Editor’s note: Counting down to the start of Alabama football’s fall practice, SEC Country is taking a look at the Crimson Tide’s 2017 opponents.
Alabama vs. Florida State
- When: Saturday, Sept. 2
- Kickoff time: 8 p.m. ET
- Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
- TV: ABC
FSU at a glance
- Coach: Jimbo Fisher
- 2016 record: 10-3, 5-3 ACC; beat Michigan 33-32 in Orange Bowl
- Last matchup vs. Alabama: Florida State won 21-14 in 2007 (later vacated)
- Returning starters: 20 (11 offense, 7 defense, 2 special teams)
FSU players to watch
DERWIN JAMES | S
Derwin James is one of the top defensive backs and arguably one of the top players in the country.
He missed most of last season with a torn meniscus in his left knee, but as a true freshman in 2015 he made 91 tackles and 4.5 sacks for the Seminoles.
NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks called James a mix of former Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and former LSU safety Jamal Adams. Both players went in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Crimson Tide offense will want to know where McFadden is at all times.
DEONDRE FRANCOIS | QB
Deondre Francois showed a lot of toughness last season because he took a beating at times behind Florida State’s offensive line. Heading into his second year as starter, Francois should improve.
Francois threw for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns vs. 7 interceptions last season.
TARVARUS MCFADDEN | CB
Florida State has another top player in its secondary. Tarvarus McFadden led the ACC and finished tied for No. 1 in the nation with 8 interceptions.
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts must be careful when throwing at McFadden.
This is an early candidate for the game of the year. Alabama and Florida State should both be ranked inside the top 5 in preseason polls, and both could be in the top 3.
Alabama thrives in these type of matchups. Nick Saban likes to schedule big-time season openers to give his team something to focus on during the offseason, and there are few opponents better than Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles.
Saban and Fisher are two of the top coaches in the game, which makes for intriguing story lines. Fisher worked under Saban as offensive coordinator while at LSU. Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt held the same position at Florida State when the Seminoles won the national title in 2013. So both coaching staffs knows each other very well.
On the field, Alabama’s Jalen Hurts and Florida State’s Deondre Francois are two of the top young quarterbacks in college football.
Defensively, Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick and Florida State’s Derwin James each have a case to be the best defensive back in college football.
This contest is full of NFL talent, elite coaching and passionate fans. We can’t wait for this clash.
Alabama 27, Florida State 20