Wisconsin vs Michigan 12PM EST ESPN
Wisconsin's Joe Thomas was
wavering about his future plans late last year. That was until the
blind side tackle played sparingly at defensive end during the Outback Bowl
against Auburn and tore a ligament in his knee. With his rehabilitation
ahead of schedule Thomas came into the season as the number one ranked tackle
And while he's looked good during the Badgers
first three games Thomas will face his toughest competition of the year on
Michigan's Lamarr Woodley is a ferocious
pass rusher on the college level who terrorized Notre Dame last weekend.
Were it not for poor size/speed numbers (6'-1"/270lbs/4.80 seconds) Woodley
would be a lock in round one yet is likely to be a second frame selection as a
rush linebacker for a 3-4 defense. Rondell Biggs is similar in that
the productive collegiate defender offers marginal computer numbers for the NFL
(6'-1.5"/276/4.80), projecting as a late round pick and pass rush
specialist next April.
This point can't be argued, Woodley and Biggs
make a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage. It will be a great test
Arizona State vs California 3:30 EST FoxSports
This is a terrific opportunity for Cal running
back Marshawn Lynch to show off his talent. The top rated junior is
expected to enter next April's draft and will be a top 15 selection.
Arizona State does not have the defensive firepower in the front seven to slow
Lynch down, never mind shut him down.
A different battle on the perimeter between a
pair of middle round choices must be watched. After Tim Mixon went
down with a knee injury just prior to the season Daymeion Hughes became
the top cornerback for Cal. A solid middle round choice, Hughes is a tough
coverman effective as a zone corner or backed off the line of scrimmage.
Hughes job this weekend will be to shutdown
Arizona State's passing attack which is averaging nearly 300-yards per
game. Terry Richardson was suppose to be the heir apparent Derek Hagan, the former Sun Devil who was drafted in the third round by the Miami Dolphins last April.
Though Richardson came into the season with a
fourth round grade his play has been disappointing thus far. Totaling just
three receptions in '06, Richardson has made lots of noise in the press this
week, vowing to become the pass catching force people expect him to be.
Penn State vs Ohio State 3:30 EST ABC
Another important Big Ten battle as the Nittany
Lions travel to Columbus, trying to pull the upset over number one ranked Ohio
into the season linebacker Paul Posluszny was miscast as a potential top
ten pick by some. A productive college linebacker, Posluszny, who carries
a mid-second round grade from BLESTO Scouting, did not have the athletic skills
or computer numbers to warrant a top-twenty selection in our opinion.
Factor in Posluszny was coming off a minor knee injury while adjusting to a
position switch and it's been tough sledding for the Butkus Award candidate in
After playing on the outside as a junior
Posluszny was kicked to inside linebacker after Penn State switched to a 3-4
defense. His production has been under whelming as has that of Tim Shaw,
another solid NFL linebacker prospect who came into the season with a fourth
This week their prime duty will be to stop Ohio
State's potent running attack. Buckeye running back Antonio Pittman
has been effective this season, including a solid performance against a tough
Texas defense. Pittman could be headed to the NFL where his grades out as
a top 75 pick.
Alabama vs Arkansas 3:30 EST CBS
For the second week in a row the SEC West has
an important divisional game on the schedule.
To date running back Kenneth Darby has
had a very disappointing year. The power runner with outstanding
size/speed numbers (5'-10.5"/215/4.50) carried a second round grade into
the season. Yet against three marginal opponents Darby has totaled
169-yards rushing with no scores. And while defenses have filled the box
and challenging the Tide to throw the ball, more was expected of Darby this
Arkansas hopes to turn the corner this year
after several losing seasons. Part-n-parcel to this turnaround is a tough
defensive front seven which features a pair of run stuffing tackles and a very
Senior Keith Jackson is a plugger in the
middle and a lineman built low to the ground. He presently carries a late
sixth round grade. Sam Olajubutu is a fiery linebacker who flies
around the field and led Arkansas with 118-tackles last season. At just
5-feet-9-inches and 227-pounds he projects as a back-up weak-side linebacker for
a 3-4 defense and should be a special teams demon. The top player of the
group is junior Marcus Harrison. An explosive defensive lineman,
Harrison offers terrific size, quickness and athleticism.
Darby's ability to run through this group would
go a long way in getting his game back on track.
USC vs. Arizona 8PM ABC
Thus far the Trojans have carved up opposing
defenses with new starter John David Booty behind center. This week they could
well do the same to the Wildcats.
comes off a sensational performance against the black-shirts of Nebraska. Steve Smith also turned in terrific numbers against the Cornhuskers. The
Trojan pass catching team faces one of the most talented defensive backfields in
the nation this weekend.
Junior Antoine Cason is a terrific
cornerback who projects as a top sixty pick if he opts for the draft.
Third year sophomore Wilrey Fontenot is a terrific player in his own
right and a cover man with great upside. Michael Johnson is a
highly rated safety and a senior who likes to intimidate any receiver that comes
across the middle.
This is a huge test for all three against the
Trojan trio who hopes to keep the momentum going.