It’s that time of year folks: college football is BACK!
I’ll have the pleasure of guiding you all through the most exciting conference in the country, the SEC (otherwise known as the Southeastern Conference or the NFL’s developmental league – okay, that second one is a stretch). There are so many interesting storylines heading into this season: the Heisman campaign of Derrius Guice, Ole Miss’ transition to life without Hugh Freeze, the job security of Kevin Sumlin, and so on. But if you read the title, then you know that I’m putting all of that on hold for the biggest game of the week and – maybe – the entire CFB season.
Alabama vs. Florida State. Nick Saban vs. Jimbo Fisher. Jalen Hurts vs. Deondre Francois.
My counterpart Sean is handling FSU’s keys to victory. I’m here to tell you how Alabama can take this first one on their road to taking back the title that they believe is rightfully theirs.
1. Da’Shawn puts the D in defense: A few years back, there was a legendary recruiting class that had several players drafted to the NFL last year; Leonard Fournette, Jabril Peppers and Myles Garrett are just a few of those players. Another top-flight recruit from that group was Da’Shawn Hand, who has been buried by the Tide’s deep D-line for each of the past three seasons. He finally gets his first real chance to prove what he has in his senior season, which will be a major factor in Alabama getting back to the playoffs.
2. Use the running game to your advantage: Alabama doesn’t have the best running back in the country, but they might have the most depth. Between Bo Scarborough, Damien Harris, Najee Harris and company, Saban’s team has the capability to consistently ram the ball up the gut with their fresh stable of horses. Additionally, Hurts’ mobility is something FSU will have to take into account, or he will burn them with his legs the same way he did several other teams last season.
3. Anthony Averett and Minkah Fitzpatrick have to match Tavarus McFadden and Derwin James: Nobody has a better secondary combination heading into 2017 than the Seminoles, but the Tide are about as close as it gets. With his quality play in the national title game, Averett will have Francois thinking twice before throwing his way. Regardless of whether he lines up at corner or safety, Fitzpatrick gives the Tide defense another ball hawk to keep the Seminoles’ athletic offense in check. The secondary should be huge in this game, as ‘Bama will be relying on them to shut down the passing game and get the offense back on the field.
Agree with my points? Think I’m a moron? Feel free to us @N2KSports.
Cover photo courtesy Fansided.