Set up your DVR for the 3:30 contests, since there are three games worth watching during that time slot. I know this week lacks a prime time showdown, and many will focus on Georgia LSU this week, but spend your Saturday on the couch checking out the following matchups. I’ve added my Heisman list, accompanied by a video featuring Kay Adams, below.
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Michigan State vs Notre Dame, 3:30, NBC
Spartans CB Darqueze Dennard vs Irish WRs TJ Jones and DaVaris Daniels
- Michigan State’s offense has really struggled, but they have one of the top senior corners in the country in Dennard (#31/5’11/195), cousin of Patriots corner Alfonzo Dennard.
- Leads a defense that hasn’t given up more than 17 points this season.
- Few corners are as physical as Dennard at the line of scrimmage, when closing for a tackle, and when fighting over blocks. That physical style is coveted by NFL teams now thanks to rules preventing contact outside of the catch point.
- He’ll need it against solid route runners like TJ Jones (#7/5’11/195) and a big play threat junior DaVaris Daniels (#10/6’1/203).
- Senior QB Tommy Rees (#11/6’2/215) has delivered the football better than expected thus far, and he’s helped by LT Zack Martin (#70/6’4/308) and C Chris Watt (#66/6’3/321).
Utah State vs USC, 3:30, ABC
- The Trojans offense has really struggled, but their defense is quickly acclimating to a 3-4 defense after transitioning from Monte Kiffin’s cover-2.
- OLBs Devon Kennard (#42/6’3/255) and Morgan Breslin (#91/6’2/250) both have size to make an impact on the edge, with sophomore DL Leonard Williams (#94/6’5/270) on the inside.
- Watch out for Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton (#16/6’2/200). A quick decision maker with a strong lateral arm and a running threat. He has been very successful in the short to intermediate game thanks to quick decision making and a quick delivery.
- Expect USC to load the box and force Utah State and Keeton to test downfield. That will be the key to this matchup.
Tennessee vs Florida, 3:30, CBS
Florida’s front four goes against talented Vols offensive line
- I’ll keep saying it every week, but Florida’s front four is the best in the country.
- I am a huge fan of senior DT Dominique Easley (#2/6’2/290) and think he is a first-round talent. Many will focus on his size and say he has to play 3 technique, but look at how he wins from the 1 or 0 thanks to quick jump and active hands. There is some Jay Ratliff to his game.
- Add on sophomore DL Dante Fowler (#6/6’3/263) and DE Ronald Powell (#7/6’4/234), and things will get interesting. Powell’s change of direction and closing speed is worth checking out.
- Vols junior LT Antonio Richardson (#74/6’6/320) is outplaying many of the prospects at the position in his class. He’s obviously athletic enough to bend in the right places to anchor in pass protection and flashes an aggressive mentality on running plays.
- Tennessee RT Ju’Wan James (#70/6’6/318) is another worth watching. He could end up being a second or third day selection who impacts his team early on thanks to his consistency.
Arizona State at Stanford, 7:00, Fox
Stanford’s OL vs Will Sutton and Carl Bradford
- The key will be Sun Devils DT Will Sutton (#90/6’1/305) and junior edge rusher Carl Bradford (#52/6’1/243) against a very solid Cardinal offensive line.
- Many have gone sour on Sutton after he added 20 pounds in the offseason, wondering if he’s lost quickness since his production is down. Sutton likely wanted to please NFL evaluators and prove he’s an every down player at 300 pounds.
- Sutton’s game isn’t solely reliant on quickness. It is the height/weight numbers people focus on. He still uses leverage and good strength for his size, resulting in positive positioning and proper balance, but Stanford’s offensive line is great, led by sophomore LT Andrus Peat (#70/6’7/312) and senior LG David Yankey (#54/6’5/313).
- Redshirt sophomore Quarterback Kevin Hogan (#8/6’4/228) is a sound pocket mover, and expect emerging running back Tyler Gaffney (#25/6’1/226) to see plenty of carries.
1. Oregon redshirt sophomore QB Marcus Mariota
2. Clemson QB Tajh Boyd
3. Louisville junior QB Teddy Bridgewater
4. Alabama QB A.J. McCarron
5. Texas A&M redshirt sophomore Johnny Manziel