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Titans Fan Guide: Roaring Rivalries Edition

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Several big rivalry games dot the college football landscape. Which prospects will rise and fall?

Jabrill Peppers. Do want.
Jabrill Peppers. Do want.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

#2 Michigan at Michigan State NOON ESPN

- The second ranked Fightin' Khaki Centipedes travel to East Lansing to take on a rebuilding Spartans program. Sparty has lost five games in a row coming into today's matchup. The Wolverines are coming off a 41-8 pasting of perennial Big Ten doormat Illinois last week (although Harbaugh vs. Lovie Smith was an interesting storyline). Last year, these two teams provided one of the best endings to a game ever when MSU returned a blocked punt for a touchdown to win it. Expect a close contest before Meeeechiiigan pulls away in the second half.

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.

MSU prospects to watch

1. Malik McDowell 6'5 282 DL Junior

- The latest in a long line of stout defensive lineman to come out of East Lansing. He really popped off the screen last year as a sophomore. A bit light for a defensive tackle so he might have to slide out to end. One of the best defensive linemen in all of college football. He makes everyone say Shilique Calhoun who? McDowell had an interesting recruitment in that both of his parents preferred differing schools and it was a last minute decision. Has been one of the best defensive linemen this year.

2. Riley Bullough 6'1 230 LB RS Senior

- The younger brother of former Spartans standout linebacker Max. He is a tackling machine with great instincts. The anchor of the traditionally great Sparty defense.

Miami at Notre Dame 3:30 PM NBC

- The "Catholics vs. Convicts" rivalry that was all the rage during the 1980s and 90s will be renewed once more in South Bend. Both programs have struggled after hot starts to the year. Miami is in a post FSU loss slide again. Notre Dame has lost four of the past five games (one being Hurricane Matthew aided to NC State). This will be an interesting game to watch aside from the storylines of yesteryear due to the top QBs playing. Brad Kaaya and Deshone Kizer have been trading punches for being the top ranked QB in the class. Watch for Miami true frosh LB Shaq Quarterman. He has lived up the to the great Miami LB legacy and then some thus far.

Miami prospects to watch

1. Brad Kaaya 6'4 210 QB Junior

- Kaaya could make an argument for the title of the nation's best quarterback prospect after a month's worth of games. He has all the intangibles that one look for in a quarterback such as work ethic and leadership. He was consistently one of the underclassmen last year that I harped on a lot. While not having the strongest arm in the class, he always seems to find a way to get it to his playmakers. Football IQ and instincts are very good. He knows when and how to utilize the fastball and the touch passes at the right moment in most cases. If I had to make a comp for him right now, I'd go with a bigger arm Colt McCoy (who's carved out a pretty decent living as a backup QB).

2. Stacy Coley 6'1 195 WR Senior

- Coley could end up being a better receiver than Phillip Dorsett in their Miami careers. Needs to improve his consistency in route running and hands. Needs to quit looking for the home run play and takes what the defense gives him. Experienced at both punt and kick returns. Needs to add more muscle to his frame as currently built, he won’t hold up for the rigors of an NFL schedule.

3. Chad Thomas 6'6 265 DE Junior

- Thomas has more than lived up to his five star billing from high school during his Canes career. He has been Miami's best defensive lineman the past couple of years. Remember Anthony Chickillo? Thomas is miles better than he is right 3now in terms of their college careers. A speed rush specialist that will likely need to add or lose weight depending on what his NFL team asks him to do.

Notre Dame prospect to watch

1. Deshone Kizer 6'4 230 QB RS Junior

- Everyone likes to give Clemson's DeShaun Watson love as the top QB prospect but I feel that Kizer is just as deserving of that title. He has all the physical tools in the world but what separates him from Watson is the mental aspect of the game. Kizer knows when and how to decipher whether to throw with touch or bring the fastball in nearly every situation. An underrated runner. Won't wow anyone with his running ability but knows when to run and live for another down. He's been steadily rising up the boards this year.

#8 Baylor at Texas 3:30 PM ABC

- The Bears travel to Austin armed with a soft 6-0 record against a mightily struggling Texas squad that's on the precipice of firing HC Charlie Strong. Theoretically, Baylor is the second best shot for the Big 12 conference to have a playoff invite. Texas has struggled on defense to the point that the DC was demoted and Strong took over playcalling duties to no effect. Expect a Baylor romp even with a new offensive system in place. Texas upset Baylor last year.

Baylor prospects to watch

1. KD Cannon 5'11 180 WR Junior

- Cannon has been a playmaker for the high powered Bears offense since he stepped foot on campus. An athletic marvel that can burn defenders deep with elite speed and agility. He has great returner abilities as well. Frame could stand to add more weight to hold up in the NFL. Has struggled in 2016 with injury and Baylor QBs not being good as once before. He could be compared to the Redskins' Desean Jackson.

2. Shock Linwood 5'9 200 RB RS Senior

- Linwood holds nearly every rushing record in Baylor history. He is a dynamic athlete with very good agility and above average speed. One of the more underrated backs in the class as a result of past systems and current regime. Projects as a third down specialist at the next level. Compares favorably to a faster Jacquizz Rodgers.

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.

#7 Nebraska at #11 Wisconsin ESPN 7 PM

- Wisconsin is arguably the hottest two loss team in the country and will host the unbeaten Cornhuskers in always rowdy Camp Randall. Nebraska hasn't reached these heights since the heyday of the Tom Osborne led dynastic teams of the early 90s. Wisconsin's only two losses came to top 5 ranked Michigan and Ohio State. The Badgers rely on the tried and true Wisky way of a dominating run game with a little passing thrown in. Nebraska is virtually the same. Expect a close contest in Madtown.

Nebraska prospect to watch

1. Jordan Westerkamp 5'11 200 WR RS Senior

- Westerkamp is Nebraska’s top returning receiver.. Due to his size limitations, he will be limited to the slot in the NFL unless he shows some improvement on the outside.

Wisconsin prospects 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.\

#3 Clemson at #12 Florida State 8 PM ABC

- Clemson travels to Tallahassee to meet with the 12th ranked Seminoles who could still be in the ACC Atlantic race with a win tonight. QB DeShaun Watson could add to his Heisman resume with a solid performance against an average Noles defense. The Noles have an emerging talent in redshirt freshman QB De'andre Francois. He's taken vicious hit after hit but has gotten up repeatedly. He led the Noles over Miami with a hurt throwing shoulder. After a few struggles, FSU RB Dalvin Cook is back to being Dalvin Cook. Watch for Clemson freshman DT Dexter Lawrence. He's on track to becoming the next great Tigers DL to go pro early. The winner of this game has gone on to rep the ACC Atlantic in the conference title game several years running (this year notwithstanding pending on what Louisville does).

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 and frame are 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.

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 "DeMarco (In Herbie parlance)" 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. Sealed the win over Miami with a blocked extra point try. He's a playmaker that you draft and figure it out later. 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. Continues to struggle in 2016. I don't know who has been worse, Cam Robinson of Alabama or Johnson.

Bonus games to watch

#10 West Virginia at Oklahoma State NOON Fox

#4 Washington at #17 Utah 3:30 PM Fox Sports 1

Texas Tech at TCU 3:30 PM ESPN2

Stanford at Arizona 11 PM Fox Sports 1