Florida State CB preparing to defend Tide receivers

Both teams return a lot of talent, but both are loaded with talented newcomers.

I'm anxious to see what the Alabama offense looks like under new coordinator Brian Daboll's leadership. The Crimson Tide and Seminoles are set to square off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game.

Tuskegee head coach Willie Slater leads his team against Alabama State University. Whoever does get the gig won't have No. 1 receiver Antonio Callaway and fellow starting pass-catcher James Robinson to target in Florida's Week 1 game against MI after both were suspended one game by head coach Jim McElwain for marijuana possession.

With Stoops gone in Oklahoma, is that good or bad for a Sooners team that has stumbled recently when it counts most?

Yet the FSU defense was just as impressive against the run. Few players ever shaped an Alabama team - and an entire college football season - as Henry did in 2015. During that span, the 'Noles limited their opponents to 841 rushing yards and a paltry 2.74 yards per carry.

-WR Calvin Ridley is a big-play guy in Alabama's passing game.

On the 'Bama side, it's former Tide defensive end/linebacker William Ming (2009-13), someone who has seen how "The Process" works firsthand and would certainly understand what a second consecutive significant loss would mean for the Alabama program (and the SEC) moving forward. The Seminoles have a tough 2017 schedule, which includes this game, along with Miami during the first month of the season.

The two winning teams of the semifinal games advance to the title game, which determines the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college football national champion. Still love Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen, but the four-point-'dog Aggies have the athletes on defense to make Rosen's evening an unpleasant one.

Consider both Bama-FSU and Michigan-Florida. There's so little data available that there's no way to tell exactly how the game will unfold.

Texas hasn't necessarily been a bad team over the past seven seasons, it's just been exceedingly average, which obviously doesn't cut it in Austin. Florida will be missing 10% of its roster due to suspensions stemming from a debit card scam involving several players. They have 17 starters returning, which is tied for the most in the conference with Georgia. Not surprisingly, Jim Harbaugh won't announce the starter for MI. Losses, after all, don't get much more quality than a top three team.

Both also are from small towns in West Virginia. I expect the Razorbacks not only to beat them head to head but also to finish ahead of them in the conference, thanks to what could end up being the SEC's highest scoring offense led by quarterback Austin Allen. He certainly was a difference maker at Florida, guiding the Gators to a 6-0 record in 2015. That didn't happen past year when Francois was too often a football piñata.

He'll face a stiff challenge from Bud Foster's defense. Here's your way-too-early Heisman Trophy watch list: Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, USC QB Sam Darnold, LSU RB Derrius Guice, Ohio State QB JT Barrett (isn't this his 15th year?), Washington QB Jake Browning, Florida State QB Deondre Francois, two-time finalist QB Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma and, of course, last year's victor, Louisville QB Stanley Jackson.

It's also the riskiest opener of all time.

The scene at the Battle at Bristol between Tennessee and Virginia Tech. The difference will be about a $2.5 million windfall for the athletic department ... not to mention the attention and focus on a game pairing two of the country's most traditional and successful programs. Alabama will win by between 7-10 points unless the FSU buzz is just hype. That doesn't bode well for a Volunteers defense that gave up 350 or more rushing yards in four different contests past year.

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