Nick Saban Says Florida State Will 'Probably' Be Ranked No. 1 Ahead of Alabama

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2017

Alabama head coach Nick Saban watches his team warm up before the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game between Alabama and Florida, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in Atlanta.(AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Alabama is set to face Florida State in the first game of the season, and head coach Nick Saban expects his squad to be the underdog.

"Florida State has a great team and a great program and will probably be No. 1 in the country," Saban said, per Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times.

The teams will play Sept. 2 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Florida State finished 10-3 last season but will return starting quarterback Deondre Francois as well as plenty of talent on defense.

Of course, Alabama also returns its quarterback in Jalen Hurts as well as running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough.

Bleacher Report's David Kenyon slotted the Crimson Tide at No. 1 in his early rankings, and the Seminoles landed at No. 2.

That would be a familiar position for Alabama, which was the preseason No. 1 in the Associated Press poll last year. The program has been in that spot three times in the last seven seasons and never started lower than third in that stretch.

Florida State has opened the season in the Top Five just twice since 2004, in 2014 (No. 1) and 2016 (No. 4).

Regardless of which team is No. 1, the battle between the two elite programs should be quite a way to kick off the 2017 season.