College Football Pick
It’s the rare Monday night college football Game and it’s one of the better matchups of the opening week. Ole Miss comes into this Game with some confidence built off last season’s finish, dominating OK State in the Sugar Bowl. But in a neutral-site Game, Florida State is the basic home team playing in Orlando. Granted, it’s still a Four-hOur drive from Tallahassee. The Seminoles got shown up last time out by Houston in the Peach Bowl, but are favored by -6 points in this one as seen at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
The Seminoles have bigger prospects this season with not many returning starters and the No. 4 preseason ranking in the AP Polls. They’re expected to fight for a College Football Playoff berth all season, although a loss here would hamper those thoughts.
But the one thing FSU fans can’t wait to see is how freshman Deondre Francois performs in his first start under center. Sean Maguire broke his foot in the preseason, but most tabbed Francois to start anyway. This leaves Jimbo Fisher with no questions and a freshman quarterback. Even if Francois underwhelms early on, he has loads of talent around him.
Dalvin Cook is one of the best running backs in the nation and if all goes well, could be fighting for the Heisman by season’s end after 1,691 yards and 19 TDs in 2015. Francois’s receivers are also top of the line with Travis Rudolph, Kermit Whitfield and Jesus Wilson. Even the offensive line returns Four starters to boot.
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And that could be a problem for the Rebels after a mediocre defensive campaign, eighth in points allowed in the SEC. They have enough returning starters to be just as good, but they did have their faults last season, allowing 37 points to Alabama and 38 to Florida.
If Francois and the FSU offense gets going, it’ll be up to quarterback Chad Kelly to keep Ole Miss around. And last year, he did that for the Rebels en route to 40.8 points per Game. The issue for Kelly this year may be his offensive line that returns just two guys and has a freshman slated to start at left tackle.
against a team like the ‘Noles with DeMarcus Walker on the end, that could lead to problems, although Kelly showed he was plenty mobile last year with 10 rushing TDs. But a questionable offensive line could also mean a questionable ground Game with Akeem Judd the running back. Without a run Game, especially in a matchup like this, it could cost the Rebs.
Ole Miss showed last year that they could compete with the best, but they also lacked consistency. Granted, the same could be said of Florida State, who had a costly loss to Georgia Tech.
Both of these teams have high hopes not only in Conference play, but also on the national level. The more well rounded team is FSU, but the team with the more experienced QB is Ole Miss. Which side will have the advantage?
Our Pick – Both teams in off great 2015’s however Ole Miss played the tougher Schedule and had the more impressive wins Had this Game been played at the end of last season with this very same line, Ole Miss would be the choice.
Evaluating the returning talent and the new talent for the coming year is never an easy task. Assumptions need to be made. The fact that a team returns more starters from the year before, isn’t reason enough to back them out of the gate. Especially when both schools in question for this Game have no problem recruiting great talent.
That being said we’ll side with the SEC in this one. We have to take last year into consideration in week 1 as we obviously have nothing new to go on and Ole Miss was the better team a year ago with the tougher Schedule and the more impressive wins. Ole Miss +6