An already incredible bowl season continues today with three more games certain to peak college football fans' interest. The first game kicks off today at 12pm PT so you should be able to at least have a productive morning.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Notre Dame (7-5) vs. LSU (8-4) - 12pm PT - ESPN
After starting 6-0, Notre Dame had mid-season playoff aspirations only to unravel and finish the season 1-5. Too many ups and downs from QB Everett Golson have led the Irish to start sophomore Malik Zaire against LSU. The Tigers troubles could be blamed on youth. With freshmen starting at key spots like QB, RB, and WR the growing pains were tough. Talented but inexperienced the LSU looks like a team that could make a playoff run in the next year or two.
9er fans should keep an eye on ND tight end Ben Koyack. One of the better senior tight ends in this year's class, Koyack was underutilized at ND. The 6-4, 261lbs TE isn't going to wow scouts with speed (although he's faster than you'd expect) or elite athleticism but he's as well rounded as they come. Koyack lines up all over the field and could be a ‘Swiss-army knife' style player in the NFL. Looks like a third or fourth round prospect right now.
On a team that will likely produce multiple first round picks over the next three years, LSU's DE Danielle Hunter might be the most intriguing in 2015 should he declare. The junior edge rusher has earned comparisons to former LSU DE Barkevious Mingo. Despite only 4.5 career sacks Hunter looks the part with a strong, lanky frame with plus athleticism. If he decides to throw his name in the hat for May's draft, I'd expect him to test well and maybe sneak into the first round on potential alone.
Belk Bowl: Georgia (9-3) vs. Louisville (9-3) - 3:30pm PT - ESPN
For me this is the best game on today's slate. Louisville's underrated defense and second ranked rush defense (93.7 yards/game) could pose a ton of problems for the Bulldogs running game averaging 255 yards on the ground (12th nationally).
If not for Todd Gurley's late season ACL injury, it's likely he'd be the first RB taken in the first round since 2012. Now, I'm not so sure.
One player I'll be keeping an eye on throughout the draft process is Georgia DE Ray Drew. Drew was one of the top recruits in the country out of high school and figured to settle into the edge rushing OLB in the Bulldogs 3-4. But Drew kept getting bigger and ended up moving to DE (5-tech) at about 6-4, 284lbs. He's still learning how to play in the trenches but has the complete tool set to be successful. He'll probably be a day three pick but I see tremendous upside.
Along with Auburn WR Sammie Cotes, Louisville's Devante Parker will be on the draft crush list of many 49er fans. At 6-3, 209lbs there's a lot to like about Parker. He's my second overall WR in the upcoming draft. Parker is always open, even when he's not. He has tremendous hands, unique ability to highpoint the football and enough speed to be dangerous running any route.
While Parker will likely earn all the attention, safety Gerod Holliman is really fun to watch too. Holliman amassed 14 interceptions in 2014 tying the NCAA record. Holliman looks like a true free safety showing very good ball skills and ability to cover from anywhere on the field. He isn't the most technically sound tackler and his size (6-0, 201lbs) leaves a little more to be desired.
Foster Farms Bowl: Maryland (7-5) vs. Stanford (7-5) - 7pm PT - ESPN
A virtual home game for the Cardinal (game will be played at Levi's Stadium) and a cross country trip for the Terrapins set up the first ever matchup between the two programs.
There's a lot to like about Maryland WR Stefon Diggs when it comes to making plays with the ball in his hand. With elite speed and change of direction ability Diggs is one of the better big play WRs in college football. One of the top recruits in the country 2012, Diggs made a name for himself his freshmen year tallying almost 1900 total yards. Injuries cut his sophomore and junior years short but he's expected to play tonight after missing the last three games.
Stanford hoped to match the talent at WR with a playmaker of their own in Ty Montgomery. The 6-2, 215lbs WR will miss tonight's game shoulder injury. With 61 receptions (no one else on the roster has more than 30) Montgomery will turn his focus to the Senior Bowl later this month where he hopes to regain momentum as one of the best field-stretching WRs in the class.
Junior left tackle Andrus Peat is likely to declare for the draft following tonight's game. With a rare combination of size, strength, and athleticism Peat could end up as a top ten pick.
Enjoy the games!