Big 12: Colorado vs. Texas (ABC/1:00pm
This contest could be over soon after it
starts. Texas looks to sure up a Rose Bowl berth and play for the national
title. Colorado backed into this game thanks to Iowa State's overtime loss
Can Colorado stop Vince Young? Unlikely.
CU's defensive line pales in comparison to the Longhorn offensive front they
will face and the
Buffalo front four will tire as the game proceeds. Tackles James Garee and
Vaka Manupuna are potential late selections. Safety Brian Iwuh is
explosive and physical yet projects to outside linebacker in the NFL.
As previously mentioned the Longhorns
offensive line has four, potentially five draftees. Many feel Jonathan Scott has made the biggest strides of any tackle in the nation. While
several of the higher rated prospects (Andrew Whitworth, Eric Winston and
Marcus McNeill) have watched their draft stock slip, Scott is on a straight shot
north. Ditto for Justin Blalock, the powerful right tackle who could
declare for April's draft. Guard Will Allen is a solid late round choice while
scouts love junior Kasey Studdard, who's been a big factor in the run
game this year. Finally, senior reserve Mike Garcia could get late round
looks based on his size and skill he flashes.
CU tight end Joe Klopfenstein is
having a terrific season and the pass-catching threat has moved up draft
boards. Teammate Quinn Sypniewski is one of the better run blocking tight
ends in the nation and has stayed healthy for most of the season.
Sypniewski suffered with durability issues in the past.
Longhorn defensive back Michael Huff has
improved his draft stock as much as anyone in this game.
Depending on how teams project Jimmy Williams of Virginia Tech, Huff could be the
first safety selected in the draft and end up in the later half of round one next
April. Then again, many feel Huff will play cornerback at the next level.
Colorado's kicking game is probably the best in
the nation and possesses two top prospects. Punter John Torp gets great
hang-time on his punts and flips the field with his leg strength. If junior
Mason Crosby enters the draft he will be the first place-kicker selected.
Another powerful leg, Crosby puts the ball through the end zone on
kick-offs and shows the same distance on field goals. In a loss to Iowa
State last month Crosby connected on a 57-yard field goal with ten yards to spare.
C-USA: Tulsa vs. Central Florida (ESPN/12:00pm
A battle of the unexpected take to the field in
Orlando. Central Florida did not win a game in '04 yet got hot early this
season and has been on a roll ever since. Tulsa also struggled last year
yet played well and benefited from UTEP's unexpected loss last week.
Tight ends Darcy Johnson of Central Florida and
Garrett Mills from Tulsa are a study in
contrast. Johnson is well sized and competent blocking or catching the
ball. Not a downfield threat, he has the
skills to be a back-up in the NFL.
Mills on the other hand is a game-changer on
the college level. Undersized and a player who lines-up at both tight end and
fullback, his performance against Oklahoma early in the season almost single-handedly
led to a Tulsa victory over the Sooners. Mills has limited potential at the next level yet
the penchant for making positive plays coupled with his toughness should help
him find a
roster spot in the NFL.
UCF defensive end Paul Carrington is a solid
athlete who works hard to make positive plays. Offering growth potential,
Carrington is a solid developmental prospect.
SEC: Georgia vs. LSU (CBS/6:00PM EST)
Were it not for a second half collapse against
Tennessee early in the season, LSU could have staked a claim for the Rose
Bowl. Georgia possesses plenty of
pro-potential on its' roster.
Tiger tackle Andrew Whitworth was set to
enter last April's draft until he had a conversation with LSU's new coach, Les Miles.
Whitworth has struggled this season and is
dropping down draft boards. He could redeem himself on Saturday with
a good performance against Georgia's Quentin Moses, one of the nation's
best pure pass rushers.
On the flip side Claude Wroten of LSU is
having a good year at defensive tackle and proving himself to be worthy of a
first round selection. Clogging the middle of the line, Wroten flashes
pass rush skill and will be pitted against Max Jean-Gilles, another
highly rated lineman. A massive blocker, Jean-Gilles is a top 45 selection
next April at offensive guard, though he does have the versatility to fill in at
tackle in a pinch.
LSU has a terrific stable of young
receivers. Dwayne Bowe is a future early pick in the NFL draft
while Craig Davis is a developing young prospect. Georgia has an
excellent pair of senior cornerbacks in Tim Jennings and Demario
Minter. Both are small compared to the wide outs the Tigers will put
on the field yet each has first day potential next April.
ACC: Virginia Tech vs. Florida State
The inaugural ACC title game takes place in
Jacksonville and pits a solid Virginia Tech team against a Florida State squad
that's hit the skids. If the Seminoles can protect their quarterback and
block for the running game they have a chance.
Word in scouting circles has been all over the
place as to whether or not Marcus Vick will enter the draft. One
thing is unanimous; scouts say Vick would be making a huge mistake should he
leave for the NFL.
Saturday night will be a good test as Vick
faces an awesome Seminole front seven. Kamerion Wimbley is having a
terrific senior season, terrorizing opposing quarterbacks and watching his draft
stock soar. Interior tackle Brodrick Bunkley is another shooting up
draft boards. Bunkley does not have the great size yet his quickness and
explosion puts him in the draft's top 50 selections.
Then their are the 'Nole linebackers.
Junior Ernie Sims is a fringe first round selection should he enter the
draft. Some feel A.J. Nicholson is overrated yet we disagree.
The outside linebacker has been a steady force all year and should be a top 75
selection in April.
Two inaugural conference title games get underway tomorrow and are joined by a pair which have been around for a while. Several potential first round choices will take the field starting with the Big 12 championship game. Yet at the same time all four games offer NFL-prospects which will be sprinkled throughout all seven rounds of next April's draft.