No. 11 Ole Miss Rebels (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. No. 4 Florida State Seminoles (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: Monday September 5th, 2016. 8:00PM (EST)
Where: Citrus Bowl Orlando, F.L
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MISS +4/FSU -4
Over/Under Total: 57
Once the dust settles on college footballs opening weekend, one final pivotal contest will take place on Labor Day to close out an exciting weekend of football when the no. 11 Ole Miss Rebels collide with the no. 4 Florida State Seminoles inside the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. Both the Rebels and the Seminoles have high expectations for 2016. After two straight years of beating Alabama, Ole Miss looks to put everything together to conquer the SEC. Meanwhile Florida State looks to track down Clemson to reclaim the ACC. The question is who is going to get their season started off right?
Florida State returns the most starters in the ACC and the 2nd most starters in the country with 17 in total. Nearly the entire offense returns along with the majority of the defense that produced great results in 2015 by holding opponents to just 336 yards per game (19th in FBS). One of the monumental developments over the last few weeks has been the injury to senior quarterback Sean Maguire. Maguire broke a bone in his foot which required surgery and will miss around 4 weeks of action. Redshirt freshmen Deondre Francois will take over the reins of the offense while Maguires foot heals. For Francois, it will be his first taste of action at the college level. The good news is that Francois was one of the top quarterbacks in the 2015 class and has dual threat ability which should correspond nicely with the Seminoles premier rushing attack.
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Along with Francois, the Seminoles offense boasts several weapons including Heisman hopeful running back Dalvin Cook who is a centerpiece for Coach Jimbo Fishers offense. Cook had an outstanding 2015 campaign despite the fact he had some lingering injuries over the course of the season. Still by the end of the year, Cook racked up 1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns to lead the ACC. If you consider the fact the entire offensive line is back and the Seminoles have some emerging threats on the outside in wide receivers Travis Rudolph and Jesus Wilson, then this offense has all the ingredients to be very potent. The big thing is this team has to stay healthy and they need to get off to a strong start with Francois especially against the Rebels.
Where the Seminoles will be breaking in a new quarterback, Ole Miss has the luxury of having one of the best veteran quarterbacks in the SEC or perhaps the nation. Senior quarterback Chad Kelly was great last year with 4,402 passing yards totaling 31 touchdowns and 13 picks. Kelly was also 2nd on the team in rushing with 500 yards on the ground and another 10 touchdowns. There is no doubt Kelly is one of the top quarterbacks in college football but there are big holes to fill wide receivers Laquon Treadwell and Cody Core now departed. Both receivers were huge for the Rebels last season and they will definitely need to find some new playmakers if this offense is going to be as successful through the air.
The good news for Rebels fans is that this team does not lack talent. Not only will some solid talent step in at the receiver positions but the same can be said for some holes in the defense. The losses of Robert Nkemdiche (former #1 recruit in FBS) and Channing Ware are obviously not something that is pleasant to think about. However, the Rebels are extremely talented on the defensive side of the football. Marquis Haynes may be on the verge of becoming the next household name but the entire unit is talented at every level. Therefore, they should match-up fairly well against Florida States talented offense which should make for one fine football game.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: First big game of the season with two equally matched teams? I will take the one of the best veteran quarterbacks in the country over an unproven freshman any day of the week. Take the Rebels +4
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