#22 Texas at Oklahoma State NOON ABC
- The Longhorns pay a visit to always rowdy Boone T. Pickens Stadium to take on the Cowboys in what could be a critical Big 12 title decider down the road. Texas had a bye week to lick its wounds after a thrilling yet controversial loss to Cal in the waning seconds two weeks ago. Okie State lost a bitterly contested matchup with embattled Baylor last week 35-24. The Cowboys will be out to get that sour Central Michigan loss out of their mouths (CMU won on a last gasp play that shouldn't have counted). Defense will be optional in this game as both squads are giving up points and yards at a pretty good clip. Expect a wild and wacky shootout.
Texas prospects to watch
1. Tyrone Swoopes 6'4 249 ATH Senior
- Swoopes has finally found his niche in his senior season as the backup QB and "18 wheeler" Wildcat guy. He's had a turbulent career where he was thrown into the fire too early and suffered through ill suited coaching changes. Well built for his role. Great teammate. A bigger Jake Locker as a passer if you will. Projects as a TE or FB at the next level.
2. Paul Boyette Jr, 6'3 317 DT Senior
- The Longhorns' best interior defensive lineman. Malcolm Brown who? He's a big body tackle that can play both a classic DT and 3-4 NT.
3. Malik Jefferson 6'3 238 LB Sophomore
- I rarely if ever shout out underclassmen but Jefferson is the real deal. He's one of the best inside linebackers in the country right now. Instincts and athleticism are off the charts good. He should declare as a junior after next year if form holds.
Oklahoma State prospect to watch
1. Mason Rudolph 6'3 230 QB Junior
- Rudolph is this year's Bryce Petty in that he is in a pass happy system that won't feature a lot of pro style schematics. Oklahoma State's offense is a pistol based one read and go system with some shotgun looks. Rudolph looks the part with exceptional arm talent and other physical traits but the system hampers him on the mental side of things. His deep ball is a thing of beauty when he can get it off.
#8 Wisconsin at #4 Michigan 3:30 PM ABC
- The undefeated Badgers travel to Ann Arbor for a visit with the Fighting Khakis. Wisconsin is coming off a dominating 30-6 win over Michigan State. The Wolverines are coming off a 49-10 pasting of Penn State. The Badgers already have two quality wins over Power 5 opponents (LSU and MSU). As usual, they rely heavily on the run game to balance out breaking in a new QB. Michigan has Jabrill Peppers, possibly the next two way Heisman candidate in their history. Can the stingy Badgers defense stop Peppers and company? Will the Wolverines machine roll on at home? Watch for Michigan TE Jake Butt (no really, that's his last name) to get some run as well.
Wisconsin prospect to watch
1. Corey Clement 5'10 227 RB Senior
- Clement was the heir to Melvin Gordon's throne as the next great Badgers RB in 2015. It wasn't a banner year for him as he dealt with injuries that cost most of the year and ended with a fight in November. 2016 looks to be much brighter for him as he's healthy and let go of the selfish ego issues. A typical Wisconsin style big back with a decent amount of athleticism.
Michigan prospect to watch
1. Jabrill Peppers 6'1 205 S RS Sophomore
- Peppers might be the most exciting player not named Lamar Jackson in all of college football. He's a versatile athlete that does everything for the Wolverines. A safety by trade but moonlights as a returner and receiver/running back on occasion. Athleticism is very good. Honey Badger 2.0 without the off field troubles. He has Michigan fans harkening back to the college days of the great Charles Woodson.
North Carolina at #12 Florida State 3:30 PM ESPN
- Florida State plays host to the Tar Heels in this pivotal ACC matchup. UNC needed a last minute touchdown to get a win over a plucky Pittsburgh squad last week. FSU finally got Dalvin Cook going to the tune of 267 yards in a 55-35 blowout over South Florida that wasn't particularly close. North Carolina features a high powered spread attack while the Noles feature an offense that is multiple in theory but with a RS Freshman QB, its hit or miss at times. This game could be deemed the Who Wants to Coach LSU Bowl. Both Larry Fedora and Jimbo Fisher are seen as candidates for the vacancy in Baton Rouge. Expect a shootout as FSU's defense is porous and generous to opposing offenses.
UNC prospects to watch
1. Caleb Peterson 6'5 300 OG Senior
- Landon Turner who? Peterson has the potential to make Turner a thing of the past.
2. Ryan Switzer 5'10 185 WR Senior
- The last name may sound familiar as Ryan is the grandson of legendary Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry. Switzer is purely a slot receiver and return man in the mold of a Wes Welker as he lacks ideal measurables for the NFL. He has several return touchdowns in his career. Has played both inside and outside receiver positions.
Florida State prospects to watch:
1. Dalvin Cook 5'11 206 RB Junior
- While Leonard Fournette is the best pure running back in the country, Cook is a better athlete at the position. Like his LSU counterpart, he is a true junior and likely early entry candidate. Cook possesses elite speed and agility. He has bulked up considerably over the offseason to better handle some nagging injuries that have hampered him in the past. However, Cook has had some fumble issues during the big games, particularly in the bowls.
2. DeMarcus Walker 6'2 273 DL Senior
- Walker put on a clinic in the second half of the opener against Ole Miss. Posted 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and multiple hurries in 25 minutes of game action. He put the defense on his back and won FSU the game essentially. An above average athlete without a set position. Better suited inside as a tackle at the next level.
3. Roderick Johnson 6'6 308 OT Junior
- The Seminoles' franchise left tackle since his freshman season, where he displaced current Cleveland Brown center Cam Erving to center. Johnson had a miserable 2016 debut, frequently getting pushed by the Rebels defensive front. He was a major liability in pass protection. More of a road grader right tackle than a left tackle in the pros.
#3 Louisville at #5 Clemson 8 PM ABC
- The game of the year so far on paper. Two of the most explosive offenses in the country meet each other in what amounts to a win or go home scenario in the ACC Atlantic. The Cardinals can essentially lock up the division with a win with what amounts to two game lead. If Clemson wins, then the Clemson vs. FSU game gets very interesting in terms of the division race. The offenses get all the love but these two teams have high quality defenses that rank among the nation's best. College GameDay is in town. Expect a wild one.
Louisville prospects to watch:
1. Devonte Fields 6'3 245 DE RS Senior
- Fields had a monstrous 2015 campaign, putting up 11 sacks for the steady Cardinals defense. He took to the 3-4 like a duck to water after transitioning from being a 4-3 end while at TCU. I wrote about him a lot last year. Fields has some off field questions as he was dismissed from TCU despite winning Big 12 Freshman POY. Served as Lorenzo Mauldin's understudy last year.
2. Lamar Jackson 6'3 203 QB Sophomore
- The hype is real and legit, folks. Jackson is decimating defenses left and right. He's only a true sophomore so he can't declare for the draft just yet. Skillset wise, he possesses Vince Young athleticism with a much more refined knowledge of the pass game, similar to that of Marcus Mariota. Above average arm talent. Scheme is ideal for the next level as Bobby Petrino runs a pro style offense with some spread elements mixed in.
3. Josh Harvey-Clemons 6'4 228 S RS Senior
- JHC initially played for Georgia but was dismissed from the program for multiple suspensions. At Louisville, the off field problems have been absent. He's an athletic specimen that knows how and when to use his above average size in pass coverage. Run defense is where he shines the most. Fundamentally sound tackler that rarely lets a play get by him. Frame is an issue as he's a long and lanky defender that easily gets pushed around by more physically imposing receivers and tight ends. Shaq Thompson 2.0.
Clemson prospects to watch
1. DeShaun Watson 6'2 210 QB Junior
- The nation's best quarterback prospect this year. Watson, if he stays healthy and produces like he's expected to, should be the top pick next year. He has all the intangibles, especially toughness because he beat South Carolina during his freshman year on a torn ACL. His game is similar to Teddy Bridgewater.
2. Mike Williams 6'4 210 WR Junior
- Williams returns to action as he missed the entirety of the 2015 season after injuring his neck in a collision with the goal post during the first game. He has a ton of speed and agility similar to former teammate, Steelers WR Martavis Bryant. Great route runner as well.
3. Cordrea Tankersley 6'1 200 CB Senior
- Mackensie Alexander who? Tankersley has that kind of ability. He is the veteran and defensive general of the Tigers secondary going through a rebuilding phase. Fundamentally sound as a tackler. Work ethic is good. One of the top corner prospects in the country.
4. Carlos Watkins 6'3 305 DT RS Senior
- The next great Tigers defensive lineman in the factory. Not the best athlete in the world but gets the job done in steady manner. Knows how to use his size to leverage his lack of athleticism. Projects as a nose tackle in a 3-4 or needs to be paired with a more athletic tackle in a 4-3.
Bonus games to watch
Notre Dame vs. Syracuse NOON ESPN
Oklahoma at #21 TCU 5 PM FOX
Arizona State at USC 8:30 PM FOX
Arizona at UCLA 10:30 PM ESPN