HH College Football Preview

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Vontaze Burfict #7 of the Arizona State Sun Devils points and yells at quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the University of Southern California Trojans just prior to a play at Sun Devil Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

FBS Game of the Week: #18 Arizona State @ #9 Oregon, 10:15 PM, Eugene, Oregon
TV Listing: ESPN
Point Spread:
 Oregon -14.5

Summary: The Ducks have rebounded from their opening week loss against LSU, but will face their toughest challenge of the season in the Sun Devils. Arizona State is off to a great start, as they have already knocked off USC and Missouri this season from the Top 25. The Sun Devils are winning with their great defense and a surprisingly talented offense led by Junior QB Brock Osweiler. Arizona State is going to Oregon, which is a major disadvantage, but they should make it a good game. The Ducks will need to show they can win a tough game without their best weapon LaMicheal James. I think it will be fairly close, but the Ducks end up winning Prediction: 42-31, Ducks

Players To Watch: Arizona State-

Inside Linebacker Vontaze Burfict (6’3", 250). Burfict is the heart and soul of the Sun Devils defense, and is probably one of the top 5 ILB prospects to come out in the past 10 years. Burfict has exceptional play recognition, and closing speed. He is a violent hitter and can be effective blitzing the quarterback as well. Burfict's temper has gotten him into problems in the past, taking stupid penalties or cheap shots, but he's gotten better each year, and with the right mentor he should be alright. With the Redskins facing father time (assuming they resign him) with London Fletcher, and free agency with Rocky McIntosh, adding a stud ILB would be a smart play. Burfict could learn from Fletcher, before taking over the play calling responsibilities. If the Skins don't take a QB in the first round Burfict would be a good mid-round fall back option.

Wide Receiver Gerrell Robinson (6'4", 220). Robinson has always had the size, athleticism and projection, but now he finally has the production to go along with it. He's the Sun Devils top receiving threat, though his numbers are overall modest since they spread the ball around a lot. He's having what should be a career year though, and is moving up the bottom of the draft. He doesn't possess great speed or agility, but it is still good. And his size and leaping ability make him a great red zone threat. Robinson could be an intriguing late round option for the Skins as they look to maybe add another receiver into the mix next season. 

Oregon- Cornerback Cliff Harris (5'11", 165). Harris is one of the most electrifying players in college football as he has a chance to take it for 6 every time he touches the ball. He's a big time return man/ballhawk, and when the ball is in his hands Oregon always has a chance to score. Harris does need to mature some, as he has had some off the field issues, and isn't on the field as much as his talent suggests.  He also needs to work on his instincts some as at times he gambles too much. He is a very similar player to DeAngelo Hall and that could be his upside (i.e. good to very good starting corner, never a shutdown guy though). I think he will probably declare, but my guess is he is more of a late 2nd to early 3rd round type of player.

Linebacker Josh Kaddu (6'3", 235). Kaddu has really come on his senior season as a leader of that defense. He's got good size with tremendous athletic ability. Right now he is more of a projection player, but the upside is there. He'd need to add some bulk, but he could be an intriguing option to move inside. Right now he looks to be in the 5th round range, though that might be a bullish prediction.

FBS Random Game of the Week: #15 South Carolina @ Miss. St. 12:21 PM, Startville, MS
TV Listing: ESPN3, SEC Network
Point Spread:
 South Carolina -3

Summary: The Gamecocks are still in the thick of the SEC, but haven't been nearly dominant as some projections had them being. Part of the issue is former quarterback Stephen Garcia (who has now been dismissed from the team), who woefully under-performed this season. Sophomore Connor Shaw has taken over and rejuvenated the team with his 300 yard and 4 TD performance last week. South Carolina's ample offense is supplemented with one of the better defenses in the nation. They will face a tough Mississippi State team, that in another conference would probably be in the thick of the race. The Bulldogs have a solid offense and a good defense, and should give South Carolina some problems at home. I like the Gamecocks in this one, in a close scoring affair. Prediction: 27-21, Gamecocks

Players To Watch: Mississippi St.

Cornerback Johnthan Banks (6’2", 195). Banks is just junior, but he could be looking to make the jump to the NFL this year. He's a big, physical corner who converted from safety after his freshman year. He shows an aptitude for blitzing and helping out in run support. and pretty good instincts. He's looking like a 3rd rounder at this point, but his stock could move up to the 2nd round level.

Running Back Vick Ballard (5'11", 220). Ballard is a former junior college transfer, that has developed into the Bulldogs feature back. He has good size, that allows him to absorb contact. He's got solid speed and agility as well. He's a solid mid-round RB option, and could interest the Skins if Washington parts ways with Tim Hightower.

South Carolina- Cornerback Stephon Gilmore (6'1", 193). Gilmore has started for the Gamecocks since arriving on campus three years ago. He is a fantastic athlete, who can be very dangerous when he touches the ball. He's a bigger corner, and he has done well against taller receivers. While he's flashed a lot of ability he has yet to show that he is a truly elite CB. I like him in the early-to-mid 2nd round range, and he could be a good value for the Redskins 2nd round pick. 

Defensive end Melvin Ingram (6'2", 276). At first glance Melvin Ingram looks like he should be an afterthought for the Redskins. He has spent the majority of his career as a rotational player (mainly pass rusher), and he looks to be a tweener for a 4-3 team, without a set role for a 3-4 system. Put on the tape though and you will see Melvin Ingram can play, and that he could fit in any system. The Gamecocks move him all over the field, and will even rush him out of a two point stance at times. He stunts, recognizes the run, and hustles all around the field with the best of them. While typically you'd like to see a 3-4 DE with more size, Ingram reminds me a lot of Pernell McPhee the Ravens 5th round pick, who has carved out a pretty significant role for himself in Baltimore at basically the same size. Ingram, could help the Skins the same way he helps South Carolina, by moving him around to take advantage of match-ups (with a primary focus on passing downs). He might need to add a little bulk, but overall I think he'd be a great late 3rd-early 4th round pick.

 

 

FCS Game of the Week: #20 Coastal Carolina @ Liberty, 3:30 PM, Lynchburg, VA
TV Listing: ESPN3

Summary: Big South supremacy and possibly a playoff berth will be on the line in Lynchburg this Saturday as the Chanticleers visit the Flames. These two programs have accounted for the Big South Championship for seven years in a row.  These are also two of the most talent laden teams in FCS, with some tremendous matchups. Prediction: 27-17 Liberty

Players To Watch (Seniors): 

Liberty
Wide Receiver, Chris Summers (6’5, 215lbs)
Quarterback, Mike Brown (6’0, 205lbs)
Nose Tackle, Asa Chapman (6’5, 380

Coastal Carolina
Cornerback, Josh Norman (6’2,190lbs)

* Important Note: FBS games are done by Steve

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