A very early kick-off for the west coast Beavers in an unusual Pac Ten/Big East match-up. Oregon State offers a pair of underrated defensive tackles in Henry Anderson and Alvin Smith. The Cardinals Jason Spitz is an unheralded lineman from the offensive side of the ball who could sneak into the draft's first day next April. After playing guard as a junior, Spitz moves inside to center this season and will battle the Beaver tackles all day.
The Beaver defense must stop Michael Bush, one of the best running back prospects in the land. Conversely, Louisville's defensive secondary must find a way to contain wide out Mike Hass, another first day pick who averaged 165-receiving yards during the teams initial two games. Don't look for Beaver tight end Joe Newton, one of the highest rated prospects at his position. The junior hurt his knee in August and is presently on the sidelines.
This could be a titanic battle between a pair of ACC rivals. Last season Clemson came back to defeat the Hurricanes in Coral Gables in a thrilling contest. Miami lost it's opener to Florida State by a whisker while Clemson pulled off a pair of razor thin victory's over worthy opponents to start the season.
There were a lot of concerns about the decision-making by Clemson's physically talented passer Charlie Whitehurst coming into the season. Since the start of the campaign Whitehurst has been efficient yet unspectacular. Saturday will be a huge test for him as the Hurricane secondary is loaded with talented NFL-prospects. Besides being a game impacting return specialist Devin Hester could end up as the first cornerback selected should the junior enter next April's draft. Kelly Jennings has top 45-talent yet Miami's other corner plays a very timid brand of football. Safety Greg Threat delivers the knockout blow on opposing ball carriers while Brandon Meriweather is another defensive back who makes plays.
Protecting Whitehurst could be a problem as Miami is stacked on the defensive line. Senior Orien Harris has first round potential as does junior Baraka Atkins. Javon Nanton, Thomas Carroll and Bryan Pata are all draftable prospects up front for the Hurricanes.
When Miami has the ball protection will also be key, as the Seminoles ran circles around Hurricane blockers two weeks ago. Every player on the Hurricane offensive line has NFL-potential but must start to show it. Charles Bennett is a terrific pass rusher for Clemson and left tackle Eric Winston, a potential top twelve pick, must stop him.
Finally, Clemson corner Tye Hill, grades highly and could be a better prospect then former Tiger Justin Miller, the New York Jets second round choice from last April's draft. Hill will be tested on two fronts Saturday as Hurricane wide out Sinorice Moss has game breaking speed while Ryan Moore offers game-controlling size.
Florida State vs. Boston College (ESPN/7:45PM EST)
It'll be baptism under fire for Boston College as their first ACC league game is against a mighty opponent. Florida State broke a long losing streak against Miami at the start of the season. Another victory against a worthy conference opponent puts them in the catbird's seat for ACC supremacy. For Boston College, a victory against the 'Noles gives them instant credibility in the league.
The big battle starts up front as the Boston College offensive line must find a way to stop the Seminoles defensive front seven. Defensive end Kamerion Wimbley ran circles around Miami's vaunted O-line two weeks ago. He now faces left tackle Jeremy Trueblood, one of the nastiest blockers in the land. Trueblood is big and powerful yet many question his ability to handle blind-side duties in the NFL; this is a great test for both prospects. BC has put many worthy centers into the late rounds of the NFL-draft and Pat Ross could be next. They've also put talented guards into the league and James Marten is already drawing comparisons to Chris Snee. Both linemen will face Brodrick Bunkley, an undersized yet explosive interior defender who projects as an NFL nose tackle. Were this not enough Boston College must be wary of Florida State's tremendous trio of linebackers, all who wreak havoc on the blitz. Junior Ernie Sims is a potential first round pick while A.J. Nicholson offers top 60 possibilities. Buster Davis has size limitations yet is also an NFL-prospect.
Finally, this game will be a national showcase for a pair of prospects who figure early in the draft. Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka is an impact player for the Eagles and a very early pick in next April's draft. Even assuming the Seminoles game-plan around "Kiwi" expect the dominant end to make his presence felt. Leon Washington is a "do everything" ball carrier for the 'Noles and a running back drawing comparisons to Warrick Dunn.
Tennessee vs. Florida (CBS/8PM EST)
There will be a tremendous amount of NFL-talent on the field in this SEC showdown. On paper Tennessee has as many as ten potential first day picks over the next few draft's. Florida? three-to-five. Yet this game still holds one great match-up to key on.
The Gators placed several receivers into the early reaches of the draft during the Steve Spurrier days. And for the most part those Gator wide outs failed to meet the lofty expectations placed on them. Yet at this early stage of the season it looks like junior Chad Jackson may break that streak of failure. A freakish athlete, Jackson looks like he has all the tools to be a special player at the next level. He goes up against one of the most complete defensive backs in all America on Saturday night. Jason Allen, a free safety with terrific cover skills, is a potential first round pick. He will be a great test to see how advanced Jackson's game really is.