The biggest matchup of Week 1 (according to the rankings) will pit two of the nation's top teams against one another in a classic ACC-SEC showdown. No. 4 Florida State and No. 11 Ole Miss will meet in Orlando, Fla. for a Labor Day matchup sure to finish off college football's kickoff with a bang.
The Rebels and Seminoles prepare the fall's first proper Monday night of football with a neutral site showdown between two teams, who have won a combined 83 games between them in the past four seasons. Hugh Freeze has increased his win total every year he's been in Oxford, but he'll almost certainly have to get past FSU to have a chance at 11 victories this fall. Jimbo Fisher took a step back in 2015 by *only* winning 10 games. Now he sees an opening night win as the first step on the road back to the College Football Playoff.
A defeat on Monday is unlikely to disqualify either team from football's final four, but it will certainly make things harder for the loser. Six of the eight teams to ever play in the season-ending bracket had one loss on their record -- no team has ever made it in with two. That means either Ole Miss or Florida State will have to run the table from week two on out to keep its hopes for a national title alive in 2016.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: Florida State is favored by 4.5 points.
Three big things to know
1. Chad Kelly's redemption tour takes its final lap in 2016. The former Clemson quarterback found the right fit when he floated to Ole Miss after being dismissed from Dabo Swinney's program. The senior was named a preseason All-American this fall and will be the key to keeping the Rebels near the top of the SEC after losing three first-round talents this spring. His work behind center won't just set Mississippi up for aerial success; here's how Kelly's presence paves the way for a potent running attack.
2. Dalvin Cook has a score to settle with Heisman voters. The explosive Seminole tailback ran for 1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns last fall but still couldn't score a spot among the award's finalists. Despite being one of the nation's top returning players, he's got just the fourth-best odds to win the nation's top individual prize this preseason. Carving up an SEC defense would go a long way making his case to the Heisman voters this December.
3. As good as Cook is, Florida State may only go as far as Deondre Francois can take them. The redshirt freshman will start the season at quarterback with Sean Maguire sidelined by a stress fracture in his foot. Francois can usurp Maguire's role outright with a big performance in September, but that all starts against a Rebel defense that ranked first in scoring defense in 2015. That's a tough test for a veteran passer, let alone a 19-year old making his first college start.
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