College Football Playoff

College Football Games to Watch (Week 1): Alabama vs. Florida State

Victoria Barnett

By Victoria Barnett

August 22, 2017

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College football has (almost) returned! And we can’t stop talking about the incredible games to watch this season. With that being said, each week during the season, we are going to reveal the game(s) you don’t want to miss and our predictions for who will emerge with a win.

Next week, we’ll be watching the biggest matchup of the year between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State. There is no doubt this is the game to watch in Week 1.

Florida State vs. Alabama (Sept 2)

Talk about the biggest opening weekend in college football history! The matchup between Florida State and Alabama has been highly-anticipated since it was first announced – and for good reason. We love an ACC vs. SEC matchup, especially between two of the top teams in the nation. With tremendous talent on both sides, this game is going to be one for the books. Plus, what better place to host the game than the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta?

Watch the new hype video below:

Offense

Offensively, the two teams stack up pretty well against each other. Both teams return six starters, including the quarterbacks, but Alabama lost key player ArDarius Stewart and FSU is without Dalvin Cook and Travis Rudolph. When we look at last year, we see that the Seminoles compiled more offensive yards than Alabama and dominated the nation in red zone scoring percentage at 96.5%, which will be a crucial component of next week’s game. On the flipside, Alabama scored more points and had a better turnover margin. The two teams were almost identical when it came down to third-down offense.

This game will certainly reveal the work new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has put in with the Crimson Tide. What will be different? Back in the spring, the first-team looked like a well-oiled machine. But things have slightly changed. It appears Alabama has had a few things to tune up in the recent scrimmages, as the defense is currently ahead of the offense. As Nick Saban mentioned, the offense has experienced a lack of rhythm, stalling and turning the ball over in the red area. Is it a quarterback problem? Saban remains hopeful with Hurts, who continues to grow and develop confidence as a passer. There just seems to be some improvement needed in the efficiency of the unit as a whole – the timing and decision making that involves the entire group.

Florida State has stellar athletes with great speed, size and explosiveness. The biggest concern is the offensive line – after all, the team allowed the fourth-most sacks in the ACC last season. We’ll also be looking to see if quarterback Deondre Francois has improved his accuracy and ability to get rid of the ball more quickly. Then there’s the question of how exactly will the Seminoles perform without their All-American running back? There are so many unknowns! One thing is for sure, it’s Jacques Patrick’s time to shine as he looks to fill the void left by Dalvin Cook.

Defense

Defensively is where things get interesting. Alabama has always been known for having a top-tier defense, but this year, there are some big shoes to fill. The Crimson Tide has good players, but they also lost three significant players: Ryan Anderson, Tim Williams and Jonathan Allen. In a typical game, the current defense can play and play well. But when it comes to game changing moments, do they have what it takes? That’s where the concern lies. But the 2017 defense is not to be underestimated – with its depth, talent, and quickness, the defense could be even better than last year.  

Last year was quite simply a disaster for the Florida State defense, but 2017 could tell a completely different story. The Seminoles have dealt with growing pains, but they have recruited well and have 10 returning starters. Interestingly enough, the defensive line should be the team’s biggest strength this season.

Our Predictions

When we look at history, a top-five matchup has occurred three times, and each time the No. 1 team has won. So, history favors the Crimson Tide in this matchup, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see Florida State shake that up.

We are most excited about seeing the NFL talent on the field. Just think of all the future pro players between both teams. It’s insane. Could this be a “Game of the Century”? Could these teams make a case for the national title? We certainly think so.  

Our Prediction: Alabama

Get to the College Football Playoff National Championship

What does this matchup have in common with the national championship game? They’re two of the best games to watch in 2017-2018 and they’re both held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta! And who knows, we could even see Alabama and Florida State compete for the national title. Don’t miss out and attend the game with College Football Playoff Premium. Get great seats, premium hospitality, hotel accommodations and more. Click below to learn more.

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