As week one continues, the second night of CFSL action features two major conference showdowns to help kick off the season, and our guys have made their picks.
Tom Pence’s Predictions:
Ohio State 17, Texas 31
Wow, a match up of teacher versus pupil. Texas looked good in their scrimmage against Florida State and Ohio State had to do a complete retool from last season. This gives the Longhorns a big Advantage and they will look to get out strong in their first season in the BIG 10. Watch for that Texas secondary to feast.
Florida State 24, Alabama 21
Alabama looked very good in their first season in the CFSL last season. Florida State is a new team for this season, but have Veterans in key positions which helps them in key matchups for this one. The loss of Joe Pantoja will be a step back for Alabama and an adjustment they will have to make. To add to that this is a week one SEC matchup.
Ohio State 31, Texas 41
Ohio State brings a completely new team to the field. While they have plenty of pieces, Texas has the full package. Clayton Denny looked very impressive against FSU, and he’ll be the X-Factor. Texas returns three of the best receivers in the nation in Scooby Lewis, Ray Conley, and Lord Helix. They will have a chance to show just how good they are and explode on the scene.
fLORIDa state 27, alabama 30
This is going to be the best matchup of the week. Alabama loses talent on offense with the departure of Joe Pantoja, as well as all their receivers. Balion Siege will be their key guy on offense, and FSU has the team to stop it. The game changer here is Vidar Lund. A power back similar to Frost Carlson, he will need to lead the Seminole offense and create huge plays.
Ohio State 35, Texas 38
A good ole fashioned Texas shootout is likely to happen with this one. Historically, Texas has been a pass happy team, and with the addition of quarterback Clayton Denny, I expect more of the same. The really interesting part of this one is that proven gameplanner Jimbo Smithers will be taking the helm for the first time as an AD. I expect his play calling to fall on the strengths of freshman signal-caller Jefferson Allen as well. Perhaps I’m giving too much credit to the new guy to keep it this close, but what can I say? I like the underdog.
Florida State 24, Alabama 34
Alabama has proven they’re instantly contenders in the SEC this season, but the additions of LSU and Florida State, and the move of Texas to the Big Ten this offseason leaves the conference wide open for grabs. Alabama was too one-dimensional last season and it showed late, which is why I think the scheme change will be just what they need to catapult them forward. Florida State has the obvious feel good storyline to it, lovable guy Tom Pence makes his debut, the spear is resurrected, and of course the defense will be ferocious. Needless to say, I’m excited for this one.
Connor Russell’s Predictions:
Ohio State 16, Texas 34
I’m personally looking forward to this game since it’s my coaching tree facing off against each other. Unfortunately, I don’t expect this one to be that competitive. Texas has the exact offensive setup that will burn a 3-4 and lead to a high scoring game. However, I am looking hard at linebacker Isaiah Fowler to step up and make some huge plays. He has an opportunity to make me look silly here if he dominates on defense.
Florida State 28, Alabama 21
Florida State should be a moderate favorite to win this game, as well as one of the main teams poised for a playoff run out of the SEC. Their defense is spectacular, with All-American talent everywhere. Their only question mark is how much they can get out of a freshman signal-caller with unproven receivers. Alabama has some similar issues, though their quarterback’s play will be stellar all year. In the end, the linebacking corps of FSU will help limit the running game in a closer victory than the score indicates.
Ohio State 17, Texas 38
I love everything this new Ohio State team has done but they are about to play a perennial title contender who wants to crush his old student. The Texas Longhorns did not get where they’ve been by going easy on teams. This will be a rude awakening for the Buckeyes.
Florida StatE 20, Alabama 24
Florida State comes into its first game in the league as the favorite but they still have a lot to prove. This Alabama team is not one to be doubted. They gave their offense a more balanced look this off-season and are ready to once again prove that the Tide should not be overlooked.
Ohio State 21, Texas 35
This isn’t the Buckeyes team we’re used to seeing as new AD Jimbo takes over for Russell who has moved on to the Bayou. Texas returns their whole offense, minus Walker Mills, but highly touted freshman Clayton Denny takes the reigns for the Longhorns. Texas’ defense lost a step with the graduation of the previously mentioned Jimbo Smithers but, they are still far more talented than this young Buckeyes squad. We will see what Ohio State is made of but, Texas should walk away in this early season matchup.
Florida State 31, Alabama 24
Florida State makes its return with AD Grin at the helm, who had a lot of success as a coordinator at Ohio State. The Seminole offense is untested but they get a boost from transfers in halfback Vidar Lund and tight end Monte Jones. The Crimson Tide offense is unknown as well, only returning signal-caller Balion Siege and tight end Houston Freeman from a good team last year. This game will be a battle of the defenses as both are very talented and both have player of the year candidates in Tom Pence (Florida State) and Lamar Fant (Alabama). Whoever makes the plays on defense will win. I like Florida State in their first game back in the CFSL.
Texas 45, OSU 24
Mentor vs Prodigy. This should present a classic matchup. Texas had a history of success against Ohio State, but the Longhorns are looking at their third quarterback in three seasons. Ohio State enters with an entirely new staff and philosophy. Once a running team, Jefferson Allen will look to air it out against the Texas secondary. Gone is Jimbo Smithers, who will step up on the Texas side? In my non partial overview, I think Denny starts off strong against the Buckeye defense and Terrance Top records his all-time interception record tying pick.
FLORIDA STATE 31, Alabama 34
This game will be a close one as first year AD, Grin, takes on Alabama in their first matchup. In the preseason game, Florida State looked good but their young signal-caller seemed lost at times. Can he overcome his struggles against Siege? Alabama has the weapons on both sides of the ball. Can Fant lead this defense to a victory? I think the Tide get it done here late. This battle should present lots of turnover opportunities and the team that has less will win this game.
DAVID ROY’S PREDICTIONS:
OHIO STATE 24, Texas 38
Ohio State, as an offense, is built in such a fashion that they’ll be able to score. However, this Texas defense is going to make plays, and a young quarterback in Jefferson Allen could make some major mistakes. I find it difficult to see him avoiding a couple costly ones in his first outing, and Texas will capitalize.
Florida State 35, alabama 21
I know there’s love for Alabama, I know that they made the playoffs last season. But they struggled down the stretch last season but, the offense has added to their arsenal. However, the Florida State defense is no joke, and so I anticipate Alabama will struggle to score at moments and they may need their defense to score on occasion. Overall, I feel the advantage is in the favor of the Seminoles.
Our writers are unanimous in the belief that Texas will best the Buckeyes tonight. But Florida State and Alabama is not quite so certain. It’s an even split at 4-4 between our writers as to whether or not the Seminoles or the Crimson Tide will win, so keep that in mind going for tonight.