HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 03: Running back Michael Hayes #29 of the Houston Cougars is brought down by Tony Dye #6 of UCLA at Robertson Stadium on September 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Usually when a conference has its first ever championship game its a pretty big deal. This is not the case with the Pac-12, who I think is trying to get people to totally ignore the inaugural championship tonight. #9 Oregon (10-2) will host the game tonight in Eugene. Usually the game would feature Southern California who is one the hottest teams in the country and also 10-2. The game would be a rematch of a pretty solid matchup two weeks ago. Instead of USC we get the team they pounded 50-0 last week, UCLA (6-6). AWKWARD, Rick Neuheisel will be coaching his team tonight despite being fired earlier this week. Part of me just wants to see UCLA pull it off and just create one of the most awkward Rose Bowls in history.
Anyways, Oregon's pro prospects have been well documented throughout the year but what about UCLA? The Bruins top pro prospect comes in Tony Dye a 5'11, 210lbs strong safety.
Strengths: Dye is an incredibly gifted athlete and the leader on the Bruins defense. I think one area that he can excel in in the NFL is covering tight ends, he won't back down and reminds me a lot of DeJon Gomes. He's a very aggressive safety in not only the passing game but in run support. I think what you'll see in Dye tonight is a guy with confidence, which is impressive considering what's around him. He'll certainly be busy to say the least this evening.
Weaknesses: Dye has a lingering knee issue that has caused him to miss seven games this season, prior to this year he had missed none. He's also not much of a ball hawk or playmaker with only one career interception. Finally, the aggressiveness I pointed to before can occasionally get him in trouble, as he may over-pursue from time to time.
Projected Draft Slot: Dye has likely slipped all the way to the 7th round with his injury this year, but I think he'd be a steal there. You can never have enough safety depth in my opinion.
Tonight's game will be on Fox at 8PM EST