Wisconsin vs. Ohio State
Melvin Gordon (6’1, 203) vs. Ryan Shazier (6’2, 222)
Melvin Gordon is perhaps the most talented RB in the country other than Georgia RB Todd Gurley. Gordon is a very patient running back that displays great vision to follow his blocks and has outstanding burst that allows him to find daylight in the blink of an eye.
The Badgers RB tandem will face a very tough and talented Buckeyes defense led by LB Ryan Shazier. Shazier is a player that can do pretty much everything you want from a linebacker and more. He has the intangibles and physical traits you want from a weak-side linebacker, and he’s arguably the best Ohio State prospect. The concern regarding Shazier has been his trouble staying on the field.
This is by far the toughest matchup Ohio State has faced this season. I fully expect Gordon to have a very good game, despite going up against a much harder opponent. Gordon average yards per carry sits at staggering 9.95, so it will be fascinating to see if he’s capable of maintaining that kind of production on Saturday. In fact, dating back to the 2012 Big Ten Championship game, Gordon has nine runs of 30-plus yards and five of 50-plus yards. From here and on, Gordon’s draft stock should continue to rise from week to week.
LSU at Georgia
Odell Beckham Jr. (6’0, 187)
Odell Beckham Jr. is better known for his great special teams plays, which is probably isn’t fair considering he has established himself as one of the finest receivers in the SEC. Beckham has the ability to stretch the field and create some opportunities for other LSU receivers. So far, Beckham has four TDs and 10 catches of more than 20 yards.
LSU will face a very young and extremely shaky Georgia defense that has allowed 28 points per game. I fully expect the Tigers to line up and test the Bulldogs secondary early on. It’s worth noting that the LSU offense has reached the 400-yard mark in four consecutive games.
LSU offense has been nearly flawless under new OC Cam Cameron, which has resulted in an improved passing game. Beckham’s ability to get open should be a big factor throughout the game and we’ll probably see QB Zach Mettenberger look his way often.
Ole Miss at Alabama
C.J. Johnson (6’3, 230)
This Ole Miss defense is a very complete and talented unit that plays with great effort and intensity. They are currently ranked 33rd in total defense.
The player to watch from the Rebels defense this weekend is DE C.J. Johnson. He is a very gifted athlete with great instincts and is constantly pressuring opposing quarterbacks.
Johnson draws a quality opponent on Sunday when he goes up against Alabama OT Cyrus Kouandjio. Kouandji is considered to be a first-round talent, but after some sluggish performances, his draft stock appears to be trending downward.
In three games this season, the Rebels are only averaging just a little over a single sack per game, but they really come up big in the tackles-for-loss department.
This is clearly the matchup that I’ll be watching this weekend. If the Rebels offense put all the pieces together, and their defense can generate a few turnovers, don’t be surprised to see Ole Miss in a position to upset the Tide late into the game. I actually think this game will be much closer than many expect it to be.
Oklahoma at Notre Dame
Aaron Colvin (6’0, 192)
Aaron Colvin is considered by a number of scouts to be the top senior CB for this year’s class and a possible day one pick. Colvin is a dynamic and aggressive defender who likes to play in man-to-man coverage. His versatility and great physical traits have earned him a lot of praise.
Colvin and his teammates will try to beat a struggling Notre Dame offense that is averaging 26.5 points per game. The Fighting Irish offense is led by senior QB Tommy Reese who has had an up and down career in South Bend.
It will be interesting to see if coach Bob Stoops and the Sooners defense can force Reese to get rid of the ball and possibly force some throws. If Colvin and the Oklahoma squad plays with the same amount energy they displayed so far this season, they have a shot to walk out of South Bend with a solid road win.
Arizona at Washington
Ka’Deem Carey vs. Bishop Sankey
Bishop Sankey (5’10, 203)
Huskies RB Bishop Sankey is an exciting running back to watch. He’s a complete back who displays great patience and balance, as well as the ability to elude defenders. Sankey’s tremendous start to the 2013 season has earned him comparisons to Ravens RB Ray Rice.
The Wildcats are a vigorous defense that employs an unconventional third down defense called “SWAT”, which is essentially designed to either disrupt opposing quarterbacks and force turnovers.
The bad news for the Arizona defense is that Sankey is averaging 184.5 yards per game and is the Pac-12’s leading rusher with 446 yards total.
We will probably see Keith Price run several play-action plays and screens to keep the Wildcats defense unsettled.
Ka’Deem Carey (5’10, 196)
Ka’Deem Carey possesses tremendous agility and speed, which makes him a threat to score almost anywhere on the field. Carey missed the first game of the season due to a suspension, but he’s been as strong as ever since returning and averaging seven yards per carry.
Carey will face a highflying Washington defense that ranks third in the Pac-12, and No. 12 nationally with 279 yards allowed per game. The Huskies feature two defensive packages called “The Jetsons” which is designed to prevent the run and “Cheetah” to defend passing situations.
It’s worth noting that this Wildcats offense, which scored 52 points against the Huskies last year, hasn’t changed at all. I would anticipate a run-heavy game that will offer both teams several scoring opportunities.