The Florida State Seminoles will play the Alabama Crimson Tide at a neutral site tonight, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is home to the Atlanta Falcons. Kickoff for this matchup that features the top-ranked team in the ACC, Florida State, versus the number one team in the nation, Alabama, is at 8 p.m. E.T. The Tide is 5-0 in five straight neutral field kickoff game and has won each of those by at least 25 points. Our Florida State plays Alabama 2017 college football pick has the Crimson Tide favored by 7.5 and the over/under at 50 points.
Florida State Offense vs. Crimson Tide Defense
Last season, his freshman year, Deondre Francois tossed 20 TD passes and rushed for five more scores while offering up seven picks. He had a solid season, and we expect him to have a better one this year. The Seminoles O-line has had to be rebuilt. For this team to win consistently, that unit must show improvement. Major challenges include replacing the team’s two most productive receivers and their primary running back Dalvin Cook who ran for more than 1,700 yards and scored 19 rushing TDs. Expect Nyqwan Murray and Auden Tate to occupy the primary receiver spots, while freshman Can Akers looks like he has the potential to rip up some major real estate. The offense average 35.1 PPG last season. Can they do that in this game?
Even though the Tide returns just five starters to defense, they are still stacked in this area. They topped the nation in points allowed last season by limiting opponents to 13.0 per game. The team will be without its top three sack artists who together had 24.5 QB bring downs last year. Junior NG Da’Ron Payne is the only returning starter to the D-line while senior ILB Shaun Dion Hamilton is the only starter back for that group. Junior SS Minkah Fitzpatrick, who had six picks, seven passes broken up and four tackles for a loss, will be a major contributor in the secondary. FS Ronnie Harrison can create havoc on the field. Despite losing six starters, the Tide will still have a dominant defense.
Alabama Offense vs. Seminoles Defense
The Alabama offense features sophomore Jalen Hurts at quarterback. In his first college season, Hurts threw 23 TD passes and ran for 13 more scores. His total offensive yardage was 3,817. He threw just nine picks. Hurts knows how to generate points as Alabama led the SEC in that category, averaging 38.8 per game. Alabama has two great running backs, Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris. Junior wideout Calvin Ridley is back after having caught seven touch down passes last season. One major question for Hurts is can he put together more effective scoring drives using the pass? That may be tough, as Alabama lost three of its top four receivers from 2016. The offensive line looks tough, big, and strong.
The Florida State D-line and LB unit are both strong and deep. Plus, they have a top secondary that includes junior corner Tavarus McFadden who took in eight picks while knocking away six passes last season. The Seminoles will miss their top sack artist DeMarcus Walker who had 16 QB tackles. However, Des Brian Burns and Josh Sweat are back after posting 16.5 combined sacks last season. Senior NG Derrick Nnadi, who played LB last season, and STAR Jacob Pugh both offer solid sack skills and able control of opponent rushers.
Our Florida State Plays Alabama 2017 College Football Pick
Our Florida State plays Alabama 2017 college football pick likes the Tide at -7.5 in this one. Also, over 50 points looks like a good call. You have two explosive offenses and one top defense, Alabama, and another defense that is fairly solid. We do expect quite a few points to be scored by both teams early on, and fewer by the Seminoles as they pay into the third quarter.