ATLANTA -The national primetime spotlight shines on The Peach, as the newly-unveiled 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium hosts two top 5 teams in a early College Football Playoff preview.
The third-ranked Florida State Seminoles travel to Atlanta to face the top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in an epic neutral site clash. This top 5 matchup marks the first such game since 2011 when 4th ranked LSU defeated 3rd ranked Oregon 40-27. The relatively high powered Seminoles offense that ranked 22nd in total yards per game last season faces the physical Crimson Tide defense that ranked 2nd total yards given up in 2016 (261.8 yards per game).
The atmosphere inside the newly-opened MBS Stadium promises to be electric and the nostalgia will create a championship feel early on. This is a game that could go either way.
The Seminoles may have a tough time running the ball if Alabama’s run defense is equally as impressive as last season’s number one defense (63.9 rushing yards per game allowed). It will be interesting to see what Alabama’s defense will do without Reuben Foster and Marlon Humphrey. Crimson Tide safety Derwin James returns from the devastating knee injury that limited him to two games last season.
Florida State sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois had a quarterback rating of 142.1 last season. He passed for 235 completions, 3,350 yards, 20 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Alabama sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurt passed for 2,780 yards, 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
This is a hard-nosed test for both teams that has early playoff implications since one of them could make the four team postseason. The Seminoles have the golden opportunity to rise in the rankings above the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes with the upset. Alabama will try to maintain its championship image of invincibility.
Prediction: Alabama and Florida State will play solid defense in the first half. Most of the points for both teams will come in the 4th quarter.
While the game is in Atlanta, expect a pre-dominantly Alabama crowd to play a role in the Crimson Tide victory by bringing the noise level up in the critical late game stages. Alabama 27 Florida State 21