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Sep
01
2017

FSU Opponent Preview: Alabama

Jalen Hurts takes on the Clemson Tigers in the 2016 National Championship Game

Week One of the 2017 College Football season is nearly here. Before long, the College Gameday crew will make their predictions in the shadow of the new Atlanta Mercedes-Benz stadium. Lee Corso has already made his prediction: FSU over Alabama. Brave words from a brave man, and who could blame him? It’s a fresh slate for every team in the FBS, and everyone is on equal footing in terms of Playoff contention*. Corso, a former Seminole, naturally might feel inclined to predict an upset over Alabama. I’m would like to agree with Corso, however, it would be foolish to make any projection without first knowing your opponent.

With that: Alabama

Returning Starters: 13

Offense: 7

Defense: 6

Key Players: Jalen Hurts (QB), Calvin Ridley (WR), Bo Scarbrough (RB)

Key to Victory over Alabama: Make Jalen Hurts one-dimensional: Jalen is a talented QB who can make defenses pay with his legs. When defenses apply pressure to Jalen’s run game, however, the pass game falters. Let’s take a look at that Clemson game: Clemson held Jalen to 13 completions on 31 attempts for 131 passing yards and one touchdown, resulting in a 41.9% completion rating. Simultaneously, Clemson negated his impact as a passer as a result of stifling his run game: 10 attempts for 63 yards, averaging 6.3 yards per carry and one touchdown. Jalen is dangerous, but prone to error if he’s contained. With FSU’s elite secondary unit, it’ll be up to their D-line to stuff the run game. No easy task with Scarborough in toe, however very do-able. Given the veteran roster that FSU brings to the table (9 returning starters on defense, 7 on offense), despite the talent that Alabama fosters, a lack of experience could be key to a Seminole victory.

I believe that FSU can overcome a talented Alabama Crimson Tide, however I do hesitate with outright predicting an upset: Alabama’s Nick Saban is 10-0 versus former Assistants, often labeled Saban Disciples. He’s also 8-2 against the spread when facing former assistants. However, Jimbo and the Seminoles are unlike any squad Saban has faced in a season opener, Jimbo himself going 7-0 in Season opening games. The Seminoles are one of a few teams in the entire nation that recruits at the caliber as Alabama, and with a stacked roster, Jimbo has the horses to compete and defeat his former teacher. On a neutral-site field, anything is possible. While Atlanta is in the heart of SEC country, it is well known that Atlanta also has the largest FSU alumni population in the entire country. While I expect more Alabama fans to be in attendance that Seminole fans, the circumstances of the game lead me to believe that the margins will be slim, meaning crowd attendance will make as much an impact on Alabama as it would the Seminoles.

As someone who has faced much upset from the Seminoles in recent seasons, I don’t hold onto expectations of the Seminoles humiliating the Crimson Tide. I believe this will be a close-game, an ugly performance, and a defensive battle. I do predict the Crimson Tide to win this game, however FSU will overcome the Vegas odds and keep this game close.

I predict a 31-28 Alabama victory. However, FSU has every tool at their disposal to defeat the Crimson Tide. This is one game I won’t miss, and wouldn’t be shocked to see FSU pull the upset.

FSU pulls the upset, and I will project them to win every game the remainder of the season (and still provide the Opponent previews). Barring injury, both prospects are very realistic expectations for the 2017 rendition of the Florida State Seminoles.

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