This is what everyone has been waiting for and it figures to be a classic. Before we get to the breakdown, one more bet we need to get in..
BET : Grambling +17.5 (@Tulane) | 2 Units
Alright, we have marquee matchups all over the field in this game. Let’s start with when Florida St has the ball. There is no doubt they lost a lot of production from this offense with their all time leading rusher, Dalvin Cook, and three very tough receiving threats in Rudolph, Whitfield and Wilson. However, Jimbo has recruited the talent to fill in and possibly even surpass the production of those fellas. While the big back, Jacques Patrick, would figure to fill in nicely for Dalvin, it’s actually true Freshman, Cam Akers who has been turning heads in the backfield since he arrived on campus. Expect to see some fireworks from Akers tonight both running the ball and catching it coming out of the backfield. The passing game will be very dependent on how this offensive line holds up against the explosive pass rush of Bama. It’s no secret that Francois took an absolute beating last season and I would expect him to take some hits tonight without a doubt. If FSU can get Akers and Patrick going in the running game, however, expect to see this extremely talented receiving corps create some space and throwing lanes for Francois to put up big numbers. Auden Tate, Nyquan Murray, Da’Vante Phillips, George Campbell, and even Ryan Izzo at TE are all extremely talented pass catching options and will provide all kinds of problems for Bama’s secondary. Bama no doubt has the talent in the front 7 and guys like Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison in the secondary to shut teams down but FSU will throw some points on the board tonight.
As for the other side of the ball, let’s see if Hurts has really improved in the downfield passing game like we’ve heard so much coming into the season. Look, there’s extreme talent all over the field for Bama. Start with Scarbrough and Damien Harris in the backfield who could be the biggest and most devastating combination in the nation. The will have plenty of touches tonight behind this big and physical OL. Don’t discount the playmakers at WR for Bama, though, as everyone knows about Calvin Ridley but watch out for Robert Foster, Cam Sims and true FR Jerry Jeudy. FSU loses uber talented pass rusher DeMarcus Walker but good lord they have incredible talent along this DL. Nnadi, Christmas, Brian Burns (10.5 tfl as true), but Josh Sweat is the guy that will particularly give Hurts issues all night long. The LB corps returns everyone and are led by the star Matthew Thomas on the weak side. They also return the entire secondary, including 1st Team AA CB, Tarvaris McFadden and emerging star safety Trey Marshall. This defense, however, gets their true stud back after a tragic injury in the second game of the year LY in Derwin James. This guy is unbelievable and quite possibly the best overall player in college football.
When looking at this matchup for FSU’s defense, particularly the strong running threat out of the QB position, it is something FSU really only saw twice (3 if you include Clemson and Watson) last season. Those two matchups were against Louisville and Lamar Jackson (63-20 loss, 314 rush yds allowed) and USF and Quinton Flowers (55-35 win, 290 rush yds allowed). Needless to say, they struggle against teams with the dual threat QB, losing that third matchup against DeShaun and Clemson. HOWEVER, Derwin James was not on the field for any of those games. He is an absolutely game changer and someone that must be accounted for on every single play. He plays the run and pass game equally well and, in my opinion, will be firmly in the Heisman race after an incredible performance tonight. A pick, forced fumble (one for a TD), and maybe even some snaps on offense will have everyone talking about Derwin James the rest of this Labor Day weekend. I like FSU to make a strong run at Bama tonight and possibly take this game SU, meaning I will definitely be taking the points, with a possible sprinkle on the ML.
BET : Florida St. +7.5 (-115) | 3 Units