Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, September 2, 2017 at 12:47 PM
Who said anything about barbecues, beaches and backyard parties?
It's College Football time, ladies and gents, and so put all those other outdoor activities on hold for what figures to be one of the great all-time first full weekends in recent gridiron memory.
Hey, it's not every day we get a first-weekend-of-the-year showdown between the nation's preseason #1 and #3 teams plus you can never really get enough of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh now - what, he's back from Rome? - as his 11th-ranked Wolverines have a marquee matchup on tap too.
The Jim Hurley Network is ready to cash in big-time with yet another slam-bang Football Season straight ahead and we want you to come along for the ride! Get in on a big opening week of College Games when you check in right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Again, remember there's some 26 on-the-board games here on the first Saturday in September plus another pair of games Sunday and then #25 Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech come Monday night ... plus get the weekend's Major-League Baseball too and remember the NFL 2017 regular season kicks off Thursday night when the Kansas City Chiefs challenge the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Go ahead and sign up for the whole 2017 Football Season TODAY at our special discounted prices and bang home loads of winners right through Super Bowl Sunday in early February!
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL KEY GAMES
On Saturday, it's ...
#1 ALABAMA vs. #3 FLORIDA STATE (at Atlanta) - 8 p.m. ET, ABC
For you college football historians, take note that Alabama started off the 2016 season as the numero uno squad in the land and then won 14 games in a row before getting nipped at the wire 35-31 by Clemson in the National Championship Game. Now, here's the Southeastern Conference powerhouse - owners of four national titles in the past eight seasons - looking to make the long journey back to the College Football Playoffs and suddenly there's some heat on soph QB Jalen Hurts (2,780 yards passing with 23 TD tosses in '16) who is expected to throw from the pocket more and take fewer chances runnin' it. If Hurts can spot up star WR Calvin Ridley (72 receptions last year) against an athletic/star-studded FSU secondary, then the Alabama ground game will benefit and keep close eyes on RB Bo Scarbrough who broke Washington's back last year in a CFP semifinal win.
Meanwhile, plenty of "experts" have weighed in to say Alabama's defense traditionally experiences problems when facing mobile quarterbacks (read Johnny Manziel, Deshaun Watson) and Sems' slinger Deondre Francois (3,350 yards passing with 20 TDs) is considered a dual-threat performer but if FSU's oft-wobbly O-line doesn't give Francois time here, then 7-point favorite 'Bama could make this blowout city.
Spread Stats - Alabama covered 10-of-14 games last year when placed in the betting favorite's role and overall the Crimson Tide's 68-52 ATS (against the spread) as the chalk side in the Nick Saban Era that dates back to 2007. On the flip side, Florida State notched pointspread wins in all four of its non-ACC games last year and the Seminoles are a collective 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games away from Tallahassee.
#11 MICHIGAN vs. #17 FLORIDA (at Arlington) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Let's be quite frank here: Michigan's Harbaugh and Florida HC Jim McElwain won't be getting warm and fuzzy with one another in pre- or post-game chats here 'cause they cannot stand one another! Two years ago the Wolverines slaughtered the not-so-mighty Gators 41-7 in the Citrus Bowl and things have been testy between the two leading up to this late matinee.
Sure, Florida suspended a gazillion players for alleged credit card schemes but the Gators will count on redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks to shred a Michigan defense that lost 10 starters following the '16 season.
Still, the key here for 5-point fav Michigan is to have QB Wilton Speight (2,538 yards passing with 18 TDs) keep his poise when under pass-rush heat - keep in mind Speight goes it here without last year's three top pass-catchers.
Spread Stats - Michigan's just 12-11 against the odds as betting favorites under aforementioned third-year coach Harbaugh while Florida is a cumulative 2-7 vig-wise in non-conference affairs under its third-year boss-man McElwain.
On Sunday, it's ...
#22 West Virginia vs. #21 Virginia Tech (at Landover) - 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Hard to believe these next-door neighbors have not played each other since the 2005 season - V-Tech was a 34-17 winner back then - but be aware the winner of this game could shoot into national consciousness and we'll see if Tech redshirt frosh QB Josh Jackson can steal the show at crunch time against a WVU defense that last year surrendered 21 points-or-less on nine different occasions.
TEXAS A&M at UCLA - 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox
Two major storylines here: UCLA slinger Josh Rosen is hoping to be all the way back from last year's shoulder surgery (the Bruins went 1-5 without 'em) while Texas A&M is banking on yet another quick start as Kevin Sumlin's crew has begun the last three seasons at 5-0 SU (straight-up) or better.
NOTE: There's College Football weekend re-caps plus a #25 Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech preview in the next edition of Jim Sez.