As the college football season approaches, there hasn’t been a clear top team. Week one, we get a top-five matchup with Alabama against Florida State. Alabama opens the season as the #1 team in the country, but the difference between the top teams is narrow.
This game sets the tone for the entire season, because both groups are top-four teams, and one of them will start out 0-1. If Alabama wins, it won’t be very shocking, but that means the Noles start out 0-1, and they have a tough schedule ahead.
Two weeks after Florida State plays Alabama, they have to play a much improved Miami team. On top of Miami, FSU plays Louisville, along with two big road games in Clemson and Florida. Alabama, Miami, Florida, and Clemson will all challenge Florida State, and could very well beat them.
For Alabama, on top of playing Florida State as a non-conference game, an SEC schedule is always brutal. After they play FSU, they have a stretch before their bye where they play Ole Miss, at Texas A&M, Arkansas and Tennessee. They then face LSU the week after the bye.
Of course, Alabama gets the royal treatment and only has to play one road game out of those five, but this is a different year in the SEC. It’s going to be a quarterback-dominated conference, and Alabama has one of the worst passing QB’s in the conference.
Jalen Hurts does not have vertical passing skills good enough to translate to the NFL, so Alabama’s offense will ultimately be one-dimensional with the running game. They also lost a ton of experience on the defense and the offensive line, so Alabama is very much vulnerable this season.
No matter who starts out 0-1, teams like Clemson, Washington, USC, and Penn State will already have the leverage after one week to push into the last playoff spot, especially if Bama or FSU loses multiple games.