Remember when ? Remember when this was THE game of the college football season ? Remember when every college football fan in America would watch this game even though they openly hated both teams ? Remember when this was the game you would plan your Saturday accordingly ? Remember when draftniking was becoming en vogue ? This was THE game. You didn't miss it. Whether is was a 3:30 eastern time start or in prime time it was THE game of the year.
One helmet was gold with a spear. The opposing helmet was white with da "U" embedded on the side. Da U had Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson as head coaches. Florida State had the iconic Bobby Bowden. The southern gentleman. Calm , cool , collected, never see him sweat, win or lose. He handled both with aplomb. Jimmy was the raucous bombastic ants in his pants step on your throat, peddle to the metal take no prisoners force behind the feared Hurricanes.
Both programs were where future nfl players plied their craft. They were the best of the best. They knew it. If a player excelled at either institution a professional contract was on the horizon. Da U in 2001 had an improbable 13 number 1 draft picks on it's roster. When Jimmy was roaming the sidelines no school had more d line nfl talent than the Hurricanes. FSU simply had the most famous and best cb to ever play in the nfl in Deion "Prime Time" Sanders. Saturday evening FSU plays Miami.
Neither team as of late has been the powerhouses they once were. FSU though has had a resurgence led by coach Jimbo Fisher. Fisher is from the Saban coaching tree. Al Golden is the coach of the Miami Hurricanes. The Canes have suffered from the scandalous fallout from the two previous regimes. However Golden has the Canes moving forward and will once again make da U a team to contend with. He is a teriffic coach and has brought new life to the downtrodden Cane program.
Most of the soon to be pro's are on the Scarlet and Gold team. On offense EJ Maunel has really matured into a leader and very good qb. Manuel is huge for a qb checking in around 240 lbs. He has a strong arm and can run. He has a calmness about him that was lacking last season. On defense is where FSU has a plethora of talent. Lars' (OCC) favorite college player is the German born , talented ball of energy de Bjoern Werner. 6'4" 273 lbs. Werner reminds me of Justin Smith from the 49'ers.On the other side is the fast rising Cornellius Carradine. He is 6'5" 265lbs and he is beginning to flash. This is a very very talented kid. It will be interesting to see if he declares for the draft or stays another year. These two vs the Hurricane ot tandem of Seantrel Henderson and Malcolm Bunche will be worth watching. The Miami ot's are big. Especially Henderson. FSU also has a teriffic cb in Xavier Rhodes. Big , fast and instinctive. Some think he would be just as dynamic playing safety.
This might be your first chance to get a glimpse of the future at rb for the Canes. He is a freshman by the name of Duke Johnson. He has the skill set of another rb playing in Miami. The other back plays for the Dolphins.
Kansas St vs West Virginia.....Folks if you ever want to watch a player who embodies all of what college football is about tune in to this game. Collin Klein is the KSU qb. When he arrived at KSU he was being groomed to be a wr. Injuries dictated otherwise. He is not a pro caliber qb. He will have to play wr in the pros. He is 6'4" 225 lbs. Imagine Bill Bates playing qb. This what you get with Klein. He is an absolute joy to watch as he competes on the field. The best KSU defender is lb Arthur Brown. 6'0 230 lbs.
For West Virginia all eyes will again be on qb Geno Smith. Amazingly he STILL has not thrown an interception this season. He has a completion percentage of over 75% and has thrown 25 td passes. For those of you wishing for a legit threat at slot reciever I give you Tavon Austin. At 5'9" he is everything we wish Dwayne Harris would have been. This game might become the game of the weekend. KSU is scrappy and undefeated. They beat Oklahoma and are well coached. WVU lost for the first time last week after climbing into the top 10 in the polls. They were beaten soundly by Texas Tech. Solid KSU defense vs WVU's high powered offense....this is why we watch.
Alabama @ Tennessee.....The Vols are the Dallas Cowboys of the collegiate football world. They have talent all around. They have some of the very best skill players at wr you could ask for. Justin Hunter and Cordarelle Patterson are the most talented duo of wideouts in college. Though some will argue Robert Woods and Marquise Lee from USC are better. The Vols wr's are bigger with equal athleticism is why I give them the edge. At qb they have Tyler Bray who is 6'5" and has a whip for an arm. If Bray stays in school this year I predict he will be no worse than the number 2 player selected in the 2014 draft. The Vols o line has some very good talent. Sophmore LT Antonio Richardson is a fantastic talent that you need to watch for the 2014 draft. He flat out stonewalled Jarvis Jones in their one on one matchup. At guard there is Dallas Thomas who has been featured many times by posters on BTB. I think he is a second round talent and would love to have him in Dallas. Playing rt for the Vols is JaJuwan James. He too held Jones in check when Jones moved to the other side of the line. This o line was superb vs the big athletic Georgia d line. Unfortunately the Vols leading rusher will not be playing in this game
....but oh man do the Vols have their work cut out for them. They face an Alabama d line that is just anihlating o lines. The d line is led by nt Jesse Williams 6'4" 320 lbs who is versatile enough to play a 3-4 de in the pro's. He is known as the tattooed monster from down under. He bench pressed 600 lbs in the summer. He is nasty and athletic. For those of you looking for an impactful d lineman Williams may be the answer. The de's for Bama are Damion Square and Ed Stinson. The Bama 30 front vs the Vols o line should be a lot of fun to watch.
CB Dee Milliner and safety Robert Lester vs the Vols wr's is worth watching. Milliner is considered one of the two best cb's in college. This game will say a lot about Bray. Bama is rugged, big, athletic and fast. They will hit you over and over. Bray has a chance to showcase his toughness vs the Bama defense.
The Bama o linemen to watch haven't changed. Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack. Keep an eye out for the Vols de's and blitzing linebackers. The Bama ot's have had trouble against quick olb types. Both of the Bama ot's are huge. Fluker is a monster in the run game but he can get caught spreading his feet too wide and get out of position in pass blocking.
LSU @ Texas A&M....everyone knows who to watch in this game. Everyone knows it's the A&M ot's vs the M&M boys. Joeckel and Matthews vs Montgomery and Mingo...This game could say a lot about who and if they decide to turn pro. Mingo has had a down year stats wise but he has been double and tripled teamed in some games. I don't think you will see any double or triple teams in this game. This game features some teriffic players. The A&M defense has de Demontrae Moore 6'3" 250 lbs. He has an olb build but he is uber quick and was lights out vs Florida. They also have olb Sean Porter 6'2" 230 lbs. He is not a 3-4 olb but he is fun to watch and may sneak into the latter part of the first round because he is that good. I won't take the time to divulge all of the defensive players from LSU. We can do that at a later date.
On offense for A&M you will see one of the more dynamic qb's in all of college. He can run and throw and is a blast to watch. The guy has the heart of a lion. His name is Johnny Manziel. He is a red shirt Frosh. He is only 6'1" and it will be interesting to follow him over the next couple of years to see if he can become a legit pro prospect. LSU better buckle up for this game or they could find themselves on the short end of the stick. Manziel will be in my top 3 heading into the 2013 season for the Heisman trophy.
Fla vs South Carolina....Fla has really gelled as a team over the last couple of weeks. They have a stout defense led by some outstanding pro prospects. Dt Shariff Floyd 6'2" 305lbs. I mention him because he may project as a 3-4 de. He doesn't have the height preferred for 3-4 de's but who cares ? If you're good then you're good. He is flanked by Dominique Easly. Easly is 6'2" 290lbs and is very quick and able to get leverage on the opposing o lineman.
The secondary is led by safety Matt Elam. Elam started the season slowly but he has turned it up as of late. This is a player who is a legit second rounder and would fit very well in the Dallas secondary.
South Carolina is led by you know who. Clowney. One day football fans will say Clowney. Everyone will know who you are talking about. He faces Xavier Nixon in their Saturday afternoon showdown. Nixon is a very capable ot and will be drafted no later than the second round imo. The Fla o line vs the Gamecocks d line is the key matchup. This will be a great battle and uber fun to watch for draftniks. The Gamecocks also have a safety worth watching in DJ Swearinger. The Gamecocks boast the best punt return man in the nation. This game is worth watching just to see Ace Sanders have a chance to return punts.
Kentucky vs Georgia....Not a lot of potential pro talent on the Wildcats team...However keep an eye on Larry Warford the huge guard for Kentucky. Watch to see how he does vs the Georgia nt John Jenkins and how he gets to the second level to block the linebackers. The Bulldogs should crush the Wildcats in this game but this game features the best name of the day...and he is a legit pro prospect, NT Mister Cobble. He plays for the Wildcats and is 6'0" 334lbs. Cmon how can you not love a name like Mister Cobble.
Sorry if it went to long....some great games this weekend and just had to take a little nostalgic stroll down memory lane with Miami and FSU...