Alabama has won 15 straight opening season week one games by an average margin of victory of 25.4 points per game. The Crimson Tide’s last loss came in 2001 at home to the UCLA Bruins. Since 2010, Florida State has won 7 straight opening season week one contests by an average margin of victory of 34.4 points per game. The Seminoles last week one loss came in 2009 to the Miami Hurricanes 38-34 in Tallahassee. Florida State lost three games to Louisville, North Carolina and Clemson (all ACC opponents) who were a combined 31-10 in 2016 or .756%.
Alabama ended their 2016 campaign with a 35-31 loss in the National Championship game. The Crimson Tide rolled over opposing teams winning by an average margin of victory of 28.3 points per game. The closest margin of victory came in week three against Ole Miss in which the team won by a score of 48-43.
Alabama averaged 38 points per game in 2016 and rushed for 245 yards per game along with passing for 210 yards through the air last year. The offense will rely on sophmore quarterback Jalen Hurts in 2017 and his ability to put pressure on opposing defenses on the perimeter. In 2016, Hurts completed 62% of his passes for 2,780 yards with 23 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. On the ground Hurts rushed for 954 yards averaging 4.9 yards per carry with 13 rushing touchdowns.
In Alabama’s first eleven games of the season, the team averaged 227 passing yards per game with 22 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. In the last four games of the year, the team averaged 162 passing yards per game with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
In Alabama’s last four games of the season, the Crimson Tide offense averaged 231 rushing yards per game which was 14 yards less than their season average.
Defensively, the Crimson Tide allowed 13 points per game (#1 in FBS) and had the #1 ranked rushing defense in college football allowing 63 rushing yards per game. The Crimson Tide allowed 197 passing yards to opposing offense, however, allowed 250 passing yards per game on the road or on a neutral field site to opposing teams.
There were only two teams to rush for over 100 yards on the Alabama defense in 2016-Ole Miss-101 & Texas A&M-114. There was not a single team in all 15 games that averaged over 3.1 yards per carry on the defense in 2016.
There were three teams in 2016 that passed for 400 yards or more on the Crimson Tide secondary- Ole Miss-421 yards, Arkansas-400 yards and Clemson-420 yards.
Alabama ended the 2016 season with 54 total sacks (1st in FBS) and +10 in turnover margin. The Crimson Tide was able to force turnovers on the road in 2016 ending the season with a +8 margin.
In the last two games against Washington and Clemson-the Alabama team committed 20 penalties while both Washington (11 penalties) and Clemson (9 penalties) committed both three each.
The Seminoles averaged 35 points per game in 2016 and rushed for 202 yards per game along with passing for 264 yards through the air last year. Florida State is coming off an impressive 33-32 win over Michigan in their bowl game and will look to carry the momentum into the off-season for this week one tilt with the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
Quarterback Deondre Francois completed 58% of his passes for 3,350 yards with 20 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in 2016. Francois showed great pocket presence and showed the ability to stand in the face of a pass rush in delivering the football to his receivers. Francois was a mobile quarterback who added 5 rushing touchdowns in 2016. He showed the ability to keep his eyes down the field in reading his progressions and making solid decisions to put his team in scoring opportunities.
Florida State completed over 50% of their passes as a team in all but two games in 2016. The only two games in which the Seminoles failed to complete over 50% of their passes was the loss to Louisville and the bowl win against Michigan. In those games, the Seminoles completed 17 of 51 (33%) passes for 335 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Defensively, the Seminoles allowed 25 points per game and allowed 128 rushing yards per game along with 221 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks.
The defense started out very slow, however, by the end of the season-this was the strength of the team.
In the team’s first nine games of the year, the defense allowed 257 passing yards to opposing offenses. However, in the last four games of the season, the defense allowed 60 of 123 passing completions (48.7%) for 139 passing yards per game with 3 passing touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
In the last four games of the 2016 season (including Michigan), the defense allowed 70 rushing yards per game with 2 rushing touchdowns. Florida State held 7 of their 13 opponents to under 100 yards rushing in 2016. The only two teams to rush for more than 200 on the Seminoles were Louisville (314) and South Florida (290).
Florida State recorded 51 sacks as a defensive unit (2nd in FBS behind Alabama) with 21 sacks coming in the last four games of the year. The Seminoles ended the 2016 season with +3 in turnover margin.