Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual - College Football Playoff Semifinal: Oregon (12-1) vs. Florida State (13-0) - 2pm PT ESPN
Fans could hardly ask for a better first ever college football playoff game than Florida State vs. Oregon. The Noles and Ducks feature the possible first and second picks in the 2015 NFL Draft. QBs Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston both have all the traits scouts are looking for in a franchise QB. Since it's highly unlikely the 9ers move up to one of the top two spots, we'll focus our attention on other players. (But if you're asking me to pick one, I'm taking Winston and honestly, it's not even close.)
Oregon's offense gets all the attention and deservingly so but it's the Ducks two giant defensive ends to keep an eye on today. Arik Armstead (6-7, 296) and DeForest Buckner (6-6, 286lbs) are both juniors but if they declare early they could both wind up being drafted in the first two to three rounds. Armstead will get most of the attention, as, even at his size, he's one of the best athletes on the Oregon defense. The on field production leaves more to be desired and both could benefit from another year in college.
For Florida State there is NFL talent all over the field. Perhaps more so than any other team in the country not named Alabama. The Seminoles could lose as many as 13 players to this year's draft.
Keep an eye on the interior offensive line. Former LT Cameron Irving moved to center just a few games ago and has already made a huge impact. He earned All-ACC honors at both left tackle AND center. Both guards Tre Jackson and Josue Matias are also expected to be high selections.
FSU also boasts two of the top corners in the nation and both P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby figure to be tested early and often tonight. Williams has the size and length desired in number one corner. He struggled a bit this year at times in jump ball situations despite displaying above average ball skills. Darby was rumored to be playing with a tight hamstring all season. He has some of the best speed you'll see in a defensive back but also struggled at times this season in one-on-one coverage.
I could continue with: TE Nick O'Leary, WR Rashad Greene, DE Mario Edwards, DT Eddie Goldman...heck even kicker Roberto Aguayo could end up a day two pick should he declare - but I'll stop there or you'll miss the game.
Allstate Sugar Bowl - College Football Playoff Semifinal: Alabama (12-1) vs. Ohio State (12-1) - 5:30pm PT ESPN
All eyes will be on sophomore and third string QB Cardale Jones as he makes his second career start. Jones' arm strength will surely be on display tonight as Alabama's weakness this year has been in their secondary.
As far as draft eligible Buckeyes, CB Doran Grant is going to be part of the matchup of the day, as he'll square off against Alabama WR (and top WR in the class) Amari Cooper. Grant has plus speed (reportedly in the 4.3s) and decent enough size to matchup with just about anyone. How he fares against Cooper and later this month in the Senior Bowl will directly impact his draft stock.
As for Cooper, he's clearly the best player on this talented Alabama roster. He'll be top five or ten pick and is therefore unlikely to fall to the 49ers at 15.
One prospect that could is safety Landon Collins. Collins is one of the best defensive back in the country capable of lining up either free or strong safety. Depending on how the 49ers decide to proceed with last year's first round pick, Jimmie Ward, Collins could be an option if he were within reach. Pairing him with Eric Reid would make for one of the more formidable safety tandems in the league.
I think Collins excels most when he plays in the box and makes an impact in the running game. That's not to say he can't cover but it's probably not his best trait.
Enjoy the first ever College Football Playoff Semifinals!