Football is officially back with the first full weekend of college football weekend.
As is usual this early in the season, most major programs are playing lesser competition as psuedo-preseason games as they work out the kinks and get back into the swing of competitive football.
It also doesn’t hurt consideration come playoff selection time to pad the record with some wins early in the season.
However, we do have a couple top-25 match-ups today worth watching, highlighted by one of the biggest match-ups to start a season in history.
With no further ado, let’s get to it.
Afternoon Game - Florida (17) vs. Michigan (11)
3:30 p.m. - ABC
The Florida Gators have made headlines this summer by having an impressive (albeit embarrassing) 10 players suspended heading into their first game of the year.
As of now, the Gators don’t have many players who are being highly-touted right now. However, this is still the SEC. They can find talent and it’s usually a good idea to keep an eye on them.
The player to keep an eye on in this game is Michigan center Mason Cole. We’ve heard whispers that the Giants were high on him last year before he announced that he would be returning to school. Cole is an athletic and intelligent lineman who has the ability to line up all over the offensive line. He could find himself in first round consideration come draft night.
Night Game - Alabama (1) vs. Florida State (3)
8 p.m. - ABC
This is the game of the weekend, the one everyone should be watching. With the advent of the College Football Playoffs, Alabama has taken to scheduling difficult games to open their season. And when the Nos. 1 and 3 ranked teams in the nation face each other, we all should take notice.
These two teams have a bevy of NFL talent on both sides of the ball.
On the Florida State side of things everyone will be watching safety Dewrin James. James is coming back from an injury, but he is a big, explosive player who could strike fear into opposing offenses.
James is joined in the defensive backfield by Tavarus McFadden who has the size, speed, and fluidity to be a future No. 1 corner if he can polish his technique and build on his raw talent.
On the Alabama side of things, that team is as stacked with talent as we are used to seeing from them.
Bo Scarbrough looks to be the ‘Bama lead running back, and listed at 242 pounds with surprising speed he is a load to bring down and should punish the Seminole’s defense.
Contrasting with Scarbrough is wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Ridley isn’t the same kind of size/speed phenom as Alabama alum Julio Jones, but he is a savvy route runner capable producing explosive gains.
On the defensive side of the ball Alabama boasts Da’Ron Payne, a massive and powerful defensive tackle. Scouts are hoping that Payne will show development as a pass rusher, but he is already a stout run defender.
Finally, we come to DB Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is a physical and athletic defender with the ability to hold up in coverage as well as come down and play the run. He also has the kind of versatility that the NFL loves, being able to play both safety and cornerback.
There will be plenty more future NFL players on the field for this game, so let us know who jumps off the field for you.