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Fresno State

vs.

Alabama

College Football Pick

9/9/17

Nothing was all that surprising from the much-hyped Alabama-Florida State game last Saturday. The Crimson Tide did what they always did, clamping down on the defensive side, while running the ball almost too easily against one of the better teams in the country. Now, against Fresno State, which didn't have a win over an FBS team last year, the Tide are -43.5 point favorites at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

Fresno State beat Sacramento State last season and took down Incarnate Word 66-0 last week, its only two wins since 2015. There’s not a whole lot to take away from those games except that the Bulldogs used two quarterbacks and also managed a trick play with their running back throwing a 65-yard touchdown. It remains to be seen how much this team has changed in Jeff Tedford’s first season as head coach and that’ll probably be the case in this one, unless they can somehow put up a fight in Alabama.

The Bulldogs actually had a good pass defense last season, but that was mostly because they were gouged on the ground by everyone and gave up close to 250 rushing yards per game. It goes without saying, but that’s not a recipe for success against Alabama.

The Crimson Tide will undoubtedly have success in this game no matter who gets the ball in the backfield. Bo Scarbrough, Damien Harris and quarterback Jalen Hurts should all match last week’s totals and then some when they ran for 173 yards on a good defense. But it’s a wonder if Hurts will be asked to throw more at some point as he only attempted 18 passes against the Seminoles for 96 yards.

The closest matchup Alabama had last season to this one was probably the Kent State game in which it won 48-0. As expected, they dominated both sides of the field, but only scored seven points in the second half, none in the fourth quarter. The worry when backing the Tide in a game like this is that exact situation. For this game, with a line that’s up to 43 points, there’s always the possibility either Alabama goes up 49 and lets up a late touchdown or goes up by 42 and takes its foot off the pedal. That’s the lone reason not to take the Tide in this matchup, but there will still be few people that want to touch Fresno State.

At the least, the Bulldogs have 16 returning starters with Chason Virgil in his second-year as full-time starter. If he can find stud wide out KeeSean Johnson only a couple times, that may be enough to tear a hole in the defense for a drive or two. That said, Fresno’s main goal will be to try and move the ball just a little bit on the ground through Ronnie Rivers and Josh Hokit. But finding room to run against ‘Bama is near impossible, especially for a team like Fresno State.

Taking the Bulldogs would take a leap of faith, while taking the Tide may also require some luck if they go up big in the first half. Still, it’ll be hard to find anyone going against Alabama at any point this season.

Our Pick - OVER 53

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