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ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit will call one of the biggest regular season games in college football history next week.

No. 1 Alabama will face No. 3 Florida State in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday in a matchup that will surely have implications for the national championship.

In fact, Herbstreit went so far as to say the kickoff game itself “almost feels like a national championship.”

“… I can’t recall a game that had (No.) 1 against (No.) 3 in the first game of the season,” Herbstreit told 247Sports. … I’ll get Bear on that because it’s a great question. But off the top of my head, and I’ve called a lot of these games in Arlington, down at Jerry Jones’ place and the games in Atlanta to kind of kick off the season where there are teams from big conferences coming together. I can remember one year LSU played Oregon in the opening game, and I was really excited about that game.

“But this has a feel, I don’t know how you feel, but it almost feels like a national championship game Week 1. And what’s funny to me, if the game is competitive and no matter who wins, the loser’s going to drop one or two spots in the poll. They’re still right in the position to do whatever they need to do. In fact, I have both of these teams in the playoff. In the preseason, ESPN asked me to pick who I kind of forecast to make it into the playoff, and I think Alabama and Florida State will end up making it, despite playing in Week 1.

Alabama looks to avenge its national championship loss to Clemson in January’s College Football Playoff Final. The Tide finished the regular season with an undefeated record and won its fifth SEC Championship under head coach Nick Saban.

Florida State fell short of high preseason expectations last season, but still finished with the second best overall record in the ACC. The Seminoles return the majority of their starting offense, including promising quarterback Deondre Francois, as well as nine players on what is expected to be one of the best defensive units in program history.

Herbstreit gives the ultimate praise to Alabama and Florida State ahead of Week 1 matchup Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Jason has contributed to numerous websites in the past covering a wide range of sports including SEC football for the past four seasons. He began his journalism career as a student journalist at the University of Tennessee where he covered the Vols for the student radio station and newspaper. Here’s ...Read more
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