In one of the greatest kickoff games of all-time, preseason favorite Alabama Crimson Tide takes on No.3 Florida State Seminoles for the first game of the season. It is also the first college football game in Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium (8pm ET Saturday on ABC). This will feel like a championship finale than a season opener.
For the most part, last season was a pretty straightforward season for the Crimson Tide. They opened the year with a definitive victory over USC, before picking up victories over top-20 opponents, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn and Florida to end the regular season. Alabama finished the season undefeated en route to a trip to the New Year’s Eve Peach Bowl, where they took on and soundly defeated the No. 4 ranked Washington Huskies. This win ensured that for the second time in a row the Crimson Tide would be taking on the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Unlike the prior year’s result, it wasn’t Alabama that raised the glass football at the end of the season, a result that the Tide would very much like to forget. Having exchanged the lead back and forth, Alabama took control of the game with just over two minutes left on a Jalen Hurts rushing touchdown and seemed destined to win back-to-back championships. However with just one second left, Deshaun Watson won the game for the Tigers on a play that was much easier than it should have been.
That was the lasting memory for Alabama as they will look to get back to their winning ways this Saturday against Florida State, a team which has just as high expectations this year.
Florida State also opened their season with a strong victory, defeating No. 11 Ole Miss, before going .500 over their next four games. The Seminoles got back to their winning ways with a victory over top-10 ranked Miami before keeping it close in a loss against the eventual national champions, Clemson. FSU ended their year by defeating Florida in the regular season and then Michigan in the Orange Bowl.
The Seminoles will look to build from that victory on Saturday and while it won’t be an easy task, Florida State brings the reigning ACC Rookie of the Year to the field in quarterback, Deondre Francois. The young and talented QB offers a diverse skill set as a dual threat both in the running and passing game. His biggest problem, as is Florida State’s, is their offensive line. The front four will have a tough task on their hands against Alabama’s explosive defense.
Following last season’s unfortunate ending, Alabama’s focus was to become more explosive in its passing game. Rookie Jalen Hurts is a weapon all on his own and proved himself ready for the big moments, with 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns. Hurts has raw talent but the biggest question mark with him is in the long passing game. Hurts showed off his ability to run the ball but from a pure passing standpoint, he did struggle on occasion to get the ball down in the field in a way that Alabama would have wanted. A critical factor to Alabama’s offense has been its running game and the Crimson Tide has one of college’s best pure rushers in the form of Heisman watch hopeful Bo Scarbrough.
Scarbrough dazzled for Alabama in the playoffs last year, totaling four touchdowns and almost 300 yards in the two games. Scarbrough is one of the most talented, explosive runningbacks in the game and is the reason why Alabama’s dual threat offense has been so lethal.
Florida State will have the unenviable task of trying to stop these weapons at their best but at the same time, it’s not exactly going to be a walk in the park for Alabama to stop the Seminoles. Florida State has one of the most solid offenses in college football and now that Francois has a year of experience under his belt, that squad will look that much stronger and that much more dangerous. Alabama’s defense will certainly have its hands full.
Our Preview’s Alabama Crimson Tide vs Florida State Seminoles Picks & Betting Predictions
Entering the game Alabama finds itself as favorites with the USA online betting websites by a pretty decent margin of seven and a half points.
- With both of these teams more than stacked with talent, it’s likely this will be less than a one touchdown game so take Florida State +7.5pts @ -115 betting odds with Bovada. You can get +7pts @ -110 with MyBookie, but we prefer the security of the extra half point on our side.
- As for the total, generally set at 49.5 points, this game should be a typical smash mouth SEC style contest, even though it’s SEC vs ACC. Alabama is an offensive juggernaut and when clicking on all cylinders they are hard to stop. The same goes for Florida State, which has a very strong offense of their own and might even have more weapons than the Crimson Tide. Take over 49.5 points @ -110 only with with 5Dimes, Bookmaker or MyBookie.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.