Week 1 of college football comes to a conclusion tonight on ESPN, featuring a couple of highly ranked teams taking center stage. To an extent, it feels like people have forgotten about the Florida State Seminoles after Jameis Winston left for the NFL. The last time we saw the Seminoles, they were getting upset against the Houston Cougars last winter in their bowl game. It’s hard to say losing to Houston is an upset at this juncture, though. The Cougars last two wins have come against FSU and Oklahoma, not too shabby.
They appear ready to make the jump to the BIG 12 sooner rather than later. The only road stop are coaches in the conference who would not want a team like Houston to join the fold. The Cougars are eating up the recruiting trail in Houston, and the other schools are definitely scared they branch out and take over the state.
The ‘Noles found out how good they can be. Now, they look to start fresh with probably the best they’ve had since Winston was on campus. The running game is going to pose major headaches for defenses this season. Dalvin Cook enters as the best running back in college football, and you’re going to find out really quickly why he is being raved about. If they get an ounce of production at quarterback, like they did when Winston was here, they will be well on their way to the college football playoff. With a lot of top teams getting upset or struggling, FSU can send a message, similar to what Alabama did to USC on Saturday night.
Ole Miss will have the benefit of getting their quarterback, Chad Kelly, back for another year. In the SEC, a conference that lacks prolific quarterback play, Kelly is one of the best around. He is a thrower and a runner, Kelly can do both, with excellent scrambling abilities when a play breaks down around him in the pocket. The Rebels are going to be operating with a brand new offensive line this season, they’ve had to replace all five lineman on offense. Ole Miss would prefer that he doesn’t have to scramble for his like too much this season, but against Florida State it may be necessary.
FSU will bring one of the top defenses in college football to the mix this season. A solid ground game and superior defense holds a lot of the answers to success. If they find their air game, it’s going to cause a lot of uneasiness for defenses this season. After a horrendous start to college football for myself personally, I look to wrap this week up with a win.
Ole Miss Rebels vs. Florida State Seminoles NCAAF Betting Odds:
Ole Miss +5(-110)
vs. Florida State -5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Ole Miss vs. Florida State Pick:
For Ole Miss to pull the upset tonight, they’ll need their offensive line to come together really fast. There sophomores are going to be on the line, along with a converted right guard at left tackle. The entire offensive line hasn’t seen a defensive line of this calibre. Kelly would have liked coming in with an experienced line to protect him, but it’s going to be a nice test for them out of the gates in Week 1.
Ole Miss had a rock in Laremy Tunsil at left tackle, but his production will have to be replaced. Another big loss for them will be Robert Nkemdiche on the defensive line. He would have helped greatly in their attempt to slow Cook down. In the backend, Ole Miss will feature a freshman in the secondary and a sophomore. Don’t forget about the loss of Laquan Treadwell at wide receiver. All of these losses were NFL talent.
Cook put up 1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground in 2015. He was the catalyst of their game plan. In 2016 he will be the focal point of their attack again. Ole Miss will stack the box and dare the freshman quarterback, Deondre Francois, to beat them. Florida State have raved about his ability on the football field, and his leadership skills in his first year on campus. Francis is a dual-threat quarterback who was ranked the number 1 in the country. I see him blossoming into a major player for the Seminoles, but is he going to do handle the reigns well tonight? His dual-threat ability, combined with Cook in the backfield is going to be a load to defend.
Nkemdiche is going to be dearly missed. Conversely, Florida State has a bunch of talent along their defensive line, which should prove to be too much for the young Ole Miss line to handle. Something along the lines of a 31-21 final score in favor of Florida State looks good.
PICK: FLORIDA STATE -5 (-110)