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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Around the SEC: Week 1

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No. 1 Alabama at No. 3 Florida State

Saturday night brings us what promises to be one of the most exciting and high-stakes openers of all time. A preseason No. 1 team has never opened a season against another team within the top three and we shouldn’t be surprised to see these two programs meet again in January. Despite sitting at the top of the nation’s leaderboard going into Week 1, the Crimson Tide face no easy task in this non-conference matchup. The Seminoles ended the 2016 season on a 7-1 run, with their only loss coming by a field goal to the future national champion, Clemson. Now these teams face off with two of the world’s most detail-oriented coaches on the sidelines. The squads haven’t shared a field since 2007, but that doesn’t downplay the history and tension stet this feel like a century-long rivalry. The ‘Noles have now handed the reigns to redshirt sophomore QB Deondre Francois. While it’s difficult not to start thinking “Heisman” when he steps on the field, Alabama would be the defense to stop him. Expect Saban and company to force a few mistakes from the young signal-caller, but not before State takes an early lead. Kickoff is Saturday at 7:00 p.m. CST in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

Prediction: Alabama 28, Florida State 24

No. 25 Tennessee at Georgia Tech

It’s another must-win for an SEC team looking to get into the CFP Playoff conversation. Lose and people won’t remember their name in Week 2. After a massive start in 2016, the Volunteers soon crashed and burned for the second half of the season. The veteran defense sees eight familiar faces from the top nine tacklers last year. With Georgia Tech breaking in a new quarterback and no Dedricck Mills in the backfield, the Yellow Jackets will rely on their experienced secondary to give Tennessee some resistance. The Vols will also debut Quinten Dormady as the new man under center. Expect Tennessee to keep the ball on the ground to avoid giving Tech’s secondary a chance to disrupt the young QB. Kickoff is slated for Monday at 7:00 p.m. CST in Atlanta.

Prediction: Tennessee 34, Georgia Tech 17

No. 11 Michigan at No. 17 Florida

Another Top 25 matchup will hit the vaunted AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday afternoon. Both teams are praying to leave Texas with an untarnished record before heading into conference play. The Wolverines are arguably more talented from hash to hash, but with an inexperienced offense still under construction, the Gator defense won’t show any mercy. Despite a couple starters from the secondary departing Gainesville for the big leagues, Florida defensive coordinator Randy Shannon is back with a solid front seven and should be ahead of Michigan rebuilding wise. Unfortunately for Florida, their offense remains in shambles following the suspensions of WR Antonio Callaway and RB Jordan Scarlett. They’re even setting aside veterans Malik Zaire and Luke Del Rio to give freshman Feleipe Franks the starting quarterback nod. Expect this to be a battle of the defenses as both O’s struggle to cross the goal line. Kickoff is set for Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CST.

Prediction: Michigan 23, Florida 14

BYU at No. 13 Louisiana

Louisiana State will take on unranked BYU, but the game is no less significant for both programs. On the Tigers’ end, they feel a little underestimated after their star running back, Leonard Fournette, took his talents to the NFL. The matchup was originally scheduled to kickoff at NRG Stadium in Houston, yet in the wake of Hurricane Harvey the two squads will rendezvous at the Superdome in New Orleans, a technically a neutral site. LSU needs this game in order to prove their worth before heading into conference play. BYU’s sputtering offense will have trouble finding the end zone, but their defense will provide some hope in earning a win that will surely slingshot them into talks for the Top 25. The Cougars boast a loaded linebacker corps to counter LSU’s stout run game. However, if the Tigers can move the ball in the air via the hands of QB Danny Etling, they’ll be home free until late October. Kick off is Saturday at 8:00 p.m. CST. 

Prediction: Louisiana 24, BYU 13

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