(11) Ole Miss Rebels at (4) Florida State Seminoles
Ole Miss: Despite losing a dynamic receiver like LaQuon Treadwell, Ole Miss still feels they have a nice offensive nucleus and it starts with the guy under center and he goes by the name of Chad Kelly and he’s been considered to be the best quarterback in a very tough conference in the SEC. He was a very vital piece in helping Hugh Freeze and the Rebels win ten games for the first time in ten seasons and they look to build off that in 2016. Although they lost three guys from the 2015 team, Ole Miss shouldn’t slip too far in the SEC West. The offensive line has a lot of big questions coming into the year as they lost all five starters from last season and they will really need to keep Chad Kelly protected all year long. Monday night is the start of a tough stretch of games for these Rebels. Florida State to kick it off and then battles with Georgia and Alabama.
Florida State: We can all say that 2015 was a rebuilding year for the Florida State Seminoles. After losing Jameis Winston to the NFL, they had a lot of questions at quarterback and they still were able to get to a bowl game and win ten games under Jimbo Fisher. Sean Maguire was the favorite to win the job to be the starting quarterback but he fractured a bone in his foot so now, Deondre Francois is the guy who will be the starting quarterback. As I’ve said before, a young quarterback’s best friend is the running game and Francois will have the luxury of having one of the best all-around backs in the nation to take pressure off of him and his name is Dalvin Cook who is also considered to be a Heisman trophy candidate as well. Just like most teams do, they’ve lost their fair share of talent to the NFL. The Seminoles begin life without Jalen Ramsey and they will look to show that they are still a contender with a non-conference battle against Ole Miss.
Ole Miss X-Factor: Chad Kelly- This is the one thing that Ole Miss will have the edge over Florida State and that’s the quarterback with experience. Chad Kelly is an NFL-caliber that can throw it from the pocket, use his feet to his advantage and if he makes a mistake here and there, he can overcome that with a big play and control a game by himself. He needs to be 100 percent in this one if the Rebels want to win. He must outplay Francois. Kelly is that good to take advantage of every opportunity his defense can give him. If Ole Miss can go +3 in turnover margin, that should be enough to pull off the W.
Florida State X-Factor: The defensive front seven- An inexperienced offensive line < Experienced defensive line. They will need to get a consistent pass rush on Kelly all game long because there's so much he can do if he's under pressure throughout the game. They should be able to get to him and rely on the secondary to shut down the receivers down the field and the front seven will do their part by making sure the running game has little success.
Prediction: This is the game that caps off the first full weekend of college football. I like Florida State to take this game. FSU 34 Ole Miss 24