#3 Michigan at #2 Ohio State NOON ABC
- This is the 11th time in series history that both teams are ranked in the top 5 when facing each other. Which is most of any rivalry in college football. A Michigan win seals their spot in Indianapolis next week. An Ohio State win most likely helps their cause in locking up a playoff spot even if they don't make it to Indy. The Buckeyes need a win and some help from Michigan State due to OSU's head to head loss to Penn State. Ohio State has dominated this series as of late. Can the Wolverines break the streak at The Shoe? Or will the Buckeyes earn another necklace of gold shirts and pants? (Ohio State gives out a little gold shirt and pants trinket every time they beat Michigan.)
Michigan prospect to watch
1. Jabrill Peppers 6'1 205 S RS Sophomore
- Peppers might be the most exciting player not named Lamar Jackson/John Ross 3 in all of college football. He's a versatile athlete that does everything for the Wolverines (literally). A defensive back by trade but moonlights as a returner and receiver/running back/quarterback on occasion. Athleticism is elite. Honey Badger 2.0 without the off field troubles. He has Michigan fans harkening back to the college days of the great Charles Woodson. Would be a top 20 pick should he declare early.
2. Jake Butt 6'6 250 TE Senior
- The country's best tight end and should have the Mackey Award next month to prove it. Not the greatest athlete but he gets the job done using great fundamentals as a receiving TE. Football IQ is very good. Devin Funchess who?
Ohio State prospects to watch
1. Raekwon McMillan 6'2 240 LB Junior
- The Buckeyes defensive field general. He has more than lived up to his five star billing. Instincts and athleticism are very good. He's a good enough athlete to play anywhere on the front seven. Could be a great outside linebacker in the NFL. I've been keeping an eye on this guy since his freshman year.
2.Sam Hubbard 6'4 265 DE/OLB RS Sophomore
- Joey Bosa who? Hubbard burst onto the scene with some great performances as Bosa's backup during the past couple of years.
3. J.T Barrett 6'1 225 6'1 225 QB RS Junior
- Barrett has been finally the unquestioned standalone starter in Columbus after seeing Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller off to the pros. The Texas native is a bit on the smaller side frame wise but has enough physicality to make it work.. I compare his game to that of a bigger and more refined Tyrod Taylor. The questions of arm strength have come up when several of Ohio State's games in were in bad weather.
4. Mike Weber Jr 5'10 212 RB RS Freshman
- Weber is hailed as the next in line of great running backs to come out of Ohio State. He has delivered the goods so far in his debut season. A 4 star recruit from Michigan and national HS powerhouse Cass Tech that crossed the border into Columbus. Compares favorably to that of former Buckeye Carlos Hyde.
5. Malik Hooker 6'2 205 S RS Sophomore
- Hooker is a breakout first year starting for the Buckeyes, Big hitter with centerfield instincts to boot. Has the ideal frame and physical traits to play free safety in the pros (which he plays in college). He teams up with yet another stud teammate Marcus Lattimore to combine for a formidable last line of defense. Has 5 interceptions to go along with 70 tackles.
Notre Dame at #12 USC 3:30 PM ABC
- Notre Dame has struggled to a 4-7 record this year and travels to sunny Los Angeles to take on a surging Trojans squad. USC can clinch the Pac-12 South division with a Colorado loss because they beat the Buffs head to head regardless of outcome in LA today. Can the Irish pull off the upset? Will the Trojans maintain their resurgent pace all the way to an unlikely playoff berth? Expect ND HC Brian Kelly get a little red in the face today and add another loss to a dismal 2016.
Notre Dame prospect to watch
1. Deshone Kizer 6'4 230 QB RS Junior
- Kizer has separated himself as the top overall QB prospect this year.. He has all the physical tools in the world but what separates him from all the others 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. Arm strength is not an issue as he's shown in several bad weather games that he can place the ball wherever he wants to despite the elements.
USC prospects to watch
1. JuJu Smith-Schuster 6'2 220 WR Junior
- JuJu burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2014, taking much of the hype away from current Eagles WR Nelson Agholor and Jaguars WR Marqise Lee. Now he's a wise old veteran junior, ready to go pro like the Trojan receivers before him. He has a bigger frame than some wideouts of this generation, coming in at 6'2 220 yet has the athleticism of someone smaller. JuJu has been playing like the top wideout prospect without question.
2. Adoree' Jackson 5'11 185 CB/WR Junior
- Jackson is the west coast version of Jabrill Peppers. He also runs track for the Trojans in the spring. Jackson is a speed merchant with a decent amount of cornerback skills to make it in the pros if the receiver thing doesn't work out. Special teams ace with several return touchdowns. He's lived up to his lofty billing as a top recruit and then some. He blew up during the win at Washington, snagging 2 crucial picks and was generally the speed freak on offense and special teams as well. Kept up stride for stride against John Ross 3 for the most part. Had a good game against UCLA last week.
3. Zach Banner 6'9 360 OT RS Senior
- Banner is a mammoth 6'9 360 and is a true road grader type of tackle. He is a little raw in terms of technique and fundamentals due to a lack of playing time but has a lot of potential. Could rise up the boards this year. Has been playing both left and right this year.
4. Chad Wheeler 6'7 290 OT RS Senior
- Wheeler is a massive mountain at 6'7 290. Athleticism is very good for a tackle and he should test well at the offseason events. Lateral agility is a big question due to footwork and hips. Possesses long arms that most tackles need to make it in the pros. Exceptional strength in hand usage. Instincts are good. Injury history is horrific as he's suffered a torn ACL, several concussions, and a shoulder problem. Off the field, he has some questions to answer as he was involved in a incident with the police during last year's Holiday Bowl prep. A psychological assessment was ordered due to this incident.
Michigan State at #7 Penn State 3:30 PM ESPN
- Sparty travels to Happy Valley to determine the fate of the Big Ten East. Michigan State is coming off an emotional late game 17-16 loss to Ohio State last week. Penn State can clinch the East with a win due to its amazing last second blocked kick win over Ohio State a few weeks ago. Will Sparty rebound to pull off the upset? Can James Franklin and co keep it going?
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. 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. He has disappeared at times due to a lack of talent around him in a rebuilding 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 that has struggled to get going.
Penn State prospect to watch
1. Saquon Barkley 5'11 225 RB Sophomore
- Barkley is one of the more underrated talents at the position but expect to hear his name a lot more next year. He's a bigger back but has the athleticism of a guy much smaller. Good instincts as well. Knows where the hole is and hits it hard. A breakout sophomore campaign so far. On pace for 500 touches in two years (which isn't brutally heavy but a concern nonetheless).
UCLA at Cal 7 PM ESPN2
UCLA prospects to watch
1. Conor McDermott 6'9 310 OT RS Senior
- McDermott is the anchor of the Bruins offensive line. A behemoth of a tackle at 6'9 310. Frame is ideal for a left tackle but the agility is not. He has been the "franchise left tackle" since the 2014 season. Leverage is a key factor with him against the likes of Myles Garrett on opening day. More of a right tackle in the pros than anything. A bigger Jack Conklin if you will.
2. Eddie Vanderdoes 6'3 325 DL Junior
- Arik Armstead lite. He could have ended up being a better offensive tackle had he chosen that route. A 5 star recruit who is a big body run stuffer with little pass rush ability. Returns from an injury that cost him nearly the entire 2015 season. Can play both inside and outside. A better fit inside. Has struggled in 2016 due to injuries and inconsistent play.
3. Takkarist McKinley 6'2 265 DE/LB Senior
- McKinley has arguably been the best defensive end in all of college football in 2016. He's a freak athlete at his size. Ran a sub 11 second 100 meters in high school. Uses his straight line speed to help counteract his plus lateral agility rushing the passer. Long arms and heavy hands. He has a motor that won't quit until the game is over. Willing tackler that will run downfield to chase down a skill player. Even though UCLA was thoroughly handled by USC this year, he was the dominant prospect out of that game.
Cal prospect to watch
1. Davis Webb 6'5 232 QB Senior
- Webb selected Cal as his graduate transfer location after leaving Texas Tech with a degree. At TT, he lost the job to incumbent Patrick Mahomes so Webb transferred in search of more playing time. Has prototypical NFL QB size and enough arm talent to make all the throws. The system fits will be a challenge for him as Cal and Texas Tech both operate under the Air Raid umbrella so he may need to sit a year to fully digest a pro style system. He has somewhat allayed the system concerns a bit this year.
#15 Florida at #14 Florida State 8 PM ABC
- The annual showdown between the Seminoles and Gators take the show to Tallahassee. Florida already clinched the SEC East last week and will be in Atlanta next week. FSU is coming off a 45-14 win over pesky Syracuse last week. The Noles defeated the Gators 28-2 last year and have won 4 of the last 5 in the series, including three in a row. Can the anemic Gators offense do enough to support its loaded defense? Will the Noles have just enough to extend the streak to 4?
Florida prospects to watch
1. Jalen "Teez" Tabor 6'0 200 CB Junior
- Tabor has been consistently in the top 3 or 4 cornerbacks list all year. Athleticism is very good. Versatility is a big plus as he's been used outside and inside. Football IQ is a plus. Ball skills are good (pass deflections, interceptions, etc). Hips are another plus with him. Can turn and run with the best. I think he's better than Vernon Hargreaves as a prospect and that guy was a top 15 pick last year.
2. Quincy Wilson 6'1 213 CB Junior
- Wilson is 2016's Tabor to Tabor's Hargreaves. An elite cover corner and a willing tackler. Teams will love his 6'1 frame due to the Legion of Boom in Seattle. While not as fast as Tabor, he's plenty fast for the position. Instincts are off the charts good. Receivers tend to get lost on Wilson's Way. Routinely demands that he gets to cover the opponent's top receiver.
3. Caleb Brantley 6'2 295 DT RS Junior
- Brantley has emerged in 2016 as a dominant tackle after sitting behind some major talent for a couple of years. Athleticism isn't the greatest but his instincts offset some of those concerns. Football IQ is very good. Lateral agility and footwork is above average. Has a pretty good arsenal of pass rush moves. Uncanny ability to time the snap perfectly.
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 very likely early entry candidate. Cook possesses elite speed and agility. Demolished the FSU career rushing record that was held for almost 20 years by the great Warrick Dunn in just 3 years. First back in ACC history to surpass 4,000 rushing yards.
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. Has struggled immensely in 2016.
Bonus games to watch
Virginia at Virginia Tech NOON ESPN2
- Not a night game but Enter Sandman is awesome. Check out Virginia's Quin Blanding vs VT's Isaiah Ford.
#13 at #1 Alabama 3:30 PM CBS
- Verne's last Iron Bowl. It's the Iron Bowl. Need I say more?
#22 Utah at #9 Colorado 7:30 PM Fox
- Check out the Utes' RB Joe Williams and DL Lowell Lotulelei (Star's brother). Can America's darling Buffaloes clinch the Pac-12 South and a date with Washington next week?
#17 Tennessee at Vanderbilt 7:30 PM SECN
- The future astronaut/astrophysicist and Derek Barnett vs Zach Cunningham. Enough said.
Colorado State at San Diego State 9 PM CBSN
- RB Donnell Pumphrey. Check him out. He good.