It's not often that you see two of the best three teams in America playing against each other in college football. It's significantly less often that happens in Week 1 of the season. The Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida State Seminoles, though, are bucking that trend, facing off in the first game of their respective seasons in Atlanta. It's not nearly a College Football Playoff eliminator for either team, but the team that happens to win the game is going to have a huge leg up on the rest of the nation on the road to the CFP.
The Tide are +400 favorites to win it all this season. Rare is the year that Nick Saban's team isn't in the National Championship picture. Alabama has played in the all three editions of the College Football Playoff to date, and it has played in either the CFP or one of the BCS bowl games in eight of the last nine seasons.
This year, things won't look much different in Tuscaloosa. A dominant defense and the return of Jalen Hurts under center will once again make the Tide favorites in all of their games this season in all likelihood.
The toughest game of the year though, could be in Week 1. Florida State always seems to come up big in these big games, and this is a moment that Jimbo Fisher has been waiting for. Fisher, an SEC guy by nature, would love nothing more than to put Alabama in its place and stake a claim to the No. 1 team in the nation. The Noles led the nation in sacks last season and return a potential stud quarterback in the making in Deondre Francois. The garnet and gold will have the upper hand in the ACC this year with Clemson +2200 clearly set to take a step backwards after playing for the title in back-to-back seasons, so this game against the Tide might ultimately not mean much. That's why FSU is a +750 choice to capture the natty.
Ohio State is the team crammed in the middle of these two powers. The Buckeyes do have to play at home against Oklahoma this year, but aside from that, there probably shouldn't be a trip anywhere along the way until the big game in Ann Arbor against Michigan on November 25. If the Bucks can win one of those two games, they figure to be on a path to get into the CFP even if they aren't sporting the Big Ten title for whatever reason.
USC is lined just behind FSU at +800, while Michigan +1600, Oklahoma +1600, Penn State +1600 and Auburn +2000 round out the top eight teams in the nation.
Odds To Win the National Championship
Ohio State +500
Florida State +750
Penn State +1600
Oklahoma State +4000
Notre Dame +4500
Virginia Tech +5500
Kansas State +7000
West Virginia +7000
Washington State +8500
N.C. State +10000
Texas A&M +10000
Boise State +12000
Michigan State +12000
North Carolina +20000
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