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Florida State Seminoles vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Point Spread - Pick

Florida State Seminoles (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: Saturday, September 2, 2017 at 8PM EST
Where: Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: ABC

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: FSU +7/ALA -7
Over/Under Total: 49.5

The Florida State Seminoles take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in a high-stakes week one battle in Atlanta on Saturday. You have the top-ranked team in the nation in the Crimson Tide against the third-ranked 'Noles, making this one of the more important week one games in recent memory. The Tide was so close to a 15-0 season last season, with Clemson stealing the championship win late to spoil their CFP championship hopes. A big win against another ACC power to open the season and confirm their top placement would be a good way to put that further in the rearview. But this is a golden opportunity for a FSU program that looks to again make a national splash in 2017.

Jimbo Fisher is 47-7 as head coach of Florida St. over the last 4 seasons. Last year got off to a rough 5-3 start, before the Seminoles righted the ship and finished the season by hammering Michigan in a bowl game. There are causes for hope on both sides of the ball and FSU is obviously highly-regarded as they enter the season ranked third.

Florida State has big plans in 2017 for sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois, who many are projecting to significantly upgrade his play and perhaps become the most dangerous QB in at least the ACC. He lost a big weapon out of the backfield with Dalvin Cook now in the NFL, but Jacques Patrick is a big and promising back with a lot of upside. Cam Akers also shined at points in his freshman season and should produce, as well.

Departures and suspensions may have compromised the FSU receiving corps and Nyqwan Murray and Auden Tate will be heavily relied upon to give Francois the production he needs. Making it all seem dicey is an offensive line that has a lot of questions other than Landon Dickerson at left guard. On one hand, you figure coach Fisher has some beef ready to plug up-front, but we won't know how good this unit can be until we see them in action.

A big part of the optimism being shown toward FSU's 2017 prospects is a defense that returns nine starters and returns a stud safety in Derwin James from injury. James should boost a secondary that also features a top cover corner in Tavarus McFadden. The second level looks strong with 2016 returning top team tackler Matthew Thomas (questionable). The line has some voids to fill, namely with the departure of run-stopping DT DeMarcus Walker, but hope is abundant with Brian Burns, Jacob Pugh, Josh Sweat, Derrick Nnadi, and Marvin Wilson. A good group should form out of those pieces. If the 'Noles wants to shine in 2017, this is a big part of the equation.

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Just as it is right to defer to the unknown in the positive with FSU, the same sentiment should be applied to an Alabama team that lost a lot of manpower from last season's team. That's especially true on defense, where linebacker was ravaged by the departures of Rueben Foster and Tim Williams. Can guys like Rashaan Evans, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Anfrenee Jennings, and Christian Miller come close to duplicating the menace of last year's group? Helping out is a deep line and a secondary that returns most of its power up-front, Da'Shawn Hand, Josh Frazier and Da'Ron Payne should be on-point for the defensive line. And the secondary may have lost Marlon Humphrey, but they feature a great safety duo in Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison. Corner should be manned by returning starter Anthony Averett and Travon Diggs, with Tony Brown also in the mix.

On offense, 'Bama sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts returns after shining in his first season as a true freshman. Still only 19, Hurts may have turned the ball over a lot and he melted late against Clemson, but was otherwise a dynamic player who should improve. He was the team's second-leading rusher and the 'Bama ground-game is second to none on paper coming into 2017. Along with Hurts' production, there is also Damien Harris, Bo Scarborough, Joshua Jacobs (questionable), and young Najee Harris. A lot of teams would fel pretty good about their run-game if they could just have one of those guys.

Helping it all come together for the Tide offense is a line that returns three starters in center Bradley Bozeman, along with guards Ross Pierschbacher and Lester Cotton. Matt Womack and Jonah Williams figure to try to fill the voids and though it's hard to doubt Nick Saban's recruiting in this area, we'll see if this line ends up being of championship material. Another potential issue is a receiving corps that is a bit thin on experience behind talented Calvin Ridley. Unless some youngsters can find their way into the rotation like Jerry Jeudy, a lot will fall into the hands of seldom-used seniors Cam Sims (questionable) and Robert Foster. And losing TE OJ Howard doesn't help, either.

And there you have it—two top teams who enter 2017 in a bit of an undefined state, making this pick a difficult one. Generally, Alabama is ready to hit the ground running from the word "go." They have recently started their seasons like this—in neutral site games against tough opponents. More often than not, they've been formidable in those spots. Florida State, however, is a cut above those teams and a 7-point spread here seems a bit excessive. We're taking the underdog Seminoles.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Florida State Seminoles plus 7 points. Bet the Seminoles vs. Crimson Tide game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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