Sports pullout:

Nos. 1 and 3 face off with a lot on line

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - INSIDE - Pa­trick Stevens @D1s­course Spe­cial for USA TO­DAY Sports

Pre­view­ing Alabama-Florida State and col­lege foot­ball’s other top matchups, NFL and base­ball team-by-team notes, MLB box scores and stats.

A look at the the top Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion games for the up­com­ing week:

NO. 1 ALABAMA VS. NO. 3 FLORIDA STATE IN AT­LANTA

Sept. 2, 8 p.m., ABC Con­sen­sus line: Alabama by 7

Both teams have vi­sions of play­ing on the fi­nal day of the sea­son in At­lanta. A vic­tory in the same sta­dium that will host the Jan. 8 Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off na­tional cham­pi­onship game will surely help them get there.

The Crim­son Tide be­gin what they hope is their fifth na­tional cham­pi­onship run since 2009, and they have enough pieces back from a team that came within a few sec­onds of a ti­tle last year to make those dreams real­is­tic. QB Jalen Hurts is com­ing off a stel­lar fresh­man year, but he and Alabama will have a tough test against a Florida State team that gets back S Der­win James, who missed most of last year with a knee in­jury.

This is a chance for Florida State QB Deon­dre Fran­cois to demon­strate how much progress he’s made be­tween his red­shirt fresh­man and sopho­more years. The stingy Alabama de­fense, an­chored by ver­sa­tile DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, will try to flum­mox the Semi­noles, who must re­place work­horse RB Dalvin Cook. Touted fresh­man RB Cam Ak­ers could emerge as the pri­mary re­place­ment. Who wins? Alabama 27-21

NO. 7 WASH­ING­TON AT RUT­GERS

Sept. 1, 8 p.m., Fox Sports 1 Con­sen­sus line: Wash­ing­ton by 271⁄ 2

Af­ter break­ing out last sea­son and earn­ing a Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off berth, the Huskies be­gin a man­age­able non-con­fer­ence slate with a trip east. Wash­ing­ton re­turns QB Jake Brown­ing and RB Myles Gaskin, who should get off to good starts against a Scar­let Knights bunch com­ing off a 2-10 sea­son. Rut­gers has much to im­prove; it ranked last na­tion­ally in to­tal of­fense and 126th (of 128) in stop­ping the run. Who wins? Wash­ing­ton 41-7

MARY­LAND AT NO. 23 TEXAS

Sept. 2, noon, Fox Sports 1 Con­sen­sus line: Texas by 18

A new era be­gins in Austin as Tom Herman, who coached at Hous­ton the last two years, takes over the Longhorns for fired Charlie Strong. Texas is com­ing off three con­sec­u­tive los­ing sea­sons, but Strong’s re­cruit­ing has left an im­proved ta­lent base in place, in­clud­ing QB Shane Buechele and LB Ma­lik Jef­fer­son. The Ter­rap­ins en­ter the sea­son with con­sid­er­able quar­ter­back ques­tions and a de­fense in need of im­prove­ment, but RB Ty John­son av­er­aged 9.1 yards per carry last sea­son. Who wins? Texas 45-17 Sept. 2, 3:30 p.m., ABC Con­sen­sus line: Michi­gan by 31⁄

Jim Har­baugh’s Michi­gan team is young, though ex­pec­ta­tions re­main high. Florida had a three­man com­pe­ti­tion for its start­ing quar­ter­back job, with re­turnee Luke Del Rio, Notre Dame grad­u­ate trans­fer Ma­lik Zaire and red­shirt fresh­man Feleipe Franks in the mix. Ga­tors re­ceiver James Robin­son, cited for mar­i­juana pos­ses­sion last week, won’t play. Who wins? Florida 17-16

TEM­PLE AT NOTRE DAME

Sept. 2, 3:30 p.m., NBC Con­sen­sus line: Notre Dame by 171⁄ 2

The Fight­ing Ir­ish can fi­nally put an off­sea­son of hear­ing about last year’s 4-8 nose­dive in the past. Coach Brian Kelly re­tooled his coach­ing staff and will have a new quar­ter­back in Bran­don Wim­bush. The de­fend­ing Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cham­pion Owls had their own off­sea­son tran­si­tion, hir­ing Florida as­sis­tant coach Ge­off Collins when coach Matt Rhule left for Bay­lor. Who wins? Notre Dame 27-17

WEST­ERN MICHI­GAN AT NO. 4 SOUTH­ERN CAL­I­FOR­NIA

Sept. 2, 5:15 p.m., Pac-12 Net­works Con­sen­sus line: South­ern Cal by 27

Ex­pec­ta­tions are high in Los An­ge­les as the Tro­jans have one of the top quar­ter­backs (Sam Darnold) and run­ning backs (Ron­ald Jones) in the coun­try and en­ter the sea­son on a nine-game win­ning streak. West­ern Michi­gan com­pleted a per­fect reg­u­lar sea­son but lost coach P.J. Fleck to Min­nesota and WR Corey Davis yet still could be dan­ger­ous. Who wins? South­ern Cal 42-14

NO. 17 LOUISVILLE VS. PURDUE IN IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS

Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m., Fox Con­sen­sus line: Louisville by 241⁄ 2

Louisville QB La­mar Jack­son’s at­tempt to join for­mer Ohio State star Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heis­man Tro­phy win­ners be­gins with a game against re­build­ing Purdue. Jack­son threw for 3,543 yards and rushed for 1,571 yards last sea­son, and he’ll face a Boil­er­mak­ers de­fense that ranked 125th against the run last 2 year. New Purdue coach Jeff Brohm is a for­mer as­sis­tant to Louisville coach Bobby Petrino. Who wins? Louisville 48-20

BYU VS. NO. 12 LSU IN NEW OR­LEANS

Sept. 2, 9:30 p.m., ESPN Con­sen­sus line: LSU by 141⁄ 2

The Tigers, in their first full sea­son un­der Ed Org­eron, have a new of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor in Matt Canada but are still built to run thanks to a stout of­fen­sive line and ju­nior RB Der­rius Guice (1,387 yards in 2016). BYU turns back to 2015 QB starter Tan­ner Mangum (3,377 pass­ing yards, 23 TDs that year). Who wins? LSU 24-14

TEXAS A&M AT UCLA SEPT. 3, 7:30 P.M., FOX

Con­sen­sus line: UCLA by 41⁄ 2

This could be a piv­otal year for both coaches. Texas A&M has per­fected the hot start fol­lowed by a late-sea­son fade un­der Kevin Sum­lin, and the Ag­gies have fin­ished 8-5 in each of the last three sea­sons. UCLA slumped to 4-8 last year, with QB Josh Rosen’s sea­son-end­ing shoul­der in­jury ex­ac­er­bat­ing mat­ters. The Bru­ins have ta­lent, and a Jim Mora-en­gi­neered turn­around could hap­pen with Rosen back. \Who wins? Texas A&M 34-31

NO. 20 WEST VIR­GINIA VS. NO. 22 VIR­GINIA TECH IN LAN­DOVER, MD.

Sept. 3, 7:30 p.m., ABC Con­sen­sus line: Vir­ginia Tech by 41⁄

The teams meet for the first time since 2005 in a matchup of ex­cel­lent de­fenses. Both teams are break­ing in new quar­ter­backs, with red­shirt fresh­man Josh Jack­son lead­ing the Hok­ies. West Vir­ginia turns to Florida trans­fer Will Grier, who was sus­pended in 2015 for a banned sub­stance be­fore mov­ing to Mor­gan­town. Who wins? Vir­ginia Tech 27-20

GE­OR­GIA TECH VS. NO. 24 TEN­NESSEE IN AT­LANTA

Sept. 4, 8 p.m., ESPN Con­sen­sus line: Ten­nessee by 3

This game will be played at Mercedes-Benz Sta­dium. The Yel­low Jack­ets were rocked when FB Dedrick Mills was dis­missed from the pro­gram in the mid­dle of camp. They will run its usual triple-op­tion of­fense and could find suc­cess against a Vol­un­teers de­fense that ranked 104th against the run last year. Ju­nior Quin­ten Dor­mady and red­shirt fresh­man Jar­rett Guar­an­tano com­peted for the Vols QB job Who wins? Ge­or­gia Tech 27-24

Times East­ern. Odds for con­sen­sus lines pro­vided by Sport­sDirect Inc.

JAMIE RHODES, USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Florida State is bank­ing on im­prove­ment from quar­ter­back Deon­dre Fran­cois, who com­pleted 58.8% of his passes in 2016.

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