This game has been circled on the calendar for a long time, as there is a match-up scouts covet. ACC newcomers Boston College takes on perennial bowl invitee Virginia. Beyond ACC implications this game could potentially impact the top of the draft. Almost two dozen NFL-franchises will have scouts on hand in Chestnut Hill.
The battle between D'Brickashaw Ferguson, considered by some as the top offensive tackle in next April's draft and Mathias Kiwanuka, ranked as the nation's number one defensive line prospect, has been highly anticipated. It may not come to fruition as Ferguson has been sidelined with a knee injury and may miss a second game after 42 consecutive starts. Fret not as the Cavaliers offer another solid tackle prospect in Brad Butler. Thought not nearly as athletic as Ferguson, the big strong-side tackle possesses NFL potential and will have plenty of opportunity to try and stop the dominant Kiwanuka.
Another highly rated Cavalier could be watching the game in street clothes as well. Junior Ahmad Brooks is considered the nation's best linebacker prospect and a defender who forces the action in a variety of ways. After missing Virginia's first three games while recovering from surgery performed last January with the hopes of regenerating bone growth in his right knee, Brooks returned last week only to injure an ankle during the Cav's 45-33 loss at Maryland.
This is not good news as Boston College enters the game with the number one offense in the conference, led by red-shirt sophomore running back L.V. Whitworth, a future first day pick in the NFL draft. It will be up to another underclassman highly rated by NFL-scouts, Virginia linebacker Kai Parham, to try and stop the BC assault.
Oklahoma vs. Texas (ABC/1pm EST)
Could this be the year Texas coach Mack Brown finally has the albatross removed? A motivated Longhorn team seemingly has the decided advantage over a deflated group of Sooners. As many as 28 NFL prospects will be on the field at different times during this game.
The Texas offensive line is laden with talent which will be sprinkled throughout the draft's seven rounds the next few years. Senior Jonathan Scott and junior Justin Blalock are both top sixty choices while Kasey Studdard is an underrated guard also from the underclassmen ranks.
OU's defensive front seven took a big blow when rising star Larry Birdine was lost with injury in August. Still, the front seven has talent. Tackle Dusty Dvoracek is a high revving top 45-prospect with off-the-field issues while senior linebacker Clint Ingram and junior counterpart Rufus Alexander both have first day potential.
Flip it around and one sees a dominant Texas front-line of defense pitted against a talented yet thin Sooner offensive line.
Davin Joseph has been a dominant blocker for OU three year's running. Ranked as the nation's top guard, Joseph sees action at left tackle this season, a position he does not project well to in the NFL. Kelvin Chaisson and Chris Bush are a pair of OU interior blockers who'll get late round consideration.
The Longhorn line offers a pair of seniors in Rodrique Wright and Larry Dribbles. Wright is a nice sized athlete who will be selected in the second round. Dribbles is smaller in comparison yet plays with greater tenacity and a sense of urgency.
Sooner receiver Travis Wilson is consistent with reliable hands and NFL-size. Wilson benefits from the system at OU yet has first day potential. Trying to slow Wilson down will be a pair of highly considered Longhorns.
Versatile defensive back Michael Huff is interchangeable at cornerback or safety. Tough against the run, Huff also displays terrific cover skills and will be drafted before the 45th selection next April. Corner Cedric Griffin offers excellent size though his skills and instincts are a step below his teammates. Still, he has first day potential.
Two of next April's top "sleepers" will be playing in this game.
Opinions are varied on OU fullback J.D. Runnels; one NFL scouting service (Blesto) ranks Runnels as the third rated fullback prospect while the other (National) left him out of their top 15. We agree with Blesto. While the OU offensive scheme limits Runnels playing time, he is a triple threat fullback effective in a variety of ways.
Likewise Longhorn tight end David Thomas grades out as early as a second round pick to as late as a fifth frame candidate by different NFL scouting services. Reliable and a pass catcher who makes the important reception on third down, Thomas poses a challenge for OU's talented linebacker core.
In the end, all eyes will be on Vince Young, the Longhorn's dynamic quarterback.
A tremendous athlete with great size, arm strength and foot speed, Young beats opponents in a variety of ways. Streaky on occasion, he has shown progression behind center and is slowly becoming a complete quarterback. Potentially a top ten choice in the very near future, Young hopes to top his performance from earlier this year when he led UT to victory in Columbus, Ohio over the Buckeyes.
An important contest which could help determine the fate of the Eastern Division in the SEC. This game totals almost three dozen legitimate NFL-prospects.
The lines of scrimmage will be worth watching all afternoon. The Georgia offensive line goes six deep, possessing one of the nation's top guard prospects in Max Jean-Gilles and a pair of underrated tackles in senior Dennis Roland and junior Daniel Inman.
Tennessee's front-four, laden with talent, will try to penetrate into the Bulldog backfield. Jesse Mahelona is a fierce run-stuffing tackle who will be a top 60 pick next April. Edge rusher Parys Haralson is projected to outside linebacker at the next level by many. Junior Justin Harrell is an outstanding prospect for the future while Jason Hall also has potential.
The Volunteers have several blockers who will soon be wearing NFL uniforms. Left tackle Arron Sears is one of the most versatile offensive lineman in the nation. The junior blocker has effectively played every position up front except center. Albert Toeaina will get late round consideration next April as a strong-side tackle.
The Bulldogs defensive line is up to the task. Georgia's Quentin Moses is an outstanding pass rusher and the junior already rates highly with NFL scouts. His battle against Sears should be a good one. Will Thompson, Kedric Golston and Gerald Anderson will all get late round consideration next April.
The number one scoring offense in the Big 12 faces off against the conferences top scoring defense.
Cody Hodges is the new gunslinger from Lubbock as the senior is averaging 362 passing yards per game with a 13-to-2 touchdown/interception ratio. As is the case with most recent Texas Tech passers, the sheer numbers Hodges puts up is garnering the attention of NFL scouts. Red Raider junior wide out Jarrett Hicks, a top prospect, has posted 18 receptions in three games. A terrific red-zone target, he's added four touchdown catches. Taurean Henderson, a potential third down back at the next level, is averaging five receptions and 87 rushing yards per game. He presently leads the conference with eight touchdowns.
Nebraska's defense has three solid prospects, though the trio is better stopping the run then covering the pass. Safety Daniel Bullocks hopes to follow in his brothers footsteps and be selected during the draft's initial 45 selections. That is unlikely as Daniel does not possess the same ball skills as his brother- Josh, now with the Saints. Le Kevin Smith and Titus Adams are both "slug-it-out" linemen on the inside but again, better defending ball carriers than rushing quarterbacks.