FBS Game of the Week: #1 Oklahoma @ #5 Florida State, 8:00 PM, Tallahassee, FL
TV Listing: ABC
Point Spread: Oklahoma -3
Summary: This is without a doubt the game of the week, as both the Sooners and the Seminoles are expected to win their conferences and be National Title contenders. For the Sooners to get a National Title berth, they could use a big win out of conference as the Big 12 isn't what it used to be with Texas down and Nebraska playing in the Big Ten. A road win at Florida State would prove that the Sooners are legit, and it would go a long way to helping Landry Jones's Heisman chances. I'd expect a better game this year than when the Sooners won last year 41-17, but Oklahoma is still the safer choice to win this game. Prediction: 35-24, Sooners
Players To Watch: Florida State- RT Zebrie Sanders, (6'6", 306). Sanders would probably play left tackle at about 90% of the schools in this country, but at FSU he is regulated to the right side. Sanders is very athletic for a right tackle, and very well could be a left tackle down the line in the NFL. He's got good agility for his size and rarely is overmatched against either speed or strength. Right now he is overlooked and appears to be more of a mid-round prospect, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him a top 75 pick next April. LT Andrew Datko (6'6", 310). Datko is the reason why Sanders is so overlooked, and that is because he is so dominate himself. Datko is among the best left tackles in the nation and appears to be a mid-1st round pick to early 2nd round pick depending on how this year goes. He's fairly refined as a player and should be a guy who can start from day one.
Oklahoma- Quarterback Landry Jones, (6'4", 230). Jones is one of the best quarterback prospects in the country and would be considered for a number 1 draft pick, if not for Andrew Luck. As it stands he's the 2nd quarterback on my board. I love his moxie and decision making in the pocket, and think that he delivers pretty accurate throws overall. At times he gets sloppy with his footwork, but overall this isn't a real concern. The two concerns you hear the most are, a slight hitch in his delivery and him being a primary shotgun quarterback. The hitch in his delivery is noticeable, but it isn't unprecedented. Plenty of top quarterbacks have had issues with their delivery over the years that haven't had an issue in the NFL. As for the concern about being a shotgun quarterback, I don't consder it an issue given his overall skill set. I will say that because of the hitch and system, as well as him being only a junior, I wouldn't consider him a year one starter (though only a handful of quarterbacks ever are). If the Redskins fall on some rough times this year and end up with a top 10 pick, Jones would be a good selection for them (though even from there they might have to trade up). Center Ben Habern, (6'3", 292). Habern is the unsung hero of the Sooners offense, and one of the more underrated centers in the country. He is very good on the move (making him a nice fit for the ZBS) and excels in pass blocking. He's just a junior so he might not come out, but if he does he'd be a very good 4th-5th round selection.
FBS Random Game: Pittsburgh @ Iowa, 12:00 PM, Iowa City, Iowa
TV Listing: ESPN3, ESPN2
Point Spread: Iowa -3
Summary: These two quality programs are both going through a transition period this season. Iowa had a lot of turnover from last year's team, and is starting a much younger unit, while Pittsburgh is learning a new system under head coach Todd Graham. Neither team is likely to be more than just Bowl eligible this year, but it is a game worth watching as both teams have some solid NFL prospects. Prediction: 31-27, Hawkeyes
Players To Watch: Iowa- Offensive tackle Riley Reiff (6’6", 300). Reiff is just a junior but he already looks to be the next best offensive tackle to come out of the Big Ten. He's got excellent size and moves well to set the edge. He's already considered a 1st round talent, and with another great year he could work his way into the top 10 range. The Redskins biggest issue going forward is their offensive line, and if they are in a position with no quarterback on the board but an offensive tackle like Reiff, they'd be crazy to pass on him. Cornerback Shaun Prater (5'10", 185). Prater is the Hawkeyes best cornerbacks, and is among the better defenders in the nation (among seniors). He makes good adjustments to the ball, using his impressive speed to cover a lot of ground. When he does get an interception, he can be very dangerous returning it as well. Overall he looks to be a 3rd-5th round prospect, but he's got the upside to be at least a nickel corner down the road.
Pitt- Offensive Guard Lucas Nix (6'5", 310). Nix is among the better guard prospects in the country, though when you look for him in the game he'll be likely lined up at RT. Nix isn't a great fit on paper for the zone blocking system, but then again neither have recent draft picks Erik Cook and Maurice Hurt. What Nix is though, is a strong balanced blocker who envelops defenders when he gets his hands on them. He looks to be a 3rd round prospect right now, and could be a fit as the Redskins hopefully address their offensive line next season. Inside linebacker Max Gruder (6'1", 230). Gruder has played every linebacking postion for the Panthers over the years, but is likely to move inside as a pro. He's a very instinctual linebacker, who is a sure tackler. He has demonstrated leadership over the years, and always seems to be around the football. Gruder looks to be about a 5th round pick right now, but that is subject to change. He'd be a solid late round selection, who can help provide depth if a Perry Riley or Lorenzo Alexander moves into the starting lineup next year.
FCS/Local Game of the Week: Hampton @ Old Dominon, 6 PM, Norfolk, VA
TV Listing: CSN
Summary: Serious bragging rights for the 757 will be on the line this week at Foreman Field. ODU is just in its third year as a football program but they have been able to amass a 19-5 record over those three years. This year alone the Monarchs are outscoring their opponents (Campbell, Ga State) 81-31. The Hampton Pirates also come into the contest going 2-0, they defeated Alabama A&M in Week 1 and then defeated the Florida A&M Rattlers in Week 2 in front of a national televised audience. Prediction: 30-17 Monarchs
Players to Watch: Old Dominion’s lone upper classman that will likely end up being a late round draft pick is redshirt-senior, Ronnie Cameron. Cameron is 6’1, 298 lbs and is a transfer from when Hofstra disbanded their football program. Last year alone Cameron had 77 tackles with 19 of those going for a loss. This summer he was added to many defensive lineman award watch lists around the country.
Hampton: The Pirates Kenrick Ellis was a HH favorite last year to be drafted as a nose tackle. This year their most promising prospect can be found in transfer cornerback Micah Pellerin. Pellerin was on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Dean List as a freshman before leaving Southern Miss for Hampton. His main attributes come in his above average height for a CB (6’0), good hands, and great footwork. He has tremendous closing speed but needs to bulk up more to become a psychical corner. He will likely go in the 6th or 7th round of this year’s draft.