ESPN College Gameday 2017: Week 1 Schedule, Location, Predictions and More

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 22: Quarterback Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to hand the ball off to running back Brian Robinson Jr. #24 of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on April 22, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

Michael Chang/Getty Images

After a special edition at Indiana on Thursday night, the ESPN College GameDay crew heads to Atlanta for a stop at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where No. 3 Florida State and No. 1 Alabama will collide. 

No hyperbole here: The 2017 kickoff extravaganza might be the biggest opener in college football history.

Not only is the Mercedes-Benz Stadium brand new and the eventual location of the College Football Playoff next January, the two teams set to kick off on Saturday night will in large part decide who gets to make the CFP in the first place. 

With Nick Saban‘s Alabama Crimson Tide seeking redemption against an ACC opponent after the stumble in the title game last season, this one doesn’t need much in the way of hype. 

College GameDay provides it anyway. Here’s everything to know. 


College GameDay Week 1 Info

Date: Saturday, September 2

Time (ET): 9 a.m. to noon; game is at 8 p.m.

Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta 

Watch: ESPN; game is on ABC

Live Stream: WatchESPN



It’s not often a Saban-led team enters any game looking to redeem itself.  

A year ago, Alabama lost in the title game to Clemson late. The Crimson Tide don’t get another shot at the Tigers this year, though, with departures and the rise of the Seminoles expected to make Florida State the ACC power to beat.

Of course, fans that know Saban understand he isn’t the type to dwell on the past. 

“The identity of this team is going to be created by what this team does, not what happened last year, not what happened on the last play of the game. None of that is going to matter to how this team develops their identity and their ability to conquer adversity,” Saban said, according to Stats LLC (via 

As usual, the Crimson Tide lost droves of defensive talent to the NFL, meaning that side of the ball will once again start over and search out new leaders. 

The offensive side of the ball doesn’t have a similar problem. Jalen Hurts is back under center after completing 62.8 percent of his passes for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns against nine interceptions through the air as a freshman, with another 13 rushing scores for good measure. He’ll look to take a leap with the help of new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. 

A more pro-style attack or not, the Crimson Tide will still look to make most of their headway on the ground with Bo Scarbrough, who bullied his way to 812 yards and 11 touchdowns on a 6.5 yard-per-carry average last year. 

Florida State’s defensive line looks like one of the best in the nation, though the offense’s ability to throw a counterpunch is one of the biggest questions leading up to Saturday’s showdown. 

Deondre Francois struggled at times under center a year ago, completing 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He should take a step forward this season, but he lost three wideouts and the line will break in new starters. 

Francois, at least, has targeted areas where he wants his game to improve regardless of those around him. 

“I need to get the ball out of my hands faster. Throw it away when nothing’s there. That’s basically it,” Francois said, according to Joe Reedy of the Associated Press. “Trusting my receivers so that I can let it go before they break instead of holding it that one second.”

The task of replacing Dalvin Cook falls to new arrival Cam Akers and a host of others, though finding room to operate against Alabama’s defensive front—breaking in new faces or otherwise—isn’t the easiest task. 

Either way, both sides don’t have time to figure things out against a soft opponent. As it should be, both face a trial by fire with everyone watching. 



When it comes time to making a prediction, it is hard to ignore the experience gap here. 

Alabama has a quarterback in Hurts who has played in a title game and a well-established running game around him. Most would agree he needs to stretch the field through the air more, but he should have a bigger day than Francois, whose weapons will need to find a way to break free of names like Minkah Fitzpatrick. 

Granted, ESPN’s Lee Corso picked Florida State to come out ahead in this one because of its vaunted defense. Given the teams involved, it isn’t hard to see why one could swing either way, though. 

Still, Saban and the Crimson Tide don’t lose openers often and the experience factor at key spots will be enough for a late game-changing play to squeeze out this win. 

Prediction: Alabama 27, Florida State 24


Stats and information via unless otherwise specified.