Always a melancholy feeling when I start typing in double digit numbers to identify the week in the college season. We are now down the home stretch to anther College Football season, that I just couldn’t wait to get started, seemingly not that long ago at all. The hilite of the week of course has #1 ranked Alabama playing at LSU later tonight, but there are also some decent, competitive match-ups earlier today which also feature some pretty significant 2017 draft prospects. Enjoy!
PITTSBURGH (5-3) by 4 @ MIAMI (F) (4-4) 12:30/ET ACC NETWORK
The PANTHERS have a healthy dose of above average to really good 2017 pro prospects. And they have played a pretty tough schedule to date. Miami came out of the gate really fast at 4-0 but injuries and a tough schedule of their own have caught up with them. The Hurricanes have one of the top passing combos in the country in QB/BRAD KAAYA and WR/STACY COLEY. PITT features cancer survivor JAMES CONNER running behind an NFL size, and in most cases talent level, OL. Even though he is size challenged PITT DE/EJUAN PRICE is a TFL/Sack demon for the Panthers. I will give the nod to PITT based on overall talent, but it is a home game for he Hurricanes so don’t count them out.
#5 EJUAN PRICE/ER/DE 6’0/250 #3 STACY COLEY/WR 6’1/195
#24 JAMES CONNER/RB 6’2/230 JR #6 JAMAL CARTER/S 6’1/209
#53 DORIAN JOHNSON/OG 6’5/300 #15 BRAD KAAYA/QB 6’4/210 JR
#54 TYRIQUE JARRETT/DT 6’3/340 #26 RAYSHAWN JENKINS/S 6’2/208
#69 ADAM BISNOWATY/OT 6’6/300 #63 DANNY ISADORA/OG 6’4/310
#83 SCOTT ORNDOFF/TE 6’5/265
FLORIDA (6-1) by 3 @ ARKANSAS (5-3); 3:30/ET CBS
Once again HC JIM McELWAIN is winning with a lot if defense and smoke and mirrors on Offense. Other than the 38 points they gave up to Tennessee in their only loss the Gators have not allowed more than 14 points to any other opponent. Once Coach Jim gets another couple of recruiting classes under his belt, which I assume would include a top notch QB prospect, the Gators could become as dominant in the SEC East as ‘Bama has become in the West. Florida goes 4-deep at RB with underclassmen, and some very explosive, young wideouts. We could probably call Florida DB-U. TEEZ TABOR/CB & MATCUS MAYE/S are both ticketed for the NFL in 2017. Arkansas is a big physical team, with a well rounded run/pass attack Offense, but too many holes on D. QB/AUSTIN ALLEN/#8 has been a pleasant surprise replacing his brother BRANDON as the starter. And his receiving corps are all likely to make NFL rosters in the next two years. Expect a low scoring affair with the old formula of least turnovers making the GATORS prevail. This will be very physical folks!
#20 MARCUS MAYE/S 6’0/207 #4 KEON HATCHER/WR 6’2/218
#31 JALEN TABOR/CB 6’0/191 JR #48 DEATRICH WISE/DE 6’5/280
#34 ALEX ANZALONE/LB 6’3/244 #70 DAN SKIPPER/OT 6’10/326
#40 JARRAD DAVIS/LB 6’2/240 #80 DREW MORGAN/WR 6’1/180
#91 JOEY IVIE/DT 6’3/295 #83 JEREMY SPRINKLE/TE 6’6/255
OREGON (3-5) @ SOUTHERN CAL (5-3) by 5; 7PM/ET ESPN
His name is SAM DARNOLD/#14 and he’s the next great PAC-!2 QB for the Trojans. After a 1-3 start to the season under MAX BROWNE’s leadership, HC CLAY HELTON went to the RS Frosh and the team has gone 4-0 since then regularly lighting it up for 40+ points per game. Expect more of that against a very weak DUCKS D, which new DC BRADY HOKE needs to fix for 2017. SMITH-SCHUSTER & ROGERS may be one of the best WR tandems in the nation. ROYCE FREEMAN has had an up and down season running the ball, with much of the issue seemingly being a weak OL. But Oregon has some skill position tools to work with and can score with their true Frosh QB JUSTIN HERBERT improving weekly. This should be a very high scoring West Coast shootout. I’ll take the Trojans, but…
OREGON SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
#1 AARON SPRINGS/CB 5’11/205 #1 DARREUS ROGERS/WR 6’1/215
#7 DARREN CARRINGTON/WR 6’2/195 JR #9 JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER/WR 6’2/215 JR
#21 ROYCE FREEMAN/RB 5’11/230 JR #2 ADOREE JACKSON/CB/RS 5’11/185 JR
#81 EVAN BAYLIS/TE 6’6/250 #72 CHAD WHEELER/OT 6’6/300
#85 PHARAOH BROWN/TE 6’6/245 #73 ZACH BANNER/OT 6’9/340
NEBRASKA (7-1) @ OHIO STATE (7-1) by 10; 8PM/ET ABC
Both teams are 7-1, but that is where the comparables end. The inexperienced Buckeyes are still growing as a team, while the Huskers will be hard pressed to keep winning with a roster that has maxed out it’s ability getting to 7-1. I think the Buckeyes will have this game in hand by halftime. J.T. BARRETT/QB/#16 has been an on-again, off-again Heisman candidate and he needs some big numbers in this game to reassert himself after two straight mediocre efforts. It would be an understatement to say HC URBAN MEYER will have his team ready to roll as they pint toward Michigan at the end of the month. MIKE RILEY and his staff have really done a fine job getting their team to this point, but the carriage is about to become a pumpkin again.
NEBRASKA OHIO STATE
#34 TERRELL NEWBY/RB 5’10/200 #5 RAEKWON McMILLAN/ILB 6’2/240 JR
#84 SAM COTTON/TE 6’5/250 #8 GAREON CONLEY/CB 6’0/195 JR
#25 NATHAN GERRY/SS 6’2/210 #54 BILLY PRICE/OG 6’4/315 JR
#52 JOSH BANDERAS/LB 6’3/240 #59 TYQUAN LEWIS/DE 6’4/260 JR
#55 KEVIN MAURICE/DT 6’3/300 #65 PAT ELFEIN/OC 6’3/300
… #16 JT BARRETT/QB/6-2/225/JR
… #2 MARSHON LATTIMORE/CB/6-0/195/RSO
… #24 MALIK HOOKER/6-2/205/RSO
#1 Alabama (8-0) and #13 LSU (5-2); 8:00 PM ET; CBS … This game had all the potential to be THE game of the year in college football, but a couple of tough losses by LSU have taken some of the luster of the contest. At the same time, though, the question around college football is “can anybody beat Alabama?” and with LSU at home in front of what is arguably the most raucous crowd in the country, this could very well be test. Certainly, NFL scouts will be there in droves; indeed, there is absolutely no reason for any team not to have reps in Baton Rouge on Saturday night as these may be the two most talented overall teams in all college. Indeed, the only reason that LSU also isn’t undefeated is that for whatever reason the Bayou Tigers just have not been able to find a decent college QB to complete the picture. Otherwise, the numbers tell the tale. Each team has a pair of players currently ranked in the top 10 on the GBN Big Board and 7 of our top 17 prospects will be playing in this game. Overall, Alabama has 8 players in the top 100, while LSU has seven; for the record no other team has more than 6.
For the record, Alabama’s two ten prospects are DE Jonathan Allen and junior LT Cam Robinson, while star RB Len Fournette, who appears to be getting closer to 100% after struggling through the first half of the campaign with a nagging injury, along with junior FS Jamal Adams represent LSU in the top ten. At the same time, Alabama has as many as four other guys with legit top 20 grades including redshirt sophomore CB Marlon Humphrey, OLB Tim Williams, one of the most explosive edge rusher in the country, MLB Reuben Foster, and TE O.J. Howard, all of whom rate as one of the 1-2 prospects at their respective positions, while SS Eddie Jackson, OLB Ryan Anderson, and 5T DE Da’Shawn Hand have top 100 potential.
While Alabama could dominate this year’s opening round, LSU could be the leader of the second-day pack as the Tigers feature as many as a half a dozen second or third round prospects including WRs Malachi Dupree and Travin Dural, C Ethan Pocic, CB Tra’Davious White, ILB Kendell Beckwith and junior DT Davon Godchaux. And for future reference check out emerging LSU sophomore DE Arden Key (#49, 6-5, 235) who has all the look of a possible top 5 in 2018.
#74 OT Cam Robinson, 6-5, 330, JR #7 RB Len Fournette, 6-0, 230, JR
#50 OG Alphonse Taylor, 6-5, 345 #15 WR Malachi Dupree, 6-2,1 90, JR
#88 TE OJ Howard, 6-5, 245 #83 WR Travin Dural, 6-1, 205
#93 DE Jonathan Allen, 6-3, 295 #77 C Ethan Pocic, 6-6, 310
#9 DE Da’Shawn Hand, 6-3, 280 #76 OG Josh Boutte, 6-4, 345
#54 DE Dalvin Tomlinson, 6-3, 305 # 92 DE Lewis Neal, 6-2, 265
#10 MLB Reuben Foster, 6-1, 240 #57 DT Davon Godchaux, 6-3, 300, JR
#56 LB Tim Williams, 6-3, 240 #52 LB Kendell Beckwith, 6-1, 255
#22 LB Ryan Anderson, 6-2, 255 #18 CB Tra’Davious White, 5-10, 195
#26 CB Marlon Humphrey, 6-1, 200, RSO #33 FS Jamal Adams, 6-0, 210
#4 SS Eddie Jackson, 6-0, 195
#99 PK Adam Griffith, 5-10, 195
#15 P JK Scott, 6-5, 200, JR
Enjoy your Saturday football folks. Within weeks we’ll be bemoaning the end of the season again.