Mississippi (0-0) vs Florida State (0-0)
When: Monday, September 5th 2016
Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: ESPN
A couple of ranked teams meet on Labor Day to finish off the opening weekend of College Football when the Florida State Seminoles take on the Ole Miss Rebels. Florida State comes in with high expectations and a very experienced and talented team. Heisman Trophy candidate running back Dalvin Cook leads an offense that returns an offensive line that has a combined 66 starts and a receiving corps that can match just about anyone. Cook rushed for a school-record 1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns last year for the Seminoles, who introduce a new starting quarterback in freshman and Orlando native Deondre Francois. He will become just the fourth freshman to start an opener for Florida State as Sean Maguire (foot) was lost for 4-to-6 weeks. Defensive end DeMarcus Walker (10.5 sacks in 2015) and safety Derwin James (91 tackles, 4.5 sacks) lead a defense that could be one of the country’s best. Jumbo Fisher will begin his seventh season in Tallahassee and is 68-14 overall.
Mississippi is led by their own Heisman candidate in quarterback Chad Kelly, who had a breakout season in 2015 with 4,042 yards and 31 touchdowns while rushing for another 500 and 10 scores. Kelly will be under pressure a lot as the Ole Miss offensive line is very weak and inexperienced and will start three sophomores. Senior Akeem Judd (421 yards) and freshman Eric Swinney lead the rushing attack with Jordan Wilkins (academics) lost for the season. The receiving corps is deep with Quincy Adeboyejo (604 yards, 7 TD) and Damore’ea Stringfellow (503 yards, 5 TD) leading the way. Defensive end Marquis Haynes (10 sacks last year) and safety Tony Conner key the other side of the ball where Ole Miss returns five starters. Hugh Freeze begins his fifth season at Ole Miss and is 64-25 in his seven years as a head coach.
The Florida State defense is going to dominate the Ole Miss offensive line in this game while pressuring Kelly all night. Cook will take some pressure off the freshman Francois, but look for the young QB to have some success against last year’s 104th ranked defense against the pass (258.8 yards a game). I like Florida State to roll in the opener.
Pick: Florida State -5.5