It's week six in the college football world, but in terms of the 2013 NFL Draft it could well be considered week one. There are five games which feature two ranked opponents, three of which include teams in the top 11. As Chris Fowler just said on College Gameday, "the schedule awakens in October."
It's time to start paying attention, folks.
Arkansas at Auburn (12 p.m., ESPN2)
If I remember correctly, I've featured both these teams in open threads already. Still, the first grouping of games today isn't on the level of the next three. With the slim pickings here, I'm going with the SEC game, though Northwestern-Penn St. probably has more impact on the college landscape.
If you're into schadenfreude, it's hard to find a more compelling tornado of crappery than the 2012 Arkansas Razorbacks. Just months away from Petrino's motorcycle-mistress inspired downfall, John L. Smith has the Razorbacks riding a four-game losing streak including an embarrassing overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe, a 52-point drubbing to Alabama and a total cave-in against Texas A&M. It's sad, because Arkansas has talent, especially on offense. QB Tyler Wilson has an NFL skill set, but has made some poor decisions under duress in recent weeks. Knile Davis is a punishing running back, but too often this year, he's been working to get free at the first level without much room to work. So yes, the offensive line has been a concern. G Alvin Bailey just hasn't played up to his potential. WR Cobi Hamilton has been on fire the last two weeks; another impressive performance, and he'll be a legit day two candidate.
For Auburn, it's a transition year. In the meantime, DE Corey Lemonier looks very capable against solid competition. Rams fans need to get a strong look at #71 G John Sullen. TE Phil Lutzenkirchen will be drafted, though he's hard to gauge with the poor QB play Auburn's had this year. And poor's being nice.
#4 LSU at #10 Florida (3:30 p.m., CBS) - SB Nation Game Hub
SEC craziness is now in full swing. With Georgia-South Carolina later tonight looming, the SEC, and the BCS landscape, will look much different tomorrow morning than it did this morning. Consider this - if South Carolina and LSU both win today, you're looking at one heck of a game a week from now...
In the interim, Florida is making their own noise in the SEC East. The Gators have two top quality DTs in Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd, though Easley is slotted at end often. TE Jordan Reed has a very similar game to former Gator tight end Aaron Hernandez. Xavier Nixon could be a day three OT worth checking out. #3 OLB Jelani Jenkins returns to action today, and Rams fans should get a good look at him. Also check out #22 Matt Elam. He's not the biggest SS, but he may have the best makeup for the next level.
For LSU, it's all defense. DEs Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, DT Bennie Logan, FS Eric Reid, MLB Kevin Minter -- all are day one or two options. OT Alex Hurst might be on the left side again this week. It's not as big a deficiency if he lines up against Easley. When LSU has the ball...just go get something to eat until Florida's on offense.
Other games worth checking out
Georgia Tech at Clemson - 3:30 p.m., ESPN
I'll be putting this one in the queue to watch for two Clemson prospects: C Dalton Freeman and FS Rashard Hall. Both look like early day three prospects - this isn't a great matchup for either, so I'm interested to see how they perform in less than ideal matchups.