Even though we are in the second to last week for the regular season in the NFL, we yet again have another bowl game this evening. Although it will be going up against SNF in Dallas vs. Washington, I believe this game will get a bit more attention than the previous bowl games being how there are some exciting players that have had a following all year. It's amazing to me that 9 bowl games have already taken place and we aren't even close to the halfway point of them being over yet; which is fine with me. The more football, the better. Today we have The Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl in Nashville, TN. Coming out of the ACC the (8-5, 6-2) Clemson Tigers who finished 1st in the Atlantic Division of their conference will be taking on the (7-5, 3-5) SEC Kentucky Wildcats finished their season 4th in the Eastern Division of their conference. This should be a good game between two very oppositely matched teams. Clemson's stellar offense vs Kentucky's stout defense. There will be some very exciting players on both sides of the ball for each team. Below the jump we will be taking an in-depth look at some of the players, stats, and other relative facts about the game.
Let's take a look at the teams...
THE CLEMSON TIGERS
Key players to watch for the Tigers:
[# 11] Kyle Parker QB 6'0" 210
Parker has made some great plays in some key moments this season. I am not sure how heavily he is being scouted yet but he is only a freshman and will have plenty of time to make a name for himself but lacks a bit in size. It should be exciting to see him dispursing the ball to Ford and Spiller and some of the others. He hasn't been the most efficeint, so this will need to be something to watch for the future. With both Spiller and Ford entering the 2010 NFL Draft, Parker will have his work cut out for him as a Sophomore. Career stats: 55.5% Comp Rate, 2385 Yards, 6.7 Yds/ Att, 12 TD's.
[# 28] C.J. Spiller RB 5'11" 200 (Senior):
C.J. Spiller is probably my most favorite college football player to watch and possibly the most electric player currently playing in the NCAA. This RB has it all; Moves, Speed, Agility, Power, Hands, etc...you name it, he's got it. Some people aren't buying the hype on Spiller and others (in the NFL) cannot wait to get them on their roster. Even as a 2nd back or a 3rd down back to start with, Spiller demonstrates the ability to take it to the house any time he touches the ball. Another quality he gives the team that drafts him is the ability to return punts and kickoffs. Whoever lucks out and drafts Spiller next year will benefit a few times from TD's on special teams I suspect. Overall a great pick for any team that is currently struggling in all facets on offense... especially if he goes later on in the 1st. Spiller's career stats: 591 Attempts, 3480 Yards, 5.9 Yds/Att, 31 TD's. Receiving- 120 Catches, 1362 Yards, 11.3 Avg, 11 TD's. 2009 Kick Returns- 21 Attempts, 708 Yards, 4 TD's.
[# 6] Jacoby Ford WR 5'10" 185 (Senior):
Before Ford came to college, he recorded a (4.126) 40-yard-dash time at the 2005 Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy. Ford also runs track for Clemson. A lot of Niners fans are under the impression that we need a guy similar to Desean Jackson. I happen to think Ford is the closest thing to that coming out in the Draft. Besides Spiller, Ford is probably the second most exciting player playing in the NCAA right now. He also has the ability to return both kicks and punts. Career stats: 140 Receptions, 1942 Yards, 13.9 Avg, 15 TD's. Career kick return stats: 47 returns, 1124 Yards, 1 TD. Career punt return stats: 49 returns, 479 Yards, 11.8 Avg, 2 TD's.
[# 7] Ricky Sapp DE 6'4" 245 (Senior):
I had the privelage of being able to watch every Clemson game this season and besides C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford on offense, Ricky Sapp was definitely the most entertaining to watch in my opinion. I don't think he would fit very well in a 3-4 defense but he would be explosive in a 4-3. It is also a possibilty that he could be converted to an OLB. My guess is that he'll put on a bit of weight and stay at a DE but drafted by a team that runs a 4-3 defense. Career stats: 137 Tackles, 2 Fumbles Forced, 16 Sacks.
[# 2] DeAndre McDaniel S 6'1 200 (Junior):
McDaniel has been a ball hawk all year. He finished the 2009 season with 8 INT's, 128 Yards, and I look for him to be a factor today as well. He has been solid in run support and to me could be a polished NFL safety if he continues to improve. I have not heard if McDaniel has declared for the upcoming draft, but if he does, or has, this could be a steal for someone in the mid rounds.
[# 31] Rahsard Hall S 6'1" 190 (Freshman):
This will be a guy that in a couple years could have some real value. Hall finished the 2009 season with 6 INT's 67 Yards. The young safety has helped McDaniel out tremendously back there. This dynamic dou will make it very difficult on Kentucky's Quarterback this evening.
Led by Coach:
Dabo Swinney (All-time bowl record 15-16)
THE KENTUCKY WILDCATS
Key players to watch for the Wildcats:
[# 20] Derrick Locke RB 5'9" 180 (Junior):
Locke will be the key to any success that this Wildcat offense will have a chance at. The defensive line for Clemson has been solid all year for the most part and Locke will have his work cut out for him. With this being the third time in four years for Kentucky appearing in this bowl, Locke is no stranger to LP Field in Nashville. His career stats are: 335 Attempts, 1668 Yards, 5.0 Yds/Att, 12 TD's.
[# 18] Randall Cobb WR 5'11" 188 (Sophomore):
Cobb is the leading receiver for this Kentucky offense. The sophomore has very good speed and decent hands. He will have to have a very good game to keep the Wildcat offense balanced today. If Clemson is able to take away the run, I am not so sure that Cobb will be able to do it by himself. His career stats are:
[# 4] Micah Johnson LB 6'2" 256 (Senior):
Micah Johnson is the heart and soul of this defense. He flies to the ball and has a very aggressive "go-getter" attitude. Johnson, if he works hard, and does well enough at the combine could be a solid pick for someone in the '10 NFL Draft. His career stats are: 272 Tackles, 2 Fumbles Forced, 2 INT's, 3 Sacks
[# 50] Sam Maxwell LB 6'3" 244 (Senior):
Another solid linebacker on this Kentucky defense will make it difficult for Spiller to find seams. Alhtough I don't think they can completely shut down Spiller, if they play hard enough as a unit, Spiller could struggle. Maxwell has great awareness and can tackle well but his strong suit is in coverage. His career stats are: 138 Tackles, 1 Fumble Forced, 7 INT's, and 2 Sacks.
[# 32] Trevard Lindley DB 6'1" 180 (Senior)
The All-SEC Cornerback emerged as one of the highest regarded coming in to this season after last year in his Junior year. Lindley is a quiet guy who let's his play on the field speak for itself. He has earned the nickname "Silent Assassin" for his quiet demeanor and big hits on the field. After intercepting the ball, Lindley has the ability to take one all the way back for 6 and has 2 returns for TD's in his collegiate career. He is my favorite cornerback coming in to the draft this year but his numbers have fallen off a bit since last season which could make him a steal in the draft in the 2nd or 3rd round. Career Stats: 182 Tackles, 2 Fumbles Forced, 10 Interceptions.
Led by Coach:
Rich Brooks (All-time bowl record 8-5)
WHEN: 8:00 ET, 5:00 PST
WHERE: LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee
TV: ESPN & ESPN-HD, ESPN360