Labor Day College Football Picks: #11 Ole Miss Rebels vs #4 Florida State Seminoles

#11 Ole Miss Rebels vs #4 Florida State Seminoles
Monday, September 5, 2016, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Camping World Stadium – Orlando, Florida
Opening Line: Florida State -5 1/2
Current Line: Florida State -6 (-115)
Opening Total: 57 1/2
Current Total: 59
Opening Money Line: Florida State -185 / Ole Miss +165
Current Money Line: Florida State -220 / Ole Miss +180

Florida state and Ole Miss meet Monday night in Orlando in a battle of top 11 teams.
Florida state and Ole Miss meet Monday night in Orlando in a battle of top 11 teams.

Going into the opening weekend of college football, it was hyped as the best opening weekend ever. There were great match-ups including four games between teams that were both ranked in the pre-season top 25. It has certainly lived up to those expectations. Three top ten teams have already been beaten this week. Another one could go down on Monday night as the #4 Florida State Seminoles take on the #11 Ole Miss Rebels in Orlando. This is only the second meeting ever between Florida State and Ole Miss. The Rebels won the other meeting way back in 1961 at home.

Florida State was 10-3 last year under coach Jimbo Fisher and lost to Houston 38-24 in the Peach Bowl. Ole Miss was also 10-3 last year under coach Hugh Freeze. The Rebels beat Oklahoma State 48-20 in the Sugar Bowl.

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Ole Miss averaged 518 yards per game including 335 passing and 183 rushing yards. The Rebels scored 41 points a game. On defense, the Rebels allowed 386 yards per game including 259 passing and 127 rushing. The Rebels allowed 23 points per game. Ole Miss was even in turnovers with 23 takeaways and giveaways. The Rebels averaged 54 penalty yards per game. Ole Miss was 77/184 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents were 95/249. The Rebels forced 29 sacks and allowed 19 last season. Ole Miss was 52/62 scoring in the red zone with 37 touchdowns and opponents were 42/50 with 25 touchdowns.

Quarterback Chad Kelly is back after thrown for 4,042 yards with 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and had 107 carries for 500 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is arguably the best quarterback in the SEC, and will likely be a star NFL quarterback like his hall-of-fame uncle Jim Kelly. Freshman Shea Patterson will be the back-up and quarterback of the future.

Running back Jaylen Walton has graduated after rushing for 730 yards with 5 touchdowns, and making 23 catches. Akeem Judd and Jordan Wilkins were supposed to split the carries. However, Wilkins was ruled academically ineligible and is out for the season. Judd had 77 carries for 421 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Wilkins had 72 carries for 379 yards and 4 touchdowns. Eugene Brazely will likely get more carries with out Wilkins after rushing for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns last year.

Receiver Laquon Treadwell was a first round pick by the Minnesota Vikings. He had 82 catches for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cody Core is also in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals after making 37 catches for 644 yards and 4 touchdowns. Quincy Adeboyejo is back after making 38 catches for 604 yards and 7 touchdowns last year. Damore’ea Stringfellow is also back after making 36 catches for 503 yards and 5 touchdowns. Markell Pack had 31 catches for 380 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is battlingĀ  thumb injury and is questionable for the start of the season. Tight end Evan Engram had 38 catches for 464 yards and 2 touchdowns. Despite making only one catch last year, slot receiver DaMarkus Lodge is slated to start.

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Florida State averaged 424 yards per game, including 256 passing and 168 rushing yards. The Seminoles scored 32 points per game. On defense, FSU allowed 337 yards per game including 192 passing and 145 rushing yards. The Seminoles allowed 18 points per game. FSU was even in turnovers with 15 giveaways and takeaways. The Seminoles averaged 54 penalty yards per game. Florida State was 65/169 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents were 82/228. FSU allowed 26 sacks and forced 32 last season. The Seminoles were 41/46 scoring in the red zone with 26 touchdowns, and opponents were 29/35 with 17 touchdowns.

Last year, Notre Dame graduate transfer Everett Golson and Sean Maguire split the snaps at quarterback. Golson has graduated but Maguire is back. Golson threw for 1,778 yards with 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Maguire threw for 1.520 yards with 11 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He has been battling a foot injury but s listed as probable. Still, look for redshirt freshman Deondre Francois to start. Maguire could see some snaps as well.

Dalvin Cook is a Hesiman contender at running back. He rushed for 1,691 yards on 229 carries with 19 touchdowns, along with 24 catches for 244 yards with a touchdown. Jacques Patrick will also get a few carries as well. He rushed for 314 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Counting Cook, the top five receivers are back for FSU. Travis Rudolph, Kermit Whitfield and Jesus Wilson all had at least 57 catches and they combined for 16 touchdowns. Tight end Ryan Izzo will also get some catches at well. Sixteen Seminoles are listed on the injury report, although about half are probable.

Ole Miss is 7-1-1 ATS in neutral site games, 5-1-1 in September, 25-8-1 in non-conference games, and 23-11-1 in on fieldturf.

Florida State is 5-1 ATS overall, 2-5 in September, 3-8 in non-conference games, 1-3-1 in Monday games, and 0-5 in neutral site games.

I don’t know if Ole Miss will be as explosive on offense as they were last year. I think Florida State will be improved though. Still, I think this could be a high scoring game. I like the Seminoles to win a close game on a late field goal.

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