FBS Game of the Week: #7 Oklahoma State @ #8 Texas A&M, 3:30 PM, College Station, TX
Point Spread: Texas A&M -4
Summary: Ignoring the backdrop of target that Texas A&M has placed on it's back by causing the instability in the Big 12, this game could have National Title implications. Both A&M and OK St. are top 10 teams, and whomever wins this game, will be a top ranked team if they can also knock off Oklahoma later this season. Both schools have high-powered offenses, with the Cowboys having the top ranked passing attack in the nation. The difference in this game is probably going to be A&M's defense, which is far stronger that OK State's. This game will also be watched by a number of scouts as both schools have quite a few potential pro prospects, including both quarterbacks (Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill). It should be a close game, but in the end I think the 12th man and the stronger defense will allow A&M to prevail. Prediction: 35-28, Aggies
Players To Watch:
Note: I've already looked at QB Brandon Weeden and OT Levy Adcock. Also WR Justin Blackmon appears to be a top 5 pick and unlikely an option for the Redskins.
Safety Markelle Martin (6'1", 192). Martin is the leader of the Cowboys young defense. While he is more of a free safety than strong safety, he could be an option for the Skins if LaRon Landry leaves via free agency. He is excellent in coverage, and displays high level ball skills, while taking good angles after ball carriers. If the Redskins want to feature more of a coverage safety tandem, he could be a solid 3rd rounder (could work his way into the 2nd round) for them.
Center Grant Garner (6'3", 293). Garner is part of the Cowboys very impressive offensive line, and the anchor in the middle. This is his 2nd year as a starter, and has thus far done a good job of keeping Weeden upright. Overall he's just a solid prospect and more of a late rounder, but could be a solid 6th or 7th round option.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (6'4", 220) - For the first 2 and a half years of his college career, Tannehill was one of the Aggies top receivers. Last year though he took over as their top quarterback, and hasn't looked back. Tannehill is pretty advanced for a guy who's been running routes the past couple of years, and while the offense doesn't show it, he has the speed and athletic ability to be a threat running the ball as well. Right now he appears to be a solid 2nd rounder, but I love his upside and think that he could have franchise quarterback potential. He'll probably need a year or so to develop on the bench, but his future is extremely bright.
Cornerback Coryell Judie (5'11", 190) - Judie doesn't get the press of many top corners, but he's a lot better then people give him credit for. He displays very good ball skills and solid awareness. He's also a dangerous return man, who can help a team out on special teams. If he preforms well in his match-up against Justin Blackmon, he could move into 2nd round consideration.
FBS Game of the Week: #2 LSU @ #16 WVU, 8:00, Morgantown, WV
TV Listing: ABC
Point Spread: LSU -6
Summary: LSU is putting together a National Title type of season, and shouldn't have to worry about a non-conference team like the Mountaineers, but they shouldn't get too overconfident. LSU hasn't really been too impressive on offense so far. While their defense has been really good, without a strong offense it could be hard to win on the road. The Mountaineers on the other hand, could be playing with something to prove as they aren't exactly being welcomed with open arms in the game of musical chairs that college football is currently undergoing. WVU has an extremely strong passing attack that will be a good match-up against the Tigers defense. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the homefield advantage will be too much for LSU. Prediction: 27-17, Mountaineers.
Players To Watch:
Note: I already looked at CB Morris Claiborne and C/G T-Bob Hebert
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.
Cornerback, Keith Tandy (5'10", 200) - Tandy is similar to Brandon Hogan who was drafted at the top of the 4th round a year ago. He's slightly undersized, but makes up for it with physical play and good ball skills. He'd be a nice mid-round addition to the Redskins, and it will be interesting to see him go up against Randle.
Offensive tackle Don Barclay (6'4", 310) - Barclay doesn't have the pedigree or upside of a number of top linemen, but he always gets the job done. Barclay is entering his 3rd year as a starter, and done an excellent job of protecting QB Geno Smith this season. He'll face a tough challenge against an active LSU front 7. If he has a strong game it could confirm him as a legit NFL prospect. Right now he appears to be a late round/UDFA type of player. But a strong work ethic and relentless play makes him an interesting one.
FCS Game of the Week: #10 James Madison vs. #5 William & Mary, 7 PM, Williamsburg, VA
TV Listing: CSN
Summary: William & Mary's Zable Stadium is already sold out for this early season Colonial Athletic Association clash. The winner of this game will have a leg up not only in the CAA but in the all important FCS polls, this matchup could very well go a long ways to determine who has home field advantage later down the road in the playoffs. William & Mary has certainly had an odd season thus far this year. They started out getting destroyed at Virginia, then went on to crush VMI, and then just last week they had to squeak out an embarrassing three point victory against Division II opponent the University of New Haven.
JMU is a little more battle tested at this point in the season. The Dukes were blown out in Week 1 by UNC 42-10, then had a bit of a troublesome game the next week barely beating Central Connecticut State by five points. Most importantly, Mickey Matthews squad was able to pull off a big road win last week, beating #23 Liberty with a last second field goal and a very physical game. Prediction: Thus far the Tribe has not lived up to their Top 5 ranking, I think the more battle tested Dukes will pull off another big road victory 23-17
Players To Watch:
Both of these squads are very sound, but both lack major NFL prospects at this point. However, there are some guys that could sneak into the later rounds or get picked up as UDFAs. You should definitely keep an eye on these guys this week:
William & Mary
Jonathan Grimes, RB, 5'9, 207 lbs
Alex Gottlieb, TE, 6'3, 250 lbs
Marcus Hyde, DE, 6'2, 231
Roane Babington, C, 6'1, 287 lbs
Mike Allen, CB, 5'11, 180 lbs