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WHO TO WATCH IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL THIS WEEKEND

    September 13

    After two weeks filled with really intriguing games, the third week of the college football season looks like it will be a little tamer. Still, there is at least one huge early season SEC contest on the docket as well as at least a couple of other potentially interesting interconference match-ups.
#6 GEORGIA (2-0) at #24 SOUTH CAROLINA (1-1); 3:30 PM ET; CBS ... The prssure will be intense on both teams when the Bulldogs face the Gamecocks in a key SEC East game Saturday afternoon. Prior to the season, UGA and USC2 were considered to be the favorites in the divison along with Florida. However, it is almost an elimination game for South Carolina which has already lost a conference game at home; indeed, the Gamecocks were shelled by Texas A&M in their season opener two weeks ago, while they weren't all that impressive last week against East Carolina. Meawnhile, Saturday's game is a huge opportunity for Georga to solidify its lofty ranking with a major road win early in the year, something they haven't been able to accomplish in recent seasons. Certainly, if it comes down to defense and the ground game, figure that Georgia may have something of an edge as the Dawgs feature one of the best 1-2 punches in the country at the position in juniors Todd Gurley (#3, 6-0, 230) who many consider to be the top prospect in the country at the position, and Keith Marshall (#4, 5-10, 220), who for good measure just may be the best backup RB in the country. The Dawgs also have a couple of top 100 type prospects on defense including MLB Ramik Wilson (#51, 6-1, 235) and junior OLB Jordan Jenkins (#59, 6-2, 245), while CB Damian Swann (5, 5-10, 180), DE Ray Drew (#47, 6-4, 275), WLB Amarlo Herrera (#52, 6-1, 245) and SS Corey Moore (#39, -1, 215) are later round candidates. Same for veteran QB Hutson Mason (#14, 6-3, 205), who takes over the offense from Aaron Murray, WR Michael Bennett (#82, 6-2, 205) and C David Andrews (#61, 6-2, 295), while the offensive line has an emerging prospect in athletic junior LT John Theus (#6-5, 300).

Like Georgia, South Carolina has an outstanding RB with first-round potential for the upcoming draft in junior Mike Davis (#28, 5-9, 225) who appears to be getting healthy just in time after being limited earlier in the month by bruised ribs. The Gamecocks are also breaking in anew QB with Connor Shaw off to the NFL - he's currently on Cleveland's practice squad - and like the Bulldogs had a senior-in-waiting in Dylan Thompson (#17, 6-2, 220), although like UGA's Mason, he's more a fringe prospect who's more likely to be a post-draft free agent signee rather than a late pick outright. South Carolina also features a veteran offensive line led by OG A.J. Cann (#50, 6-3, 320), arguably the top prospect at the position this year, while OTs Corey Robinson (#53, 6-7, 350) and junior Brandon Shell (#71, 6-5, 335) are both massive road-graders with enough athleticism to play at the next level; however, the unit has played to the expected level so far this season and the Gamecocks are looking for the OL to start to take over games. Whereas the USC offense has plenty of experience, the defense is in rebuilding mode and could start as few as two seniors against the Bulldogs and neither DT J.T. Surratt (#97, 6-2, 305) nor SS Brison Williams (#12, 5-10, 215) is more than a late-round or free-agent candidate.

#12 UCLA (2-0) at TEXAS (1-1); 8 PM ET; FOX ... The Bruins and Longhorns hook up in a nationally televised contest between two teams struggling to meet pre-season expecations. UCLA is still unbeaten but has been underwhelming in 1-TD wins over Virginia, in which the defense scored three of the Bruins' 4 TDs, and Memphis. Pro scouts in Austin will clearly be focused in UCLA junior QB Brett Hundley (#17, 6-3, 225), who entered the season rated as one of the 2015 draft's fab four top QB prospects. Hundley has completed almost 70% of his pass attempts so far this year while throwing for well over 300 yards per game, but still has some questioning his pocket poise. Meanwhile other Bruins to watch include MLB Eric Kendricks (#6, 6-0, 230), junior DT Ellis McCarthy (#90, 6-4, 300) and former Miami OG Malcolm Bunche (#78, 6-5, 320).

New head coach Charlie Strong's honeymoon at Texas lasted less than two weeks after the Longhorns were embarrassed 41-7 by BYU last week. And it could get worse, before it gets better for Texas with news that senior QB David Ash is out indefinitely because of concussion symptoms. He'll be replaced by sophomore Tyrone Swoopes (#18, 6-4, 220) who has some tools, but is still raw. Swoopes does have a pretty god back to hand-off to in Malcolm Brown (#28, 5-11, 230), a decent second-tier prospect for the upcoming draft, but the rest of the offense is unproven. Fortunately for Texas there is plenty of experince on defense including DE Cedric Reed (#88, 6-5, 275), DT Malcolm Brown (#90, 6-3, 320), LBs Jordan Hicks (#3, 6-2, 245) and Steve Edmond (#33, 6-2, 255), CB Quandre Diggs (#6, 5-10, 205) and FS Mykkele Thompson (#2, 6-1, 185).

    Bonus coverage: One of the great things about this time in the college football schedule is there are often chances to see good players from non-traditional power programs take on quality opposition from the Power 5 conferences. That’s been the case the past couple of weeks as East Carolina played at South Carolina last week and this week gets Virginia Tech (Noon ET; ESPN) fresh off its huge win over Ohio State in Columbus last Saturday night. This will be another real test for the terrific ECU passing combination of QB Shane Carden (#5, 6-2, 220) to WR Justin Hardy (#2, 5-11, 190).

    Have a great weekend!!!