Tag Archive: NC State


Conference Predictions:

SEC:

West:

1-      LSU

2-      Alabama

3-      Arkansas

4-      Mississippi State

5-      Auburn

6-      Texas A&M

7-      Ole Miss

East:

1-      South Carolina

2-      Georgia

3-      Tennessee

4-      Florida

5-      Vanderbilt

6-      Missouri

7-      Kentucky

SEC Title Game: LSU and South Carolina: LSU is SEC Champion

Analysis: The SEC is loaded as usual, particularly the West. LSU loses Tyrann Mathieu which is unfortunate for every college football fan, but if Zach Mettenberger can establish a consistent passing game then the LSU offense is going to absolutely take off. Alabama is extremely talented as usual, but they are replacing so much on defense and at their skill positions on offense that there’s no way that they replicate their 2011 season. They are my early 2013 favorites however. Arkansas lost Bobby Petrino and their top three receivers, but unless their defense improves they won’t bump LSU or Alabama out of the top of the West. I went back and forth on South Carolina and Georgia a lot because both teams don’t have a great track record of delivering when the pressure is on. South Carolina’s defense could end up better than Georgia’s though, and even though I like Aaron Murray I have some questions about Georgia’s offense. Tennesse has talent and should be solid, but Florida’s ridiculous handling of their quarterback competition means I can’t project them any higher than 4th in the East. Vanderbilt is a bit of a dark horse with a strong core on offense and a bright coach in James Franklin, but just getting to a bowl game would be a successful season for them.

Big 10:

Legends:

1-      Michigan

2-      Michigan State

3-      Nebraska

4-      Iowa

5-      Northwestern

6-      Minnesota

Leaders:

1-      Wisconsin

2-      Ohio State

3-      Illinois

4-      Purdue

5-      Penn State

6-      Indiana

Big-10 Title Game: Wisconsin and Michigan: Wisconsin is Big-10 Champion

Analysis: If Wisconsin doesn’t come out of the Leaders division to compete for the Big-10 title again this year then Bret Bielema should just quit, because outside of Illinois there is no eligible team that has a slightly realistic chance of keeping them out of the title game. Michigan and Michigan State will be a terrific battle down to the end of the season in my opinion, and ultimately it will come down to how well Denard Robinson can deliver the ball and avoid turnovers in big games in my opinion. If he carries the Wolverine offense on his back he could be a finalist for the Heisman as well. Nebraska has some talent, but they will never be a legitimate Big-10 title contender until they get a real quarterback to replace Taylor Martinez, who is one of the worst passing quarterbacks of all the teams that don’t run an option offense.

ACC:

Atlantic:

1-      Florida State

2-      Clemson

3-      NC State

4-      Wake Forest

5-      Boston College

6-      Maryland

Coastal:

1-      Virginia Tech

2-      Georgia Tech

3-      North Carolina

4-      Miami

5-      Virginia

6-      Duke

ACC Title Game: Virginia Tech and Florida State: Virginia Tech is ACC Champion.

Analysis: Florida State is incredibly loaded, particularly on defense. Their defensive line is the best in football in my opinion, even better than LSU’s, and they return enough talent on offense to be a dark horse contender for the National Championship game. I don’t think they’ll make it because I’m not a big believer in EJ Manuel, but if he can improve enough to put up points this team could end up in the top 5 by season’s end. And yet, I have a gut feeling that this is Virginia Tech’s year and I think they will go toe to toe with Florida State in the ACC Championship game and win. I trust Logan Thomas more than Manuel in critical situations even if he is younger with less experience, and Virginia Tech returns plenty of talent on defense as well. Clemson will be nipping at Florida State’s heels as well but I don’t think Clemson’s offensive line has enough talent and experience to keep Florida State’s relentlessly deep and talented front four from terrorizing Boyd when he drops back to pass.

Big 12:

1-      West Virginia

2-      Kansas State

3-      Oklahoma

4-      Texas

5-      TCU

6-      Oklahoma State

7-      Texas Tech

8-      Baylor

9-      Kansas

10-   Iowa State

West Virginia is Big-12 Champion.

Analysis: I’m sure plenty of people will be surprised that I have West Virginia and Kansas State ranked ahead of Oklahoma and Texas, but I have plenty of faith in West Virginia’s offense to pass their way to the top of the Big-12 and if their defense improves at all they could very well win this conference. Kansas State shocked everyone last year by not only being good but by being good enough to get to the Cotton Bowl. And yet, everyone is writing them off again this year even though they return plenty of talent across their roster, and even their losses on defense aren’t irreplaceable. Collin Klein is the Tim Tebow of the Big-12 and he will keep Kansas State competitive even if it isn’t always pretty, and those writing KSU off will look foolish again this year. Oklahoma continues to be ranked in the top 5 year after year regardless of how many times they fail to live up to their talent level. Landry Jones plays a big role in that, and there aren’t many quarterbacks I wouldn’t want leading my team more than Jones. He’s not reliable under pressure, he panics in big time situations and collapsed when his best receiver Ryan Broyles went down last season. Oklahoma has plenty of talent on defense, but that has never stopped them from failing to live up to expectations, and even though Mike Stoops is back in the fold I don’t think it will be enough to win the Big-12 or a National Championship. Texas seemed to be on the right track naming a starting quarterback, but now the competition is back on and when you have two quarterbacks you really have none. So as good as that defense is it won’t matter if they don’t have any continuity at quarterback.

Pac-12:

North:

1-      Oregon

2-      Washington

3-      Stanford

4-      California

5-      Oregon State

6-      Washington State

South:

1-      Southern Cal

2-      Utah

3-      UCLA

4-      Arizona State

5-      Arizona

6-      Colorado

Pac-12 Title Game: USC and Oregon: USC is Pac-12 Champion.

Analysis: The Pac-12 is honestly one of the worst conferences top to bottom in the country, I was shocked by how little overall depth both divisions had. The North has three, maybe four bowl game caliber teams and the South has TWO. Look at that 3-6 list, only UCLA has an chance at a bowl game out of those four teams, and ASU, Arizona and Colorado should be awful this season. Oregon and USC both have a pretty easy road to the Pac-12 title game if you ask me, though Washington and Stanford won’t be pushovers even in spite of all the talent they lost.

Big East:

1-      Cincinnati

2-      Louisville

3-      South Florida

4-      Pittsburgh

5-      Rutgers

6-      Syracuse

7-      Connecticut

8-      Temple

Cincinnati is Big East Champion.

Analysis: The Big East is probably the worst big time conference in college football and they are clinging on for dear life and relevance right now. Cincinnati is the best by default this year now that West Virginia bolted for the Big-12, and after Louisville there isn’t a lot to write home about in the Big East. There’s the potential for some bowl eligible teams, but there isn’t a legit title contender in this whole conference and whoever the winner is will likely play a better conference champion in a BCS bowl game and get the tar beat out of them like Connecticut did two years ago at the hands of Oklahoma.

 

Thanks for reading, and happy college football season to each and every one of you!

–Tom

Quarterbacks:

BJ Coleman (Chattanooga) continued to look like the top quarterback here as he went 10/15 for 170 yards and 1 touchdown on the night. He led two scoring drives in the first half and was the only quarterback to challenge the field beyond the 10-15 yards range for quite some time. He got lucky on one of them but thanks to a great catch and run by Chase Ford (Miami) his stat line reflected how good he looked when he had reps. He threw a couple easy passes but he threw the ball accurately and to the right shoulder on all of them. It’s great to see him put it all together like this but it’s too bad he couldn’t move the East down the field on that last series to make for a really exciting ending! BJ definitely helped himself this week and capped it off with a quality performance. He’s got promising future ahead of him and I still maintain that he has starter upside.

Austin Davis (Southern Mississippi) produced a scoring drive late in the 1st half when he threw a short touchdown pass to LaRon Byrd in traffic for a score. Davis made a couple nice throws and threw the ball pretty accurately when he got time to throw. His lack of arm strength was evident on a couple of throws though and they masked that a bit when they rolled him out on a throw to the near sideline to Mayo. He looked pretty comfortable in the pocket at times though. Chandler Harnish (Northern Illinois) didn’t look quite as comfortable though, probably because he seemed to deal with more pressure than any of the other quarterbacks. He took a couple shots, one of them a big one from Akiem Hicks on a screen pass. Harnish was 8/14 for 52 yards and one interception. He also ran for 7 rushing yards and 1 touchdown in the 1st half but at least two of his incompletions were dropped passes by running backs on screens, both of which were set up nicely.

Tyler Hansen (Colorado) also got into the game and moved the ball a little bit as he went 12/17 for 144 yards. He didn’t impress me quite as much, but I think he has a chance to get drafted very late or get signed as an undrafted free agent. Dan Persa (Northwestern) was ineffective and got little playing time going 1/3 for only 10 yards and running twice for -2 yards. His two incompletions were significantly overthrown deep balls, and he seemed to believe that he needed to make a big play to stay in the game for more than one or two series. If that’s what he was thinking, then unfortunately he seemed to be right.

Running Backs:

Tauren Poole (Tennessee) got the running started with a nice run showing his burst and vision on his first carry but didn’t have much room to run the rest of the game and he finished the night with 5 carries for 17 yards with his first run accounting for 15 of those yards. He also added one reception for 14 yards, but dropped a pass on a screen that was sniffed out well by Ronnie Thornton. Marc Tyler (Southern Cal) was another impressive back as he showed impressive vision, a little burst and some power to run through tackles as he gained 34 yards on just 6 carries. Alfred Morris (Florida Atlantic) ended up as the leading rusher for the East with 9 carries for 32 yards. He wasn’t terrific, but he did run through contact very well and a lot of his 32 rushing yards were well earned.

Bobby Rainey (Western Kentucky) showed some burst and vision but finished with only 6 receptions for 33 yards. He did, however, catch 4 passes for 23 yards out of the backfield. But the most impressive back on the night as far as statistics were concerned was Lennon Creer (Louisiana Tech). Creer finished with 80 rushing yards on 15 carries and his touchdown late in the 4th quarter gave the West the victory. Creer had some pretty big holes to run through in the second half so I don’t necessarily think he was the best back on the roster, but he sure did have a good game.

Wide Receivers:

Tim Benford (Tennessee Tech) had a solid game and caught every pass that I saw thrown his way. He definitely helped himself this week and continued to run good routes tonight. Jarius Wright (Arkansas) may have had the catch of the night on a deep ball from Tyler Hansen that he dove and caught for a 41 yard gain. He displayed his speed and route running all game and ran right by Josh Norman, one of the stars of this week of practice, for that big gain.

Lance Lewis (East Carolina) had a solid game catching 4 passes for 41 yards, but a couple of those receptions came on the final drive with less than a minute left. Lewis is still an underrated player but he may not have helped him as much this week as some expected him to. B.J. Cunningham (Michigan State) had a couple receptions and his most impressive play was on a curl that was thrown very well by Coleman and Cunningham was able to catch it and seamlessly turn and run towards the sideline. He ran through a tackle attempt by Rodney McLeod and scored easily.

Thomas Mayo (Cal PA) had a solid game with 3 receptions for 41 yards and showed pretty good hands and caught passes in rhythm from the quarterback who delivered the ball to him. LaRon Byrd (Miami) continued to surprised by making a couple tough catches, one on a throw slightly behind him and another in significant traffic for a touchdown in the 1st half.

Tight Ends:

Surprisingly, tight ends led both teams in receiving in this game. Chase Ford (Miami) made one of the great plays of the game by catching a pass in traffic from Coleman downfield, taking a hit from Gideon as he caught the ball and somehow stayed on his feet and rumbled for significant yardage after the catch. It was his only reception, but it was a big one. George Bryan (NC State) had 3 catches for 55 yards but continued to look slow when running routes and when running after the catch.

Offensive Line:

It was hard to see all of the offensive line play from up in the press box, but when I re-watch the game I will definitely have more notes on the offensive line.

Defensive Line:

Kyle Wilber (Wake Forest) had a good game as he was consistently around the ball, he made a number of tackles (unfortunately I couldn’t track down a stat sheet, so at this time I don’t know how many tackles he finished with) and showed his ability to rush the passer. He’s still pretty light to try to stick at defensive end, but I think he has the potential to shift to outside linebacker at the next level. Akiem Hicks (Regina, Canada) didn’t have a lot of impact plays but he consistently showed developing hand usage and his strength to keep blockers off balance. He also had a couple hits on quarterbacks tonight, though he did play too high at times. Nick Jean-Baptiste (Baylor) isn’t fantastic at the point of attack but when you allow him to work down the line of scrimmage and use his motor he can make plays at the line of scrimmage. He had a few tackles at or near the line of scrimmage tonight. DaJohn Harris (Southern Cal) made a nice tackle for loss in this game but I didn’t see a lot of him otherwise. Tyrone Crawford (Boise State) also made a couple nice plays but I didn’t see a ton of him live either.

Linebackers:

Jerry Franklin (Arkansas), Josh Kaddu (Oregon) and Tank Carder (TCU) all made a couple plays up near the line of scrimmage today and all showed some potential in coverage as well. Shawn Loiseau (Merrimack) had an up and down night but his effort and passion should help him make a roster. I didn’t see too many other linebackers making plays, but again it was hard to keep an eye on everything live from the press box.

Defensive Backs:

I didn’t get a great look at all of these guys and because they were playing such vanilla coverages it isn’t the greatest barometer of their ability. I saw Josh Norman (Coastal Carolina) get beat deep and attempt a big hit on Kevin Koger that was rendered ineffective, I saw Aaron Henry (Wisconsin) absolutely level Emil Igweganu over the middle. Other than that I don’t have an abundance of notes on the defensive backs from this game unfortunately.

Punters:

I told you guys that Bryan Anger (California) can punt didn’t I? He had some great punts tonight just like he did all week. He might honestly get drafted.

I’m sorry for the lack of notes from the game. I wish I had the stats to help with the defense and it was tough to focus in on everything during the game. It’s always easier to watch the skill position players when the ball is going to them. I’ll re-watch the game at some point and get notes up on it.

Thanks for reading all week. I’ll be covering the Senior Bowl next week as well!

–Tom

Bridgewater has plenty of athletic ability and upside so it will be interesting to see how he develops over the next 2-3 years.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: Bridgewater has a live arm, has flashed solid accuracy and pretty good mobility. He has a long way to go as far as the craft of playing quarterback, but has plenty of upside and potential thanks to his physical ability. All depends on how hard he works and how much film he watches. He has the size and athletic ability to be a very effective college quarterback and like many athletic quarterbacks he has a great ability to improvise and make special plays outside the pocket as Bridgewater displayed in this game. However, he also turned the ball over too much in this game because of an opportunistic NC State defense. He has a bright future in college and this experience will really help him next year in my opinion, but it’s up to him whether or not he develops into a great passer with great athletic ability or whether he continues to be a great athlete than can also throw the ball. Right now he is the latter.

Victor Anderson, RB, Louisville: Anderson is an athletic player but because of his lack of size and his problems with injuries I would be surprised if he was drafted. I think he will get signed as an undrafted free agent, but I think teams will want him to prove that he can stay healthy and will want him to earn his spot on their roster. He’s fast but I don’t think he has feature back potential, rather he will be more of a 3rd down back that also offers some value as a return man. He’s fast and versatile, but ultimately his potential in the NFL is tied to whether or not he can stay healthy.

Michaelee Harris, WR, Louisville: Harris is a freshman receiver that will likely be developing along with Bridgewater. Considering his production of 35 receptions, 438 yards and 2 TD’s as a 6’2”, 198 pound freshman it seems that Charlie Strong and Louisville have a pretty bright future ahead of them. I didn’t see much of him in this game, but Louisville has a lot of young talent that has gotten playing time this year so watch out for these guys as they continue to develop. Charlie Strong sure is a good recruiter.

Eli Rogers, WR, Louisville: Rogers is another talented freshman receiver for Louisville. He is shorter as he stands at 5’10”, 185 pounds but he still produced 34 receptions, 400 yards and 1 touchdown on the season. Harris, Rogers and DeVante Parker figure to give Bridgewater an impressive trio of receiving options for the entire duration of his career, so watch out for these four guys as they all grow up with one another through the years. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of so many freshman playing year one like these guys have for Louisville and producing!

DeVante Parker produced the most touchdowns of anyone on Louisville this year as a freshman. I really like his upside.

DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville:  Parker had the lowest production total in terms of receptions and yards of the three freshman but at 6’3”, 196 pounds he may be the best red zone target. He managed 17 receptions, 276 yards and 6 touchdowns on the season. His 6 touchdowns led the team this season, which is quite impressive for a freshman receiver. He flashed both his upside and some things he has to work on in this game as he dropped a pass that hit his hands over the middle of the field but also demonstrated his red zone viability by climbing the ladder, high pointing a pass and hauling it in just out of bounds. Had he gotten a foot down it would have been a score. He’s got a lot of upside, so I’m excited to watch him for the next few years.

Josh Chichester, TE, Louisville: Chichester is the 6’8”, 240 pound monster tight end for Louisville. You’d think he’d be more dominant than he actually is at that size, as he struggles as a blocker because of his issues with pad level and leverage. He’s a viable receiver, but doesn’t have much speed to threaten teams down the seam. He’s very much a possession tight end and some team will be intrigued by his size and his pretty reliable hands and draft him in the 6th or 7th round in my opinion.

Mario Benavides, C, Louisville: Benavides had a good game for Louisville and figures to be one of the top centers in the 2013 draft class. He will be a senior next year and at 6’4”, 300 pounds he absolutely has NFL size as a center. I am excited to scout him next year because I was very high on a former Louisville center that ended up going in the 1st round in Eric Wood. I won’t say Benavides will do the same, but I liked what I saw in this game and I think he has the potential to go in the first three rounds next year.

Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville: Marcus Smith will be a junior next year but during his sophomore season he was a 6’3”, 251 pound pass rush specialist. Five of his 10 tackles on the season were for loss, but all of them were sacks! He also had a forced fumble and a pass break-up and he demonstrated ability to get pressure with his burst and edge speed. He worried me by not showing much bend or hip flexibility though, so I will need to see more of him next year.

Greg Scruggs, DT, Louisville: Scruggs was a guy that I identified last year as a possible mid-late round 2012 draft pick but he was a possible late round prospect all year before this bowl game. The 6’4”, 285 pound senior didn’t end up playing in this bowl game as a result of a suspension stemming from a DUI. That really is too bad, but it was his own decision to drink and drive between the end of season and his bowl game. It’s never a good time to drink and drive, but this DUI will likely mean he will go the entire draft process without hearing his name called barring unforeseen changes. That’s too bad, but it was his decision to drink and drive.

William Savoy, OLB, Louisville: Savoy is an undersized defensive end that is going to have to attempt a transition to outside linebacker. I’m not sure he has the athleticism to make the move, but he has pretty good burst and edge speed as a pass rusher and more importantly displayed the ability to bend to beat blockers with an outside rush. He had 7.5 TFL and 5.0 sacks this year, but I think a postseason all star game could be very important for him as he attempts to transition to outside linebacker.

Dexter Heyman, OLB, Louisville: Heyman was probably Louisville’s best defensive player this year as he totaled 83 total tackles (52 solo), 15.5 TFL, 4.0 sacks, 3 INT’s, 1 forced fumble and 1 pass break-up on the season. He has solid NFL size for a linebacker at 6’3”, 238 pounds and has a listed 40 yard dash time of 4.57. I need to watch him more, but he certainly flies around for Louisville’s defense.

Mike Glennon flashed some significant potential in this game. It's not easy to follow a quarterback as successful as Russell Wilson, so I look forward to evaluating him as a senior next year.

Mike Glennon, QB, NC State: Glennon had a tough job this year replacing Russell Wilson at quarterback for NC State. Wilson isn’t an easy guy to replace as Wisconsin will find out next year, but I think most Wolfpack fans expected to have him back for a final run at an ACC title. That didn’t pan out, but Glennon stepped up and really finished this season strong. He’s listed at 6’4”, 225 pounds and was very effective this year in his first season as a starter. He’s got a live arm and showed that he can make all the throws in this game and his ball placement was pretty good, especially on short and intermediate passes. His long passes weren’t quite as accurate, but obviously those are some of the most difficult throws to make. There were a number of wide receivers that were pretty open thanks to Louisville’s less than spectacular zone but he made some stick throws that were impressive. He didn’t have as much success in the 2nd half as he did in the 1st half by any means, but he still has some upside to build off of for next season. I didn’t watch him much this year, but I was a little troubled by his issues to move the ball through the air in the 2nd half, especially since NC State’s running game was fairly insignificant as usual. He will be a senior next year so I am interested to see how he will develop and improve on his first season as a starter.

T.J. Graham, WR, NC State: Graham definitely surprised me with his ability in this game, I didn’t expect him to have the finish to his career that he did. He demonstrated all of his upside in this game by showing burst, speed and vision as a kick returner as well as great speed to threaten defenses vertically and pretty reliable hands. He is only listed at 6’0”, 180 pounds but his fantastic speed both on the field and in the 40 yard dash (he has a listed 40 time of 4.36) should push him up some teams’ boards, especially after he participates in an All-Star game and the combine. He also showed the ability to make guys miss with his elusiveness and even broke a couple of arm tackles in this game. He’s definitely a sleeper, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up going.

George Bryan, TE, NC State: Bryan is a late round TE prospect with NFL size (6’5”, 265 pounds) but he’s quite slow and has a listed 40 yard dash time of 5.14. He uses his body well to shield defenders and offers some value as a blocker but his hands aren’t as reliable as you would want them to be given some of his struggles to create separation. He’s got the frame to shield defenders away from the ball to make catches in traffic and I think his hands are above average but I wouldn’t call them good or great. That makes me wonder how effective he will be if he struggles to create separation and has to make a lot of contested catches in traffic, and that hurts his stock in my opinion.

R.J. Mattes, OT, NC State: Mattes is a quality left tackle prospect for the 2013 draft. I don’t think he should declare this year but he’s got mid-round or higher potential for next year’s draft. He’s 6’6”, 306 pounds and seemed to have pretty long arms and solid athleticism. He looked like he may have been NC State’s top offensive lineman so he is one guy I will be keeping an eye on.

Camden Wentz, C, NC State: I was looking forward to evaluating Wentz but he got injured early in the game and never got back in from what I could tell. He will be a senior next year and seems like he has draftable ability as a center in addition to his 6’3”, 301 pound frame. The injury wasn’t serious if I remember correctly, so he should be 100% well before spring practice.

Daryl Cato-Bishop, DE, NC State: Cato-Bishop is a 6’4”, 281 pound defensive end who was a sophomore this season. He didn’t have a lot of tackles but he did have 7.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 INT and a pass break-up. He’s got impressive size for a defensive end, so it will be interesting to see how he develops next season. He was around the ball consistently in this game, so I think he has some upside.

Art Norman, DE, NC State: Norman was a freshman defensive end this year and is undersized at 6’1”, 242 pounds but as a situational pass rusher he produced 7.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF and a pass break-up this year. I didn’t have much opportunity to evaluate his edge speed or his burst off the line of scrimmage, but he got some playing time as a freshman so I will be keeping an eye on him the next couple of seasons. He’s another talented freshman on Charlie Strong’s roster.

J.R. Sweezy, DT, NC State: Sweezy didn’t have a great statistical season but he does have one of the best names in this entire draft class. I kind of hope he gets picked by a team in California so he can become close friends with Snoop Dogg. Random thoughts aside, he has NFL size at 6’5”, 293 pounds but I honestly haven’t seen him play much at all. He had 19 total tackles (10 solo), 4.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks and 1 FF this season but remains a mid-late round pick right now. It will be interesting to see if he distinguishes himself in an all-star game, but right now I don’t know much about his game.

Audie Cole, LB, NC State: Cole is a senior linebacker on NC State and I really love watching him play. He had a great season with 98 total tackles (52 solo), 8.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 4 FF, 1 FR and 4 pass break-ups. He’s got a fantastic motor, gives 100% on every play and he is a good tackler which I love to see. So many players I’ve watched this year don’t tackle with good fundamentals, so it is always refreshing to see a player who wraps up. Cole is a 6’5”, 239 pound linebacker who moved inside this year but I think he could play outside as well. His versatility will help his stock though, and while he doesn’t have elite timed athleticism he does seem to have good range and instincts. His effort will be the big difference for him though, and that will help him get the most out of his ability.

Terrell Manning is a quality linebacker prospect that caught me off guard by declaring early for the NFL Draft.

Terrell Manning, OLB, NC State: Manning is another talented linebacker on NC State but to my surprise he has declared for the NFL Draft. He’s only a junior and I hadn’t heard much about him leaving, so it definitely caught me off guard a bit. He was productive at outside linebacker this year as he produced 70 total tackles (42 solo), 13.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 4 FF, 1 FR, 5 PBU’s and 2 interceptions. He looked like a beast to me and seemed to have impressive instincts, athleticism and looked like a very good tackler. I didn’t evaluate him much when he was dropping into coverage, but for a 6’3”, 233 pound linebacker he seemed to defend the run awfully well. I don’t know how well he will be able to stack and shed blocks to make plays at the line of scrimmage. I like his upside, but I was anticipating having another year to evaluate him. I’ll have to go back and watch more NC State film to get a better look at him.

David Amerson, CB, NC State: Amerson was probably the best NFL prospect in this game even if he isn’t eligible for the draft as far as I am aware. He is a 6’3”, 194 pound sophomore cornerback who had an astounding 13 interceptions this season. That’s more than some football teams got all year, but he managed to do it individually. He wasn’t often challenged, and one of his two interceptions in this game came on a hail mary late in the game, but he did have a second touchdown off of an interception on the season which helped change the game in favor of NC State. I always look for players who make critical plays that change the game in their teams favor and Amerson definitely did that against Louisville. If he has a season even remotely as impressive as this one was I would expect him to declare next year, but even if he doesn’t produce the same statistics next year I think he may declare. I wouldn’t be surprised if more teams threw away from him more often next year now that he has proven himself. Keep an eye on this kid, he has top 15 written all over him.

Thanks for reading! I’ve had this done for a couple days but my trip to the Rose Bowl interfered with posting it until now. Look out for my Florida State-Notre Dame post and a Rose Bowl recap, all coming soon!

–Tom

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville:
6’3”, 205 lb Fr. 167/253 (66% comp), 1,855 yards (7.3 YPA), 12:9 TD:INT, 95 rush yards, 3 TD’s.

Dominique Brown, RB, Louisville:
6’2”, 221 lb Soph. 131 attempts, 482 yards (3.68 average), 4 TD’s. 14 rec, 95 yards, 1 TD.

Victor Anderson, RB, Louisville:
5’9”, 188 lb Sr. 99 att, 478 yards (4.83 avg) 3 TD’s. 25 rec, 184 yards, 1 TD. 152 KR yards (25.33 avg)

Michaelee Harris, WR, Louisville:
6’2”, 198 lb Fr. 35 receptions, 438 yards (12.51 average), 2 TD’s.

Eli Rogers, WR, Louisville:
5’10”, 185 lb Fr. 34 receptions, 400 yards (11.76 average), 1 TD. 54 PR yards.

DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville:
6’3”, 196 lb Fr. 17 receptions, 276 yards (16.24 average), 6 TD’s.

Josh Chichester, TE, Louisville:
6’8”, 240 lb Sr. 27 receptions, 365 yards (13.52 average), 2 TD’s.

Mario Benavides, C, Louisville:
6’4”, 300 lb Jr.

Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville:
6’3”, 251 lb Soph. 10 total tackles (8 solo), 5.0 TFL, 5.0 Sacks, 1 FF, 1 Pass break-up.

Greg Scruggs, DT, Louisville:
6’4”, 285 lb Sr. 19 total tackles (12 solo), 6.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks, 1 FF.

William Savoy, OLB, Louisville:
6’1”, 246 lb Sr. 24 total tackles (12 solo), 7.5 TFL, 5.0 sacks, 1 kick blocked.

Dexter Heyman, OLB, Louisville:
6’3”, 238 lb Sr. 83 total tackles (52 solo), 15.5 TFL, 4.0 sacks, 3 INT, 1 FF, 1 PBU.

Mike Glennon, QB, NC State:
6’4”, 225 lb Jr. 262/420 (62.4% comp), 2,790 yards (6.6 YPA), 28:11 TD:INT ratio, -125 rush yards, 1 TD.

James Washington, RB, NC State:
6’0”, 180 lb Jr. 212 att, 852 yards (4.02 avg), 7 TD’s. 39 rec, 300 yards.
-Good receiver out of backfield

T.J. Graham, WR, NC State:
6’0”, 180 lb Sr. 39 rec, 641 yards (16.44 avg), 5 TD’s. 193 PR yards (12.06), 1 TD. 923 KR yards (22.51 avg)

Tobias Palmer, WR, NC State:
5’11”, 175 lb Jr. 35 receptions, 448 yards (12.80 avg), 4 TD’s.

George Bryan, TE, NC State:
6’5”, 265 lb Sr. 30 receptions, 302 yards (10.07 avg), 4 TD’s.
-Good receiver, solid blocker, but slow

Zach Allen, OG, NC State:
6’3”, 322 lb Jr.

Camden Wentz, C, NC State:
6’3”, 301 lb Jr.

Daryl Cato-Bishop, DE, NC State:
6’4”, 281 lb Soph. 21 total tackles (11 solo), 7.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 INT, 1 pass break-up.

Art Norman, DE, NC State:
6’1”, 242 lb Fr. 26 total tackles (18 solo), 7.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 PBU

Markus Kuhn, DT, NC State:
6’4”, 303 lb Sr. 42 total tackles (22 solo), 8.0 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 3 PBU’s, 1 Kick Blocked.

J.R. Sweezy, DT, NC State:
6’5”, 293 lb Sr. 19 total tackles (10 solo), 4.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 1 FF.

Audie Cole, OLB, NC State:
6’5”, 239 lb Sr. 98 total tackles (52 solo), 8.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 4 FF, 1 FR, 4 PBU’s.

Terrell Manning, ILB, NC State:
6’3”, 233 lb Jr. 70 total tackles (42 solo), 13.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 4 FF, 1 FR, 5 PBU’s, 2 INT’s.

David Amerson, CB, NC State:
6’3”, 194 lb Soph. 54 total tackles (37 solo), 1.0 TFL, 5 PBU’s, 11 INT’s (1 TD).

Brandon Bishop, S, NC State:
6’2”, 210 lb Jr. 77 total tackles (37 solo), 2.5 TFL, 5 INT’s, 1 FF, 1 PBU.

Andrew Luck is the ultimate prize for whatever NFL team manages to lose enough to get the #1 overall pick.

1- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford– Did you expect anyone else to be #1? He’s the best QB prospect I’ve seen since I’ve been scouting and he’s a great bet to be the #1 pick in the 2012 Draft should he declare after this season (and there have been rumblings that he will).

2- Matt Barkley, QB, USC- Barkley has been on my radar since he was a true freshman at USC. I was never sold on Aaron Corp and while I thought Mitch Mustain had potential as a sleeper before his off-field issues, I always thought Barkley was the most talented QB on the roster once he got there. That has proven to be true, and he has continued to develop in a pro-style offense since emerging as the starter during his freshman year. Now in his junior year it seems there is a strong chance he will declare. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did, but I think there is a small chance that he comes back to take a run at a Rose Bowl because their bowl ban will have expired. Part of me wants him to stay, but there isn’t much left for him to prove outside of leading his team to a great season with a post-season win.

3- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M- Tannehill flashed incredible upside last year leading Texas A&M to a furious finish before ultimately losing to LSU in the Cotton Bowl. He hasn’t had the same incredible start this season but he has still flashed potential. He doesn’t have much experience but as he continues to develop he could become a quality NFL QB. He has quality tools such as arm strength, accuracy and athleticism. Plus, he seems to be a guy with quality intangibles and leadership capability, so even if you need to develop him for a year or maybe two he has the upside physically and mentally to warrant early round consideration.

Russell Wilson might not be rated this high by other draftniks, but he's a great QB. The only serious knock on him as a prospect is his height.

4- Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin- Russell Wilson won’t be this high on many people’s rankings, but I was one of the people that was wholeheartedly convinced that he would be a spectacular quarterback for the Wisconsin Badgers and I said just as much in my post that I wrote shortly after it was announced that he was going to play for them this year. I didn’t think he’d be this terrific so early, but that really speaks to his fantastic intangibles and leadership qualities. Wilson’s only knock as a prospect and as a quarterback is his lack of size, as I would estimate he is about 5’10” or maybe slightly taller. That will make his transition to the NFL more difficult, but he is a very talented quarterback. He’s got very good arm strength, has accuracy to all levels of the field, throws a very nice deep ball, can make any NFL throw, and has demonstrated quality pocket poise at times. I think he could stand to improve as a passer with pressure around him when he’s in the pocket, especially when there is pressure at his feet. However, he is very athletic and uses his athleticism to extend plays and is great at making plays outside of the pocket. He may not be an ideal quarterback for a West Coast offense that requires frequent three step drops and throws as he will struggle to find throwing lanes at times and he may have problems with passes getting batted down at the line of scrimmage. But if he is drafted to a team with an offensive coordinator who knows how to get him out on the edge and make effective use of his athleticism and ability to throw on the move he could be a very dangerous quarterback. I know I won’t be betting against him simply because I know how hard he works and how well he assimilates into a new team. He became a leader of this 2011 Wisconsin Badgers team after being an official member of the roster for two months when it takes many quarterbacks two years if they can ever even become a captain. People have really underestimated how difficult and rare it is for him to do what he has done so far this year. Without sounding like a rabid Russell Wilson fanatic, it really is nothing short of incredible, not to mention very, very rare.

5- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor- As skeptical as I was of Griffin before the season based off of the film I watched of him last year, you can’t help but be impressed by the unbelievable statistical start to the season he has had. I’m still skeptical of the offense he operates in, but it’s very clear that he has developed since the end of last season. Due to his arm strength, improving accuracy, fantastic athleticism as well as his reputation for being a very intelligent, disciplined guy as well as a film junkie NFL talent evaluators and Draftniks alike are going to be salivating considering his potential. He still has strides to make in my opinion, but he has definitely progressed since last year. I’d be a fool to try to ignore that, so even if I still need to see more of him I can at least acknowledge that.

Landry Jones and Brandon Weeden are directing two of the most explosive, high-scoring offenses in the nation.

6- Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma- Landry Jones is a talented quarterback with quality size, arm strength and accuracy. His accuracy becomes more erratic when under pressure, however, and doesn’t seem to react well to pass rushers in his face. That is concerning for a NFL draft prospect, and it is the reason I might have him lower on this list than some other people do. He’s a quality prospect, I’m just not a big fan of him personally. He’s got upside, I’m just not sure he will ever be a quality NFL starter.

7- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State- Osweiler is a junior with only seven games of NFL experience up until this point, and he has a huge test upcoming against Oregon this Saturday. He’s got a fantastic combination of size and arm strength (reminiscent of Ryan Mallett to be perfectly honest) and his accuracy looks significantly improved over last season. He’s not very mobile, but he has a terrific arm and he’s progressing in the mental aspect of the game. He’s got a boatload of upside, and I’m personally a pretty big fan of his. I’d be surprised if he declared this year, especially since he would have a maximum of 16 games of starting experience at the end of this year, but if he did I would definitely expect him to get drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round range. But if he comes back I would be surprised if he didn’t end up in the 1st round discussion for 2013.

Geno Smith is quietly establishing himself as a quality NFL Draft prospect. He may not have had a fantastic game against LSU, but putting up 468 passing yards against that defense is definitely worth mentioning.

8- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia- Geno Smith was never someone I was particularly high on, but watching him put up 463 yards on LSU’s fantastic defense definitely opened my eyes. He was carving them up with downfield passes and showing off an impressive arm, and even though WVU was losing for most of the game he never stopped coming (even after they had been made into a one-dimensional offensive attack due to their struggling running game and the scoreboard). He wasn’t incredibly efficient as he threw 65 passes and completed only 38 of them (58.5% completion) and threw as many touchdowns as interceptions (2). One of them came on an incredible play by Tyrann Mathieu, but overall I was impressed with Smith. He looks very skinny on film, and I’d be surprised if he declared this season, but he definitely has upside in my opinion.

9- B.J. Coleman, QB, Chattanooga– Coleman definitely has upside, but he needs development. I don’t think he’s ready to step into a starting spot in his first year or two, but he’s definitely worth a mid-round pick. He has a strong arm, quality (but sometimes a bit inconsistent) accuracy, great size and some pocket poise. He just needs coaching and development, but he doesn’t have incredible upside in my opinion.

10- Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State- Weeden is a solid prospect but his age is going to make it hard for him to crack the top three rounds just because of his limited upside. How much better is he really going to get before he’s 30? He will improve with coaching, but at best he has a 5-7 year window as a starter once he gets to the NFL, and that’s assuming he sticks as a starter in the first place which as everyone knows is not guaranteed. He can stretch the field, he’s accurate and has been a key cog in one of the most explosive offenses in college football over the past two years, but his upside is limited due to his age and that makes him a mid-round guy.

11- Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State– Lindley is a guy that I identified as a player with upside that needs to improve in some areas. Right now he’s a mid-round guy with plus arm strength but inconsistent ball placement. He has upside due to his combination of solid size, quality arm strength and his athleticism but his accuracy is only above average at this point. He has struggled with ball placement as a junior and so far as a senior at times. He has a live arm so he definitely has upside, but if his accuracy doesn’t continue to develop then he won’t live up to his potential. He’s a developmental guy at this point with more upside than most mid-round QB’s.

Kellen Moore doesn't have much arm strength, but his other quality attributes make him draftable in my opinion.

12- Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State- Kellen Moore is an interesting guy because even though he is a smaller guy with very average arm strength I still think he has a shot in the NFL. I wouldn’t peg him as a starter in his first two seasons by any means, but he has quality accuracy, he’s very intelligent, he plays well in pressure situations and he’s got a vast amount of experience. He will have to transition from the spread offense that he has played in at Boise State, but because of his intangibles I don’t think that will be as big of a road block as it is for some spread QB prospects that attempt the same transition. He’s a fourth or fifth round pick in my opinion right now but he’s definitely got the upside to stick in the NFL. I’m not sure he will ever be a quality starter, but with his intelligence I think he can be a back-up QB in the NFL. I’m just not sure he has the arm strength to threaten defenses downfield and that can spell disaster at the NFL level.

13- Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State- Cousins is a guy I’ve been paying attention to since he was splitting snaps at QB with Keith Nichol as a sophomore and while he is definitely a NFL prospect I’m not as high on him as I thought I might have been. He hasn’t progressed like I was hoping he would and while he has the potential to stick in the NFL I would not bet on him being a quality NFL starter right now.

14- Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois- Harnish showed some ability when I watched him last year and while I haven’t had a chance to see him this year I definitely think he can stick in the NFL. I would like to see more consistent accuracy and ball placement from him before I would project him as a potential starter in the NFL, but I haven’t seen him play this year so I can’t speak to his progression from his junior to senior year yet.

15- Nick Foles, QB, Arizona- Foles is a prospect that you seem to either really like or completely dislike. I am personally not very high on him and I think that people putting 1st, 2nd or even 3rd round grades on him are vastly overrating him. He’s got good size and arm strength, and he’s accurate on short throws as well as medium throws at times, but the offense he plays in makes him look better than I think he really is. I’m definitely not high on him, but his size, arm strength, experience and production should get him drafted. I just don’t think it will be nearly as early as some people think.

Russell Wilson is a very well-rounded quarterback with plenty of upside. The only thing holding him back? His lack of height.

Size: This is Wilson’s most serious issue as a prospect, and it is what will likely hurt his stock more than anything once the season ends and the grueling NFL Draft postseason begins. I would estimate his height to be about 5’10” which is about three or four inches shorter than most teams would prefer at minimum at the quarterback position. Some people will write him off because of his lack of height, but while I acknowledge it will make life significantly harder for him in the NFL I will absolutely not write him off because of it. It will certainly negatively affect his stock though, and anyone would be foolish to argue otherwise.

Arm Strength: Wilson has very good arm strength. He has great zip on passes to all levels and throws a very nice deep ball. He can make every NFL throw thanks to his very good arm strength and this is definitely one of his strongest attributes. He can absolutely rifle throws from the pocket or when he is moving outside of the pocket which makes him very dangerous.

Accuracy: Wilson’s accuracy is also very impressive. He has quality accuracy to all levels of the field whether they are short, medium or deep throws. Wilson knows when to rifle a throw down the seam and when he needs to put some touch on a pass to drop a throw into a hole between the corner and safety on the sideline. He is also very accurate on the run which makes him dangerous on the outside because if the coverage breaks down at all Wilson can find a hole to throw the ball.

Mechanics: Wilson has quality mechanics. His throwing motion is compact and quick, he has good footwork in the pocket as well as plenty of experience dropping back from center. He has good footwork on play action as well. He usually keeps his shoulders square when scrambling outside of the pocket which is critical to throwing accurate passes on the run quickly. Wilson could stand to get out from under center quicker in my opinion, particularly when handing the ball off at times. But that is a pretty ticky-tacky mechanical flaw, and can easily be coached up.

Mobility: Wilson’s mobility is pretty rare for the position because not only can he threaten defenses with his legs because of his great athleticism he has managed to develop into a great passing quarterback with great mobility rather than a great runner that can throw as well. The distinction may not be very obvious, but the ability to scramble and gain yardage with your legs is usually a crutch that prevents athletic quarterbacks from developing into good or great passers. That is certainly not the case for Wilson but that doesn’t mean he can’t rip off big runs when he gets outside of the pocket. Teams have to account for his ability to run and that is so hard to do against Wisconsin thanks to their fantastic running game as well as Wilson’s ability to stretch the field as a passer. His mobility helps him extend plays and makes him a very dangerous passer outside of the pocket.

Pre/Post Snap Reads: Wilson seems to make very good pre and post snap reads based off of what I’ve seen of him. At times at NC State he would force passes into coverage and make poor decisions when he was simply trying to throw his team into the game and keep them competitive. But at Wisconsin he has been terrifyingly efficient now that he has one of the best running games in the country helping him balance out the passing attack. He does a good job of identifying coverages pre-snap and reads defenses well once he drops back to pass. He also does a good job of reading defenses quickly after play action fakes and does a good job of making decisive decisions.

Pocket Poise: I think pocket poise is a very important quality to identify in quarterbacks and I think Wilson has pretty good poise in the pocket, especially for someone with so much athletic ability who can scramble for positive yardage. One of the few weaknesses in his game seems to be when there is pressure around him in the pocket and trash at his feet. I’m not sure why this is, but it certainly limits his ability to find throwing lanes because of his height and he can’t often scramble out of it, so it makes sense that in these situations he would be less effective than others. I think that causes him some discomfort at times, and will result in throws off of his back foot or less accurate passes than when he has a cleaner pocket, when he can side-step the rush to find a throwing lane, or when he can move outside of the pocket where he has clear vision of the field.

Intangibles: Russell Wilson’s intangibles are off the charts as far as I’m concerned because of how significant of a leader he was at NC State and because he has been able to seamlessly transition into a completely different locker room and organization and not only become a quality starter, but become a fantastic player worthy of at least some Heisman consideration as well as the leader of his new team, all in a matter of weeks and months. As I like to say “you can’t coach that” and that is as true about Wilson’s intangibles as it is with anything else. He’s a very hard worker, he’s very poised, he’s intelligent and he is just a natural leader. Yes, I think the Badgers would have been good this year even with a question mark at quarterback, but Wilson has been the guy that has not only made them great, but has made them borderline unstoppable. There is definitely something to be said for that.

Character: Wilson’s character is top notch from what I know of him and he is considered to be a very hard worker, very studious, watches a lot of film and clearly has his head on straight. Drafting him won’t be a risk as far as character is concerned.

Overall: I’m a huge fan of Wilson and even though I expected him to be a terrific quarterback for the University of Wisconsin even I couldn’t have anticipated him being this good this soon. He has absolutely shut up everyone who doubted that he could transition into the Badgers smoothly and he has not only transformed the Badgers into contenders, he has transformed them into a virtual lock for the Rose Bowl as the eventual Big 10 champions. His height is his most significant issue as a prospect, and beyond that he is a very well-rounded prospect that if he was three or four inches taller would warrant serious first or second round consideration in my opinion. He’s got plenty of upside, he just has to prove that he can overcome his lack of ideal (or even average) height. Playing behind Wisconsin’s mammoth offensive line and having this kind of success can’t hurt, and it will be interesting to see how he ultimately translates to the NFL once he gets drafted.

Projection: 3rd-4th round. Wilson has the ability of a 1st or 2nd round selection, but his height will hurt his stock and make people question how well he will transition to the NFL. I think he can make it as a NFL starter, but his height certainly poses a significant barrier between himself and success at the next level. Personally, I’ll be rooting for him. I am really looking forward to seeing him play at the Senior Bowl this year if he elects to go.

NCAA Week 5 Top 25 Picks

South Florida over Pittsburgh

BJ Daniels should have a good game and Pittsburgh struggles with close games. The trouble is, this one might not end up being that close.

South Florida by 13

Texas A&M over Arkansas

Ryan Tannehill had a pretty good game last week in a loss to Oklahoma State, and the Aggies will be looking to rebound against Arkansas just a week after they were thoroughly dominated by Alabama. Both teams really need a win here, but I think Arkansas’ defense will prove problematic against the Aggies.

Texas A&M by 6

Michigan over Minnesota (Potential blow-out)

Denard Robinson should have a big game running and possibly a big game passing against the Gophers who are trying to turn the program around under Jerry Kill. The trouble is the head coach has had trouble with seizures, and there is no way it hasn’t had an impact on his players. Minnesota is simply overmatched in this game, and I see Michigan blowing them out.

Michigan by 24

Illinois over Northwestern

Illinois is a solid team but so is Northwestern. I expect Illinois to win, but don’t sleep on Northwestern. They are well coached and have some talent, plus they never go away. If the Illini let them hang around they could make a late push.

Illinois by 7

LSU over Kentucky (Potential blow-out)

LSU is hitting on all cylinders right now and Kentucky is going to be borderline powerless to stop them. Their defense is the best in the country and their running attack is extremely tough to slow down, much less stop. I see LSU winning in blow-out.

LSU by 24

Boise State over Nevada

Boise State lost this game to Nevada last year in dramatic fashion, but I don’t see Nevada pulling off two in a row. They should be overmatched, and Kellen Moore and company won’t be merciful after what Nevada did to their title hopes last season.

Boise State by 21

Georgia Tech over NC State

Georgia Tech’s running game is absolutely gashing anyone who gets in their way, even my beloved Tar Heels last week, and NC State’s defense isn’t on the same level as North Carolina’s. I expect them to run the ball early and often and control the clock in this game, and I think Georgia Tech should win pretty comfortably.

Georgia Tech by 17

West Virginia over Bowling Green

West Virginia is coming off of a rough loss against LSU, but Geno Smith looked poised and impressive staring into the teeth of the best defense in the nation and actually carved them up to an extent by throwing for 463 yards on 38 of 65 passing (58.5% completion) and two touchdowns and two interceptions. Was it a great game? No, but it was quite good for a developing quarterback against a fantastic defense. WVU should rebound easily against Bowling Green now that they know what their offense is truly capable of.

West Virginia by 28

Baylor over Kansas State

Robert Griffin III has been absolutely amazing this year. Through three games he has completed 70 of 82 pass attempts while throwing for 962 yards (11.73 yards per attempt, an insane number), 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. Last season he threw 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 13 games, an impressive statistical season. He is on pace to throw for well over 40 touchdowns at this current pace. It’s hard to imagine him continuing to play this way especially since he is averaging only four incompletions per GAME, but if he keeps playing comparably well to how he has started the season the Baylor Bears will be tough for anyone to beat. I don’t anticipate Kansas State being the team to cool Griffin off, so the Bears should win easily.

Baylor by 21

Auburn over South Carolina (upset)

I think South Carolina is pretty overrated and I think Auburn has a chance to pull off the upset here. Gene Chizik and his Auburn Tigers have a flair for the dramatic and they are tough to beat when you let them hang around. They always seem to make the big play late in the game to keep themselves alive, and they are well coached when it comes to playing from behind late in the game. I love Marcus Lattimore, but I don’t think Steve Spurrier has much faith in Stephen Garcia and I’m not sold on South Carolina’s defense. The game is in South Carolina, but I think Auburn has a great chance to pull off this upset. It will be interesting to see if they manage to do so.

Auburn by 3

TCU over SMU

I think SMU has a small chance of pulling off an upset here, but TCU is the better team overall. It will be interesting to see which way this game goes, but if SMU gets their offense going they could be tough to keep up with. Their running back Zach Line has 463 yards and 11 touchdowns in only four games, and their top receiver Darius Johnson has 27 catches, 398 yards and two scores already. I think TCU will win, but I don’t think it will be as easy as some people might think.

TCU by 7

Clemson over Virginia Tech

This was a really tough game for me to pick. I picked Clemson to upset Florida State last week, but Virginia Tech is extremely tough at home and the Tigers have to cool off EVENTUALLY right? Perhaps, but I don’t think it will be this week. I am high on Virginia Tech’s defense though and I think they have a chance to slow down Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and the rest of Clemson’s high flying offense in this game. However, what might define the game is how well Logan Thomas and Virginia Tech’s offense is able to play. Thomas has been solid thus far with 761 yards on 60 of 105 passing (57.1% completion) but he has thrown as many touchdowns (4) as interceptions. Clemson is on fire right now, so it will be interesting to see how this game plays out.

Clemson by 7

Texas over Iowa State

The Longhorns lost this game last year and I think they will make sure they show up to this one. Iowa State isn’t a push-over this year, but I think the Longhorns will be too much for them.

Texas by 14

Oklahoma over Ball State

Oklahoma still has a legitimate argument to be the #1 team in the country, so I don’t think they will have too much trouble with Ball State.

Oklahoma by 28

Alabama over Florida

This is going to be a fantastic game. I think Alabama and Florida have the 2nd and 3rd best defenses in the country only to LSU, so this is going to be a defensive slug fest if I had to guess. I picked Alabama because I trust their offense more thanks to Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy on the ground. This should be a great, close game though.

Alabama by 10

Wisconsin over Nebraska

This game is going to be fantastic. I have been waiting for this game ever since I heard that Russell Wilson might sign with the Badgers. Wisconsin’s run defense might be problematic against Nebraska, but I think Wisconsin’s offense is more than potent enough to put up points on the Cornhuskers. It should be a great game that is close right until the end, and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds. I do expect Russell Wilson to give the Badgers the push they need to win this game. A year ago I couldn’t have picked Wisconsin, but with Wilson at the helm I expect them to win.

Wisconsin by 7

Stanford over UCLA

Stanford is just too talented and well coached to be slowed down by UCLA.

Stanford by 21

Arizona State over Oregon State

Arizona State’s Brock Osweiler is a player that I am really warming up to, and I expect that he and the Sun Devils won’t have a lot of trouble with the win-less Oregon State Beavers.

Arizona State by 17

I was 16-3 last week, so let’s see how I do this week! Thanks for reading, and enjoy the games!

–Tom