Spring football has ended for the Florida State Seminoles, so it’s time for a gridiron break, right?
Um, not really. You can’t blame Seminole fans who fondly pine for Labor Day Weekend.
If there’s ever an FSU offseason where things will keep percolating, even more than normal, this would be it.
One reason: FSU versus Alabama, Sept. 2.
There’s nothing like the late spring/early summer discussions about the upcoming season. Things can be sliced and diced, over and over again. Of course, the focus is on the season opener.
The Seminoles have a doozy this time.
Here are five reasons why FSU-Alabama could be the best opening game in college football history (not kidding):
1. THE RANKINGS: Almost certainly, FSU and Alabama will be top-five teams. We won’t know for certain until August, but everybody does way early/extremely early/ridiculously early preseason rankings these days.
In January, not long after Clemson had wrapped up its epic upset of Alabama in the national championship game, USA Today had the Seminoles at No. 1 and the Crimson Tide at No. 2.
2. THE SETTING: FSU-Alabama will be the first college football game to be played in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which already seems like a game-changing palace.
It’s already looking like one of the priciest regular-season tickets in history, with the nose-bleed seats already commanding $500 and up.
3. THE QUARTERBACKS: It’s a matchup of productive freshmen-turned-sophomores.
FSU’s Deondre Francois showed toughness, productivity and leadership. For openers, it wasn’t bad. Alabama’s Jalen Hurts came within a second or two of leading his team to a national title.
It wouldn’t be surprising if both players are invited to New York as Heisman Trophy finalists.
4. THE COACHES: For Alabama’s Nick Saban, the coaching tree is long and fruitful. One of his prize pupils was FSU’s Jimbo Fisher, his offensive coordinator on the 2003 LSU national-championship team.
It’s the first time Saban and Fisher have met as head coaches.
5. THE BUILDUP: FSU and Alabama, perennial Southern powerhouses, have met just four times. The most recent clash was FSU’s 21-14 win at Jacksonville in 2007 (Saban’s first year at Alabama and Fisher’s first year as FSU’s offensive coordinator/head coach in waiting under Bobby Bowden).
The Seminoles and Crimson Tide seemed to be on a national-championship collision course in recent seasons, but it didn’t happen.
In 2013, when freshman Heisman winner Jameis Winston paced FSU to an unbeaten season, it seemed the Seminoles would face Alabama for the BCS title. Then the “Kick Six’’ happened, unbeaten Alabama was toppled, and Auburn faced FSU for the national title.
In 2014, the first season of the College Football Playoff, it seemed FSU-Alabama was the natural matchup for the Sugar Bowl’s national semifinals. Instead, FSU was shipped to the Rose Bowl against Oregon. Alabama was sent to New Orleans and faced Ohio State.
So maybe FSU-Alabama would be the national-title game?
Nope. The Seminoles and Crimson Tide were beaten. Foiled again.
Now it’s unavoidable.
FSU vs. Alabama, Sept. 2, at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Can’t wait? You’re not alone.
For openers, it’s as good as it has ever been.