Scouting the Bowls, pt. 1

  And you thought you could get rid of me so easily.  In the words of the great Lee Corso, not so fast, my friend.  Now that I'm as close to a routine as I probably will be for the next year or so, it's time to get the 3k scouting train back on track.  It shouldn't surpise anyone that my packing list for Iraq included all the notes I took from the dozens (hundreds?) of college games I watched this season including some scribblings from the New Orleans Bowl last Sunday which I caught in Kuwait (such as Dwight Dasher has an unfair name advantage).

  Anywho, I figured I'd leap back in with some names from the games before 2010 erupts in flames.  Skills...

(NOTE: After the notable prospects, the parentheses denote either my current stock for each prospect in the 2010 draft or their current year.  Only players who will be participating in their teams' respective bowl games are listed - those who appear to be game-time decisions are marked with a *)

Sat., Dec. 26th

Ohio v. Marshall: Little Caesar's Bowl (Pontiac, MI), 1:00pm EST, ESPN

  Hold on to your sweet pants, everybody.  It's the Battle for the Bell!  Still not interested?  Me either... I can't lie.  If it's on, I'll watch.

Marshall: Cody Slate, TE (5th-6th), DeQuan Bembry, CB (RS Soph.)

Ohio: Taylor Price, WR (3rd-7th), Steven Jackson, S (undrafted)

  On to better things...

#17 Pittsburgh v. UNC: Meineke Car Care Bowl (Charlotte, NC), 4:30pm EST, ESPN

  This is more like it.  Need a storyline?  How about redemption?  Pitt is coming off of a heartbreaking loss to Cincinnati that both pushed Dave Wannstedt's Panthers into this contest and catapulted Brian Kelly to South Bend.  The Tar Heels lost their last game by a single point to rivals NC State.  Add to that the fact that UNC lost by, again, a single point to West Virginia in this bowl last year despite ridiculosities galore by Hakeem Nicks and you have what could be a classic.

Pitt: Dorin Dickerson, FB (4th-6th), Oderick Turner, WR (undrafted), Bill Stull, QB (7th-undrafted), Jonathan Baldwin, WR (Soph.), Dion Lewis, RB (Fr.)

UNC: Marvin Austin, DT (1st-2nd), Bruce Carter, SLB (RS Jr.), Quan Sturdivant, MLB (Jr.), Erik Highsmith, WR (Fr.)

Boston College v. USC: Emerald Bowl (San Francisco, CA), 4:30pm EST, ESPN

  Let's be honest - all eyes will be on the Trojans who have played in a BCS bowl every year since 2001.  Still, BC has some NFL-level talent, and if there was ever a year to pick on an inexperienced and underachieving USC team, this is it.  If nothing else, a bowl that features two starting freshman QBs is worth watching for a glimpse into the future.

BC: Matt Tennant, C (5th-undrafted), Dave Shinskie, QB (Fr.), Montel Harris, RB (Soph.), Colin Larmond, Jr., WR (Soph.), Luke Kuechly, LB (Fr.)

USC: Taylor Mays, S (1st-2nd), Everson Griffen, DE (1st-2nd), Damian Williams, WR (1st-3rd), Joe McKnight*, RB (2nd-4th), Stanley Havili (3rd-6th), Matt Barkley, QB (Fr.), Chris Galippo, MLB (Jr.), Kris O'Dowd, C (Jr.), Devon Kennard, DE, (Fr.)

Sat., Dec. 27th

Kentucky v. Clemson: Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN), 8:30pm EST, ESPN

  If you haven't seen Clemson's defense, this would be a good time.  Not only is it stuffed with talent, but it's stuffed with youth.  Sure, they'll be losing senior end Ricky Sapp, but there's enough talent in the pipeline to replace him for next season as the lower Atlantic prepares for a Clemson-Miami ACC championship in 2010.

  On Kentucky's side, they'll have to overachieve just to stay in this one, IMO.  Trevard Lindley's stock has taken a huge hit this year as teams exploited his lack of physicality.  He relies heavily on his speed -- expect him to post respectable numbers at the combine -- but his lack of size has proven to be a bigger vulnerability than many anticipated.

UK: Trevard Lindley, CB (2nd-4th), Micah Johnson, MLB (5th-undrafted), Randall Cobb, RB/WR (Soph.)

Clemson: C.J. Spiller, RB (1st), Ricky Sapp, DE (1st-3rd), DeAndre McDaniel, S (3rd-5th), Jacoby Ford, WR (4th-undrafted), Thomas Austin, G (7th-undrafted), Kyle Parker, QB (Fr.), DaQuan Bowers, DE (Soph.), Brandon Thompson, DT (Soph.)

Pt. 2 should get us through the rest of the year before the bowl avalanche hits us.  Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day, and enjoy some football, peoples.  Holler.

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