Game of the Week Preview: Alabama vs. LSU
Chose this as my game of the week because of the number of top more prospects in the Alabama-LSU game and even though #3 plays #5 neither TCU or Utah will make the BCS championship unless Oregon, Auburn or Alabama lose. Also easier to get tape on the Tide game, although I will be watching the TCU-Utah game.
Marcel Dareus – By most opinions he is a top 10 pick and for my money the most talented defensive lineman in the draft. I reviewed his performance earlier in the year against Florida and he was nicked up and I wanted to see more from him. This week Dareus will go against Barksdale, who a lot of pundits think may be a first round pick. This should be a good test for Dareus and expect him to dominate the less aggressive Barksdale.
Julio Jones – Huge game for Jones going up against agenst one of the top two corners in the country vs. Patrick Peterson. To me Jones is the best receiver available in the draft next to AJ Green, and I see a lot of Terrell Owens in his game. I want to see how precise his routes are, how well he sells his double moves and how well he creates separation.
Dont’a Hightower – This will be the 3rd time I will be seeing him this year and I have to say I was not that impressed with him the first two times watching him. This game will be a very good challenge for Hightower to see how well he can find the ball vs. a run orientated offense in LSU. I will be looking to see how well he can read and diagnose the plays; his instincts and how well he can stay clean and get to the ball. Many people have him as a first round linebacker; I don’t, so prove me wrong.
Drake Nevis – Before the season Nevis looked like a 2nd or 3rd round pick but with his dominating performance against Florida many have him jumping into the first round now. The main drawback with Nevis is his size, listed at 6-2 he is closer to 6-1 or 6-0, but he makes due with a thick frame, good quickness and the ability to slip blocks. Against an only so-so Alabama offensive line, I will be watching to see how many times he is able to get in the backfield and how well he is able to find the ball.
Patrick Peterson – Matchup against one of the best receivers in the country, it will be interesting just to see how many balls are thrown Peterson’s way. I am interested to see how physical Peterson will be against Jones, his transition skills (supposedly the best in the country), and how well his ball skills are.
Terence Toliver – Most scouts have Toliver as a 3rd round or later pick as he has a nice frame at 6-5 203, but is just not as athletically gifted (speed, balance, agility, ball skills) as the elite prospects. I saw him earlier in the year against Florida with Janoris Jenkins on him most of the night. To say the least he dominated Jenkins (a supposed first rounder), so it will be interesting to see if he can have a similar performance versus a weak Alabama secondary.
Prediction – Defensive first half where the teams just feel each other out, but in the second half the running back combination of Ingram and Richardson proves to be too much for LSU.
Alabama 27 – LSU 23
TCU vs. Utah
Features some nice prospects in Marcus Cannon, the behemoth but athletic guard for TCU as well as Brandon Burton the cornerback for Utah who many feel is a top 5 corner in the country. TCU was able to manhandle Air Force while Utah played the Falcons much tougher, advantage TCU. Prediction, TCU defense dominates the Utah’s offense and wins by at least 2 touchdowns.
TCU 35 – Utah 21
Arizona vs. Stanford
This game is all about the quarterbacks with Andrew Luck regarded as the best in the nation vs. Nick Foles to most a second or third round pick, but who some think could develop it one of the best QB’s to come out of the draft. Unfortunately this is Foles first game back from injury and therefore he will likely not be as sharp as he wants to be. Prediction, close game with Luck pulling out the win in the final quarter.
Stanford 24 – Arizona 17
Upset of the Week
Illinois over Michigan
This is an important game for Rich Rod, but Michigan will continue to struggle until the Wolverines fix their defense. Illinois just too balanced and they win beating the spread in the process. As I write this it also appears that Denard Robinson will not be playing either, advantage Illinois.
Illinois 35 – Michigan 28