NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 08: The exterior of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is seen prior to the Allstate BCS Championship on January 8, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The college football season comes to an end tonight as #2 Alabama (11-1) takes on #1 LSU (13-0) in New Orleans. As we all know this will be a rematch of an early November defensive battle in which LSU won in overtime 9-6. Both teams, obviously, have a slew of NFL talent on their roster. We have been highlighting both teams prospect throughout the season and we'll take a look back at those capsules, as well as give you a prediction for tonight's game.
LSU Pro Prospects
From season opener vs. Oregon:
Patrick Peterson might have been the star of LSU's defensive backfield, but his fellow CB Morris Claiborne (6'0", 185) is no slouch. Claiborne led the team with 5 int's last year to go along with 11 passes defended. He was selected to the 2nd team All-SEC team, and looks to follow in Peterson's footsteps in his Junior year.
Center/Guard T-Bob Hebert (6'3", 305) has started 18 games for the Tigers over the last two years, and looks to be a solid versatile late round pick next April. He plays with a nasty streak, and honestly who wouldn't want to have a T-Bob on their team (seriously just imagine the personalized jersey sales)? T-Bob is the son of former Saints QB Bobby Hebert.
* Hebert has since been replaced by PJ Lonegran
From early season matchup with West Virginia:
WR Rueben Randle (6'4", 208) - Randle is having an impressive junior campaign and could consider jumping to the NFL after this season. He's got good speed, and has a big frame that he uses well to shield the ball from defenders. His quarterback play has always been erratic (part of the reason he could go pro), so it is tough to get a read off of him at times, but he has flashed big time potential. At best he is probably a third round prospect, but he could develop quickly into a contributor and would give the Skins an additional big target.
SS Brandon Taylor (6'0", 200) - Taylor is the heart and soul of that LSU defense, and would be an interesting late round pick-up to replace another Tiger if Landry left. He's a high character guy, who is a strong tackler. He doesn't generate a lot of hype, but I see him as an NFL'er going forward.
Alabama Pro Prospects:
From early season matchup with Penn State:
DT Josh Chapman (6'1", 310) - Chapman anchors the Tide's 3-4 defense at the nose tackle position and could be an interesting selection for the Skins next season. He excels at taking on two blockers and pushing the pocket. He hasn't taken his game to the next level where he breaks a lot of double teams, but he has flashed potential. He could give the Redskins another quality NT and allow Cofield more reps at DE.
DE/ILB Courtney Upshaw (6'2", 265). Upshaw does everything for the Tide and it is a little hard to say where he projects in the NFL. He could just be a traditional rush linebacker in the 3-4, but given his ability to shed blockers and instincts in the ground game he could be effective as a hybrid ILB, who plays with his hand down some and blitzes from the inside. Upshaw is a fantastic pass rusher and looks to be a top 50 pick.
There are plenty of other prospects we all know about and to keep an eye on tonight, here is a complete list:
Trent Richardson- RB (1st round)
Dre Kirkpatrick- CB (1st round)
Courtney Upshaw- DE/OLB (1st round)
Donta Hightower- ILB (1st round)
Mark Barron- SS (2nd round)
Josh Chapman- NT (2nd round)
Robert Lester- S (3rd round)
Marquis Maze- WR (5th round)
Darius Hanks- WR (UDFA)
Brad Smelley- FB/TE (7th round)
Michael Williams- TE
Barrett Jones- OT
Chance Warmack- OG
William Vlachos- C (5th round)
Jesse Williams- DE
DeQuan Menzie- CB (7th round)
Morris Claiborne- CB (1st round)
T-Bob Hebert- C (7th round)
DeAngelo Peterson- TE (7th round)
Brandon Taylor- SS (7th round)
Jarrett Lee- QB (UDFA)
Reuben Randle- WR (2nd round)
Russell Shepard- WR
Alex Hurst- OT
PJ Lonegran- C
Ryan Baker- LB (UDFA)
underclassmen in italics
Prediction: Alabama 20, LSU 16. Alabama takes the rematch behind the intense preparation of Nick Saban.
Who will win tonight's BCS Championship?
#1 LSU (122 votes)
#2 Alabama (170 votes)
292 total votes