It only took eight weeks but we finally have our first top five matchup of the year. And the participants may surprise you. With four top 25 matchup on this week's docket, Week 8 of the college football season is shaping up to be one of the best.
No. 1 Alabama vs. Arkansas, 4 p.m. | ESPN
No. 2 Oregon vs. Washington State, 7 p.m. | Fox Sports 1
No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 5 Florida State, 5 p.m. | ABC
No. 4 Ohio State vs. Iowa, 12:30 p.m. | ABC/ESPN2
No. 6 LSU at Mississippi, 4 p.m. | ESPN2
No. 7 Texas A&M vs. No. 24 Auburn, 12:30 p.m. | CBS
No. 9 UCLA at No. 13 Stanford, 12:30 p.m. | ABC/ESPN2
No. 11 South Carolina at Tennessee, 9 a.m. | ESPN
No. 12 Baylor vs. Iowa State, 4 p.m. | ESPNU
No. 14 Missouri vs. No. 22 Florida, 9:21 a.m. | ESPN3
No. 15 Georgia at Vanderbilt, 9 a.m. | CBS
No. 16 Texas Tech at West Virginia, 9 a.m. | Fox Sports 1
No. 17 Fresno State vs. UNLV, 7 p.m.
No. 18 Oklahoma at Kansas, 12:30 p.m. | ESPN
No. 20 Washington at Arizona State,3 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
No. 21 Oklahoma State vs. TCU, 9 a.m. | Fox
No. 23 Northern Illinois at Central Michigan, Noon | ESPN3
No. 25 Wisconsin at Illinois, 5 p.m. | Big Ten Network
No. 5 Florida State @ No. 3 Clemson
- This season's first top five matchup features two ACC teams looking to shed their reputation for losing games they shouldn't. The winner will have real chance at participating in January's BCS national title game. Additionally, there is a LOT of NFL talent on both teams.
- Clemson's Sammy Watkins will probably be the first wide receiver off the board in 2014's NFL Draft. Watkins could be on the 49ers radar with this year's questions around the receiving corps. Watkins is a 6-1 205lb talent known for his flashy open field moves and better than expected strength when going for the ball. Watkins is likely to be drafted in the top half of the first round so the 49ers may need to work out a deal to land the talented wide out.
- A lot of the NFL talents on Florida State's roster are underclassmen. However, senior center Brian Stork might be the best senior center available in next year's draft. Stork stands 6-4 314lbs (which is comparable to current starting center Jonathan Goodwin (6-3, 318lbs) but he's not a mauler like you'd prefer on the 49ers run first offensive line. Still Stork, is as solid as they come and could be an option in the second or third round depending on the coaches confidence in Joe Looney.
No. 9 UCLA @ No. 13 Stanford
- I've covered a lot of Stanford prospects in previous open threads. My favorites are:
- Trent Murphy DE/OLB
- David Yankey Tackle
- UCLA's QB Brett Hundley and OLB/DE Anthony Barr figure to be top 10 to 15 picks in next year's draft. I don't think either will be on the Niners radar. Barr could be if the Niners trade up or if he falls but he's a bit undersized.
No. 7 Texas A&M vs. No. 24 Auburn
- The Aggie's have had their fare share on NFL talent in the past few years and this year is no different. Tackle Jake Matthews (son of NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews) could have been a first round pick last year but chose to return for his senior year. He again figues to draw first round buzz. But it's wide receiver Mike Evans that has scouts turning their heads. Evan is a 6-5 225lb wide receiver with plus speed and athleticism. Evans figures to battle Sammy Watkins as the top receiver drafted in 2014. He would be a perfect fit opposite Michael Crabtree in two wide receiver sets and give the 49ers a true red zone threat on the outside.
No. 14 Missouri vs. No. 22 Florida
- The Gators have one of the better defenses in college football. Their secondary is filled with NFL talent including three corners likely to hear their name called in next year's draft. They are: Louchiez Purifoy, Marcus Roberson, and Jaylen Watkins. All possess elite size at 6-0, 188lbs our bigger. Purifoy is working his way into the conversation for best corner in the draft after an unsettling start for Ohio State's Bradley Roby.