Welcome to week 3 of the college football season. Although there will be one game on the schedule that has EVERYONE talking (more on that later), there still are some potential gems to be found on the docket. Also please send your thoughts and prayers to everyone in Colorado while they go through a trying time of need. Onward to Week 3!
(16) UCLA at (23) Nebraska NOON ABC
- A Pac-12 vs Big 10 battle to start the festivities. Last year's battle in Los Angeles was a thrilling high scoring affair that ended up a 36-30 Bruins victory. This year's contest promises to be the same as most of the stars from 2012 return on both sides. Can Jim Mora Jr (Titans fans should be well aware of Senior's *ahem* off the cuff exploits) lead the Bruins into rowdy Memorial Stadium and win? The Bruins feature two impact defenders in DE Cassius Marsh (99) and LB/DE Anthony Barr (11). Barr is among the nation's best pass rushers after a standout 2012 when he racked up double digit sacks and multiple wow games. Marsh has been a faithful Bruin that was current Green Bay Packer end Datone Jones' caddy last year. Offensively, UCLA is led by RS Sophomore QB Brett Hundley (17) and SR WR Shaq Evans (1)
Nebraska prospects: WR Kenny Bell (80), QB Taylor Martinez (3), RB Ameer Abdullah (8)
Tennessee at (2) Oregon 3:30 pm ABC
- The new look Volunteers head to notoriously loud Autzen Stadium to take on the high powered Ducks. Silver lining for Tennessee? The Ducks have "struggled" to get going early this year. Oregon has a good defensive line and secondary but the linebackers have been off balance (expected as they lost something ridiculous like 85% of their tackles from 2012's LB corps via graduation and draft). Ducks RS Sophomore QB Marcus Mariota (8) is one of the top draft eligible quarterbacks this year. Of course everyone knows about the electrifying RB De'Anthony Thomas (6) already. The defense is led by junior CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (14). He's one of the nation's best corners nobody knows about due to the coverage of the offense. You almost have to throw out whatever the score ends up being to properly evaluate the Vols defense in this one. I really like LB AJ Johnson (45) and DT Daniel McCullers. OL Antonio "Tiny" Richardson is graded out to be a first round pick right now.
GAME OF THE WEEK
(1) Alabama at (6) Texas A&M 3:30 pm CBS *College Gameday site*
- Oh yes, here we are at the most anticipated and certainly most talked about game of the year. Can Nick Saban return the favor to the Aggies in College Station after a crushing loss last year at Tuscaloosa? Will Johnny Football do something stupid and be gratuitously flamboyant about it? Alabama's rebuilt OL struggled some in their opener vs Virginia Tech thus superstar RB TJ Yeldon couldn't get going. OT Cyrus Kouandijo is projected to be a first round pick in April. S HaHa Clinton-Dix has struggled to open the campaign by doing Michael Griffin like things. He has slid some into the late first to early second range. A&M has one of the best tackles in the country in Jake Matthews, who should be a familiar name around these parts as Bruce's son. The Aggies also have a talented senior receiver in Mike Evans. Then there is the media whirlwind called Johnny Football. Despite all the drama that makes TO blush, he's shown tremendous improvement in his throws from the pocket.
BONUS Game of The Week
Nevada at (10) Florida State 3:30 pm ESPN
- After a scintillating debut as Florida State's starting QB, redshirt freshman QB Jameis Winston looks to follow up on a 25-27 356 yards 4 TD effort against Nevada after a week off. The defense is trying to find its paces after losing so many stars to the NFL and various coaching changes. FSU's defense is led by CB/S LaMarcus Joyner, LB Christian Jones, DL Timmy Jernigan, S/LB/RB Karlos Williams, and DL Eddie Goldman. Joyner is a recent convert to CB that's getting a lot of love from scouts despite his small height (5'8) with a 6'2ish wingspan. Jones is a freak athlete that played really well in the middle against Pittsburgh after not playing there at all. He was used primarily as a blitzer up the middle. If you're looking for a how to guide for 80s/90s NFL fashion, FSU is the right place. FB Chad Abram (41) rocks the Brian Cox neck roll perfectly. RB James Wilder, JR wears the midriff baring cutoff jersey of yesteryear (how it doesn't violate NCAA rules is beyond me).
LATE NIGHT TACO BELL RUN GAME
(20) Wisconsin at Arizona State 10:30 pm ESPN
- The only requirement to play QB for the Badgers, you ask? You must have the ability to execute a turn and handoff move. This could be an entertaining game to cap off the evening. Wisconsin features an underrated receiver in Jared Abbrederis and a guy who sat around for a looooong time behind Montee Ball in James White. When playing in relief of Ball last year, White averaged over 11 yards a carry, rushing for over 600 yards. Arizona State has an impressive DE/DT Will Sutton waiting for White. Sutton has the talent to go in the first round in 2014.