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Titans Fan Guide: Rumbling Rivalries 1 Edition

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Which prospects will shine the most in what looks to be an entertaining Saturday full of rivalry games?

Dalvin Cook. Can the Miami native lead the Noles to a victory over the Hurricanes?
Dalvin Cook. Can the Miami native lead the Noles to a victory over the Hurricanes?
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Texas at #20 Oklahoma NOON Fox Sports 1

"The Red River Rivalry"

- The annual showdown between the Longhorns and Sooners has little fanfare due to the struggles of each program. Texas HC Charlie Strong is likely coaching for his job in this one. Strong demoted DC Vance Bedford from his duties after a number of horrendous showings on that side of the ball. Oklahoma is coming off a 52-46 thriller over TCU last week while Texas got shredded by Oklahoma State 49-20. If Strong goes 0 for Oklahoma, he is most likely fired. Texas shocked the nation and upset the Sooners last year en route to saving Strong's job. Can they do it again? Will the Sooners get revenge and bring back the golden hat to Norman? The always scenic backdrop of the Texas State Fair is pleasing to the eye even if the football isn't as much.

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 prospects to watch

1. Samaje Perine 5'10 235 RB Junior

- Perine is in the running for best running back in the country discussion. He's a bowling ball downhill type of runner. A big back for his size. Has been really consistent for his first two years of college. Broke the short lived single game rushing record that current Chargers RB Melvin Gordon set with 427 yards a week after Gordon did it.

#25 Virginia Tech at #17 North Carolina 3:30 PM

- The upstart Hokies travel to Chapel Hill to take on a rising ACC Coastal contender Tar Heels program. UNC is coming off a huge last second win against Florida State. HC Larry Fedora could become a hot coaching candidate for programs that lose out in the Tom Herman sweepstakes. He runs a multiple spread option attack that had Clemson on the ropes last year in the ACC title game. New Hokies HC Justin Fuente is just starting after a successful stint at Memphis and got Denver Broncos QB Paxton Lynch drafted in the first round. Expect a wild shootout in this one.

Virginia Tech prospects to watch

1. Isiah Ford 6'2 190 WR Junior

Ford could be one of the nation's best receivers this year as new HC Justin Fuente unleashes a high power offensive attack in Blacksburg. He has been a consistent weapon for the Hokies during his career despite the general lack of offensive prowess displayed by VT during the latter stages of Frank Beamer's coaching regime (0-0 ties were celebrated like Super Bowl victories by Beamer, just a joke there, Bonzos). A tall, lanky receiver type like former Titan Justin Hunter that needs to add some more weight to hold up against NFL DBs. An excellent route runner that possesses a veteran savvy about little tricks to fool opposing defenders. Footwork is above average. Plus athleticism. Could go high as the third or fourth round on measureables alone.

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" or a "Kendall Wright" as he lacks ideal measurables for the NFL. He has several return touchdowns in his career. Has played both inside and outside receiver positions.

3. Mitch Trubisky 6'3 209 QB RS Junior

- He has taken the college football world by storm (well, relatively speaking, compared to Lamar Jackson). Served as Marquise Williams' understudy last year, playing in spot duty. Football IQ is above average. Rarely panics when pocket gets messy and delivers the ball with a consistent motion. Average arm talent but gets the ball where it needs to go in most cases. His NFL comp could be the Raiders' Derek Carr with a weaker arm. Carr throws it down the field with more consistency but Trubisky has the short and medium range pass game to make a decent go of it in the NFL.

#5 Washington at Oregon 7:30 PM FOX

- The fifth ranked Huskies travel to Eugene, Oregon and play their bitter rivals to the south. The Ducks have struggled mightily this year to fix their underperforming defense under first year DC Brady Hoke. Oregon has won 12 straight games against Washington. The Huskies put a beatdown on Stanford last Friday night. Oregon is coming off three straight losses, including an ugly 51-33 loss to Washington State last week. The Ducks could potentially go 0 for Washington this year, which likely result in HC Mark Helfrich's dismissal. Stranger things have happened but I don't foresee a lucky 13th straight win for Mighty Oregon.

Washington prospects to watch

1. Azeem Victor 6'3 239 LB Junior

- Victor is a physical force of nature in the vein of James Harrison. Mainly deployed as an outside pass rusher but has improved his pass coverage skills considerably. Instincts are still a work in progress but is a willing tackler. Athleticism is above average. Hand usage is average. Underrated starter for the Huskies.

2. Budda Baker 5'10 178 S Junior

- The Huskies' best defensive prospect this year. Baker can play both corner and safety. He is on the smaller size for a safety. Pass coverage is a plus asset. Possesses an center fielder mindset and will get to most balls thrown his way. Agility is excellent and can turn his hips on a dime. Versatile and athletic enough to play both ways on offense and defense. The frame is a big question mark, however.

3. Elijah Qualls 6'2 293 DL Senior

- The heir apparent to current Cleveland Brown defensive tackle Danny Shelton is a good player in his own right. Possesses a high motor and will not quit on a play until the echo of the whistle. The anchor of the defensive line and by in part, the defense. Needs to learn how to control his weight as it tends to fluctuate on the high side. A physical dominant force when he needs to be.

Oregon prospects to watch

1. Royce Freeman 5'11 230 RB Junior

- The country's most underrated running back. One of the better all around type of backs in this class. Doesn't possess that breakaway gear like some others but will try to outmuscle the defender in most cases. Suffered what looked to be a nasty leg injury against Nebraska but is healthy for this game.

2. Darren Carrington Jr 6'2 215 WR RS Junior

- Carrington is a big body speed demon receiver for the tame Ducks offense. He has above average speed and athleticism. Can go up and get it with the best in the country. An "athlete" playing receiver more than anything similar to that of former Titan receiver DGB. He has the NFL bloodlines as father Darren Senior played safety for a number of years for San Diego. The team interviews will be key for him as he missed significant time due to a drug related suspension while in Eugene. Good thing is that he has stayed clean since his suspension. Josh Gordon 2.0 without nearly as many off field questions.

#23 Florida State at #10 Miami 8 PM ABC

- The best rivalry in all of college football is here (a little homer but it is unreal when both sides are fun to watch). Florida State is scuffling after watching its slim playoff hopes vanish on the leg of UNC's kicker last week. Miami is riding high to its top 10 spot on a pretty weak schedule. Can Jimbo Fisher right the Noles ship with very little left to play for except for pride? Can the Hurricanes end the six game losing streak against the hated Seminoles? Another twist is that new Miami HC Mark Richt is a Cane alum that coached for Florida State before taking the job at UGA.

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. He has reverted to being Dalvin Cook during the past couple of games, rushing for almost 400 yards.

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. Hasn't made too much of an impact as defenses have keyed more and more on him.

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. Still horrible thus far into the year.

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 slightly less athletic Marcus Mariota or a bigger arm Colt McCoy (who's carved out a pretty decent living as a backup QB).

2. Stacy Coley 6'1 195 WR Junior

- 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 now 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.

Bonus games to watch

Arizona at #24 Utah 10:30 PM FS1

East Carolina at USF NOON ESPNNEWS

Notre Dame at NC State NOON ABC