The Pac-12 doesn't have to worry about losing to any Big Sky Teams this week, but losing to B1G teams is almost as bad. They play three of the B1G's top teams. The Pac-12 in two, but have a pretty good shot of winning up to three. This will be my first look at Anthony Barr, ASJ and Will Sutton who could be the Pac-12's 3 top picks. Also, the Ducks compete against the invincible SEC. If the Ducks somehow lose this game, SEC fans will be even more unbearable that they already are.
UCLA @ Nebraska Sept 14th, 9:00 PST - ABC
UCLA Players to Watch: Brett Hundley QB(17) #17 SO -- Shaq Evan WR(32) #1 SR -- Xavier Su’A-Filo LG(5) #56 -- Anthony Barr OLB(1) #11 SR -- Eric Kendricks ILB(14) #6 -- Cassius Marsh DE(14) #99 SR
Nebraska Players to Watch: Spencer Long RG(4) #61 SR -- Jeramiah Sireles LT(12) #71 SR -- Kenny Bell WR(12) #80 JR -- Ameer Abdullah RB(8) #8 JR -- Jason Ankrah DE(26) #9 SR -- Taylor Martinez QB/ATH(13) #3 SR
Key Matchups: Barr v. Sireles -- Marsh v. Long
Preview: Both of these teams have proved little this year. Each have played a MWC opponent. UCLA blew out Nevada, while Nebraska was biting their nails against Wyoming. This will be my first glimpse of Anthony Barr this year. Most think he’s a top 10 draft pick. I will be looking to see what kind of pass rush he can generate against a very good Nebraska O-Line. If he’s getting through, then Nebraska may start to utilize Abdullah in the passing game to keep Barr and UCLA honest. I want to see Barr play in space and disrupt in non-pass rushing situations before I pronounce him a Top 10 pick.
Tennessee @ Oregon Sept 14th, 12:30 PST - ABC
Tennessee Players to Watch: Antonio Richardson LT(4) #74 JR -- JaWuan James RT(17) #70 SR -- Zach Fulton RG #72(8) SR -- Daniel McCullers DT(3) #98 SR -- AJ Johnson MLB(7) #45 JR
Oregon Players to Watch: Marcus Mariota QB(9) #8 SO -- De’Anthony Thomas RB(1) #6 JR -- Colt Lyerla TE(7) #15 JR -- Hroniss Grasu C(5) #55 JR -- Ifo Ekpre-Olomu CB(4) #14 JR -- Terrance Mitchell CB(22) #27 JR -- Taylor Hart DE(10) #66 SR -- Arik Armstead DE(NR) #9 SO (‘15) -- Deforest Buckner DE(NR) #44 SO (‘15)
Key Matchups: Hart/Buckner v. Richardson -- Armstead v. James -- Grasu v. McCullers -- DAT v. Johnson
Preview: Tennessee has one of the most talented O-Line’s in CFB. This will be a true test for a very underrated Oregon D-Line. Hart’s NFL prospects could really depend on how he does here. Armstead and Buckner are young, but this could show if they are ready to be big-time prospects next year. Mariota probably won’t be a to run as much as he has thus far, and will have to depend on his arm. Can he find the open receiver and continue to make smart throws? The answer is likely yes, but I’m really excited to see what he has. IEO and Mitchell will be matching up against the most athletic, albeit young, WRs they’ve seen since USC last year.
Ohio St @ Cal Sept 14th, 4:00 PST - FOX
Ohio St Players to Watch: Braxton Miller QB(8) #5 JR(?) -- Carlos Hyde RB(7) #34 SR (Suspended) -- Jack Mewhort LT(9) #74 SR -- Andrew Norwell LG(6) #78 SR -- Ryan Shazier WLB(5) #10 JR -- Bradley Roby CB(1) #1 JB -- CJ Barnett FS(4) #4 SR (PROB) -- Christian Bryant SS(9) #2 SR -- Curtis Grant MLB(47) #14 JR -- Devin Smith WR(23) #9 JRCal Players to Watch: DeAndre Coleman DT(9) #91 SR -- Brendan Bigelow RB(34) #5 JR -- Bryce Treggs WR() #1 SO(‘15) -- Chris Harper WR() #6 SO (‘15)
Key Matchups: Coleman v. Norwell -- Treggs/Harper v. Roby/Barnett/Bryant
Preview: Cal’s season has been a roller coaster ride. After a respectable nip and tuck game against Northwestern, they played an unexpected nip and tuck game against Portland State. They can’t afford mistakes against a talent rich OSU. If Cal is going to pull the upset they need big games from their most talented players. Particularly Coleman, who has been lackluster thus far. His draft hopes will hinge on him being able to penetrate and disrupt OSU’s read option offense. Treggs and Harper will need to help Goff out on offense. I really don’t see it happening, but this is college football where anything can happen.
Washington @ Illinois Sept 14th, 3:00 PST BTN (Chicago)
Washington Players to Watch: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins TE(1) #88 JR -- Kasen Williams WR(16) #2 JR -- Bishop Sankey(10) RB #25 JR -- Josh Shirley DE(29) #22 JR -- Keith Price QB(39) #17 SR -- Danny Shelton DT() 71 JR -- Shaq Thompson LB() #7 SO (‘15)
Illinois Players to Watch: Jonathan Brown WLB(9) #45 SR -- Mason Monheim MLB(NR) #43 SO(‘15)
Key Matchups: Sankey v. Monheim
Preview: Both of these two teams are hot out the gate. So what seemed like a hum-hum matchup between a 7-5 team and a 4-8 team looks a lot more watchable. That's not to say that this is a Rose Bowl preview, but don't be surprised if one of these teams knocks off a contender. As for prospects, I'm pumped to finally see ASJ in action. Can he block? How fast is he? Also, can Shelton follow up his coming out party v. Boise?
Wisconsin @ Arizona St Sept 14th, 7:30 PST ESPN
Wisconsin Players to Watch: Melvin Gordon RB(29) #25 SO -- James White RB(9) #20 SR -- Jared Abbrederis WR(5) #4 SR -- Jacob Pederson TE(4) #48 SR -- Ryan Groy LT(10) #79 SR -- Rob Haverstein RT(13) #78 JR -- Chris Borland ILB(5) #44 SR -- Dezmen Southward FS(14) #12 SR
Arizona St Players to Watch: Marion Grice RB(49) #1 SR -- Chris Coyle TE(13) #87 SR -- Will Sutton DT(5) #90 SR -- Carl Bradford WLB(14) #52 JR -- Osahon Irabor CB(60) #24 SR -- Alden Darby SS(26) #4 SR
Key Matchups: Sutton v. UW G’s -- Bradford v. Groy/Havenstein -- Irabor v. Abbrederis
Preview: So far both of these teams have played the sisters of the poor so we don’t know a lot. What we do know is that Sutton came back for his SR year despite being high on many draft boards last year. The main knock on Sutton is his size (6’-1” 288lb) but reports are that he has put on weight in the offseason. No one doubts his skills, but at DT NFL teams typically look for a bigger frame. Will he be the next Kyle Williams, or Sedrick Ellis? Per usual, Wisconsin fields one of the biggest O-Line’s in CFB. If Sutton can be the disrupter that he’s known to be, then he should start to quiet some of the doubters. I will look for him to get in the backfield and make Wisconsin’s back change direction. Bradford will have a great opportunity to improve his stock as he faces off against two huge tackles in Groy and Havenstein. I will also look forward to see if Abbrederis can rise into the group of WRs behind Watkins and Lee.