama showed great speed and strength on defense last week in effort to get to the quarterback. I could see that same formula derailing Fresno States offense. Lets face it, you are not going to score many points on Alabama unless you can protect the quarterback and throw the football down the field. They are too strong within the trenches to run over so you have to take advantages of matchups on the outside which are not that advantageous to begin with. Therefore, this is probably going to be a long afternoon for the Bulldogs.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The question with this large spread is how long will Alabama keep their foot on the gas? I am sure we will see a couple big plays in the passing game as WR Calvin Ridley will likely be unbeatable. Additionally, Alabama can take control of the ground game with the offensive line and talented tailbacks in Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. Still, this is a big number to cover even for Alabama and I think it will be close either way. Consider a small play on Alabama -42.5
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