It's that time again for another edition of the Titans fan guide to the NCAA! This week has the two games that's been touted as the semifinal round of the BCS. There are lots of other good games as well on the docket. In our little conference tour, I'm going to travel out west and spotlight the Pac-12. Let's get it started in here! (*cues song*)
(4) Oregon Ducks at (17) USC Trojans Saturday 7 PM EST FOX
RB Kenjon Barner #24 (SR) - The new warhorse in Eugene after the record breaking and current 49er, LaMichael James graduated to the pros. He's not as tiny as most think he is, coming in at a sturdy 5'11 190+. Barner has had a great season so far even with the electrifying DAT in the backfield to split touches with.
DE Dion Jordan #96 (SR) - The Ducks best defensive lineman. He's light for his size (6'7 250) and fits as a hybrid DE/OLB role. Jordan could stand to add a few pounds during the process so he can put his hand in the dirt most of the time. Relatively new to the defensive side having converted to DE from TE in 2010.
LBs Michael Clay #46 and Kiko Alonso #47 (SRs) - Both are sound fundamental tackling machines that should translate to the pro game well.
QB Matt Barkley #7 (SR) - One of the top QB prospects in this class but that's an indictment of the class in general. Barkley is a product of all the fancy toys he has around him. He doesn't have a lot of athleticism and just enough arm strength to get it there.
S TJ McDonald #7 (SR) - A top 5 safety prospect that could've been a first round pick last year had he declared. He can play both safety spots without losing a step. McDonald is a lot better than Taylor Mays and should be a better pro.
WR Robert Woods #2 (JR) - The other half of arguably the best WR duo in the country. He's a speed demon with good size (6'1 190). Also a good route runner and has good hands
Washington at Cal Friday 9 PM EST ESPN2
This game features a duel between one of the best CBs and WRs in the country. Washington CB Desmond Trufant #6 vs Cal WR Keenan Allen #21. Allen will challenge Woods for the title of best draft eligible WR this year. Trufant is very underrated thanks to being the best player on a bad team. He also has NFL bloodlines as well (Seattle's Marcus Trufant's younger brother)
Arizona State vs (11) Oregon State Saturday 10:30 PM ESPN2
A matchup between Pac12 surprise Arizona State and national surprise Oregon State features ASU's DT Will Sutton (JR) and OSU's CB Jordan Poyer (SR). Both are hidden gems that should surprise a lot during the draft process.
Other notable games:
Virginia Tech at Miami (FL) Thursday 7:30 pm ESPN - Playoff game between ACC Coastal division rivals for the division. Winner will watch the Duke game very closely.
Mizzou at (7) Florida Saturday Noon ESPN2 - Can the Gators bounce back from a heartbreaking loss to the rival Dogs? Can Mizzou's DL Shelden Richardson #34 continue his success against a suddenly porous UF OL?
(12) Oklahoma at Iowa State Saturday Noon ABC - Will the Sooners bounce back from a pounding by Notre Dame against underrated Big 12 foe Iowa State?
(16) Texas A&M at (15) Miss State Saturday Noon ESPN - The rolling Aggies take on the reeling Bulldogs a week later after facing an Alabama school with far different results in each.
Pittsburgh at (3) Notre Dame Saturday 3:30 pm NBC - All World/Heisman 2nd place favorite LB Manti Te'o leads the Irish against a hapless Pittsburgh team
Ole Miss at (6) Georgia Saturday 3:30 pm CBS - The road to Atlanta and an invitation to get beat down by Bama (should they win) in early December goes through Athens. Stud LB Jarvis Jones and company better watch out for a dangerous Ole Miss team hungry to provide a signature upset for debutant HC Hugh Freeze.
(23) Texas at (18) Texas Tech Saturday 3:30 pm ABC/ESPN2 - The leaky Texas defense takes on the aerial assault that is Texas Tech on the road. Expect a shootout in this one if the Texas offense decides to show up.
(20) Nebraska at Michigan State Saturday 3:30 pm ABC/ESPN2 - Big Ten action so you already know it's going to a battle of the trenches. Bulldozer RB Le'Veon Bell takes on a stout Husker defense.
(24) Oklahoma State at (2) Kansas State Saturday 8 pm ABC - RB Joseph Randle and the Cowboys look to end the Heisman run of Collin Klein.
Editor's note: For August: Vanderbilt at Kentucky Noon ESPNU - The battle between basketball schools lol! I really like what Vandy WR Jordan Matthews has done this year. UK OL Larry Warford impressed me last week when he barely lost to Mizzou's Shelden Richardson in one on ones.
And now the grand finale:
(1) Alabama at (5) LSU Saturday 8 pm CBS - This is why college football is miles better than the NFL in terms of tradition, pageantry, history, and impact on a region. Not a lot beats a night game at the real Death Valley (sorry Clemson but Steve Spurrier is right) between two SEC superpowers. The game rests solely on the Tigers defense (DE Barkievious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, and S Eric Reid will have to play lights out for LSU to have a chance). Bama's offense is better than LSU's offense by a significantly wide margin. The winner will essentially lock up a spot in Atlanta and a spot in Miami for the national title game.