Friday, October 15
8:00 PM: Texas Christian at Alabama-Birmingham (ESPN)
Was it only a year ago when TCU tried to crash the BCS party? They got as high as sixth in the BCS poll before getting knocked off by Southern Miss on a Thursday night. Some of those players are back, anchored by three solid senior offensive linemen in tackle Anthony Alabi, guard Zach Bray and center Chase Johnson. Alabi is the best prospect of the three. Defensively the Horned Frogs lost a lot of talent. The best of the bunch are linebacker Martin Patterson and safety Marvin Godbolt.
UAB isn't a noted football program, but they do bring a 4-1 record into this game, their only loss coming to Florida State. QB Darrell Hackney is a player to watch, he is in the top ten in quarterback efficiency and has a 398 yard effort already this season. His favorite receiver is Roddy White who has over 500 yards receiving in five games. Defensively the best player is linebacker Zac Woodfin, who has already blown away the UAB school record for tackles and has another six games to pad his total.
Saturday October 16
We previewed Oklahoma last week, so much of this information is the same. Freshman Adrian Peterson exploded onto the scene last week, but unless he has Maurice Clarett in his posse, we won't be seeing him in the draft for a couple of years. He was helped by offensive lineman Jammal Brown, an All-American right tackle with great athleticism. He should be a first day pick, and would be a great addition to any team looking to improve the offensive line.
The Sooners secondary is also filled with outstanding prospects. Brodney Pool is a highly rated junior free safety who led Oklahoma with seven interceptions a year ago. Antonio Perkins is on the radar screen at cornerback, although his coverage skills are somewhat overshadowed by his return skills. You may remember Perkins for his game against UCLA when he returned three punts for touchdowns.
Kansas State has struggled some this year, but still have some quality prospects. On offense they have a quality running back in Darren Sproles and a good tight end in Brian Casey, two guys who will play on Sunday's but are probably not in the mix early as far as the Browns are concerned.
Defensively the Wildcats are paced by defensive tackle Jermaine Berry, who is one of nine defensive tackles on the Lombardi watch list for the nation's top lineman. He had 82 tackles and seven sacks a year ago. Another player who may not get drafted but has a shot to eventually find a roster spot in the NFL is kicker Joe Rheem, one of the better kickers in college football.
Notre Dame has had a surprising season. They lost some good prospects last year, and this year are relying on more underclassmen. However they do have two good defensive prospects to watch. Linebacker Derek Curry has good speed and can make plays, and defensive end Justin Tuck opened some eyes with 13.5 sacks as a junior. Both of these guys should get drafted.
For Navy, the prospect list begins with fullback Kyle Eckel. The 5-11, 240 pound Eckel may be the best fullback in the country. He has been clocked in the 4.5 range, but he lacks moves and is more of a power fullback. He could be a draft pick but his military commitment could impact that.
B.C. has a couple of underclassmen who could declare if their stock rises high enough (or some agent convinces them it has). Jeremy Trueblood, a huge 6-9, 330 pound left tackle has Ogden size, if not that kind of talent. He's a good one, and if he continues to develop may find himself in the draft. Defensively, junior Mathias Kiwanuka had 11.5 sacks a year ago, and could be one of the top defensive players in the nation this year.
Pitt has a few players on the defensive side of the ball who could hear their name called during the draft. The best of the bunch is probably reshirt junior defensive end Thomas Smith, but also keep an eye on defensive tackle Vince Crochunis and Hamilton, Ohio's Tez Morris, a quality free safety prospect. On offense the pickings are slimmer, but the prospect, left tackle Rob Petitti, may be the best on the team. Petitti is 6-6, 335 and a four year starter. He will be in the mix of what should be a very strong offensive tackle class.
Noon: Ohio at Toledo (ESPN)
The splash Ben Roethlisberger, Randy Moss and Byron Leftwich have made in the NFL has certainly brought more attention to the usually overlooked and underappreciated Mid-American Conference. Toledo junior quarterback Bruce Gradkowski put up excellent numbers a year ago, and while he lacks Roethlisberger's size and arm strength, he is certainly someone to watch this year and next. In addition to Gradkowski, tackle Nick Kaczur and tight end Andrew Clarke both made Athlon preseason All-America second and third team respectively.
All you need to know about Ohio's college football program is they have one NFL player, Ravens punter Dave Zastudil. Ohio probably has few prospects with a chance to get drafted, but they do have the top rated defense in the MAC right now, led by two sophomores, linebacker Matt Muncy and cornerback T.J. Wright.
The Buckeyes look to stop their two game losing streak and get back on the winning side of the ledger. The offense has struggled and up to now their best offensive prospect has been kicker Mike Nugent. It's doubtful he goes as early as Sebastian Janikowski did a few years ago, but he could push his way into the second round.
Defensively, junior linebacker A.J. Hawk is the big name. Hawk was a first team All-Big Ten performer last year and had over 100 tackles. He has recently been named a semi-finalist for the Butkus Award. He has good size and quickness, and while he is listed under 240, by the time he stops growing he should be a perfect size for what the NFL looks for in its linebackers.
Iowa is not as talented as it has been in previous seasons, but features a very talented defensive end in senior Matt Roth. Roth had 10 sacks as a sophomore and 12 as a junior, and seems primed for an excellent senior year.
Running back Anthony Davis is the big name for Wisconsin, having rushed for nearly 4,000 yards in his college career. Three-year starter Jim Leonhard is a talented free safety who can also be very dangerous when returning kicks. If he were a few inches taller he might be a top prospect. As it is, he could be a bargain in the third round or later if teams pass on him because he is 5-8.
Any talk of Purdue has to start with quarterback Kyle Orton. The 6-4 senior has led Purdue to its lofty ranking and Orton is being discussed as a potential top pick in the 2005 NFL draft. He has a great go-to receiver in senior Taylor Stubblefield. Stubblefield has never caught fewer than 73 passes in a season at Purdue, and if he holds form he has a shot at the NCAA record for career receptions.
7:00PM UCLA at #9 California (TBS)
UCLA gets a major test when they travel to California. Their top prospects are wide receiver Craig Bragg and junior linebacker Spencer Havner. Havner is having an excellent season and has made the list of semi-finalists for the Dick Butkus Award for the nation's outstanding linebacker.
Cal is led by outstanding junior quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers may have a year left on his eligibility, but if the buzz surrounding him is true, and he is the top quarterback prospect in college football, it may be his last season in a Bears uniform. He is helped by senior receiver Geoff McArthur, who a year ago hauled in 85 catches and 1500 yards receiving.