College Open Thread: December 8 - Championship Week

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The regular season wraps up with a half dozen top scouting opportunities.

Six major matchups today offer some big time scouting. Let's tackle them chronologically along with the day's notes from MTD:

#17 Oklahoma at #6 Oklahoma St. (12:00 p.m., ABC)

First off, let's put this on the record. Oklahoma is my pick for most underrated team in the country. Or at least overlooked. And there's a serious argument to be made that if the Cowboys had started the year rolling with senior QB Clint Chelf over sophomore J.W. Walsh instead of making a midseason QB switch, they could be undefeated with a serious claim on a national championship berth. As it is, that one loss leaves them on the outside looking in.

In terms of scouting, the Cowboys are led by CB Justin Gilbert who has a real chance at round one territory. Keep an eye on RS sophomore DE Jimmy Bean though. For the Sooners, it's a wealth of late day two and day three options right now. But the future's bright with RS freshman Jordan Wade, true frosh LB Dominique Alexander, RS sophomore MLB Frank Shannon and RS signal caller Trevor Knight. Even in a transition year, the Sooners are on the cusp of yet another double digit win season. There's plenty to scout for 2014, but if you catch this one, you' could well be getting a chance to look into some Sooner talent that could sparkle in the 2015 and 2016 drafts.

#25 Texas at #9 Baylor (3:30 p.m., FOX)

The other half of the Big XII NotChampionship... The great thing about these two is that they're polar opposites.

Texas is stacked with the best talent the state had to offer in the last three years, but they're mismanaged. Baylor, on the other hand, is developing a nationally capable program under the wizardry of head coach Art Briles...with a shiny new temple on the Brazos coming next season.

The truth for any NFL team looking at the Longhorns' products is that they've largely turned into reclamation products. DE Jackson Jeffcoat and CB Carrington Byndom looked to be on first round trajectories early in their college careers. They've fallen off that trajectory. Still, there's talent across the roster. You just have to be willing to entrust them to your coaching staff to repurpose at this point.

For Baylor, however, things are ready to go. G Cyril Richardson, RB Lache Seastrunk and SS Ahmad Dixon all look like early options. And the reserves are full of another generation that looks ready to take over, especially if QB Bryce Petty returns for what would be a heralded senior season.

The reality? Baylor's 2014 recruiting class is stronger than Texas' right now. A decade ago, that statement would have been unbelievable. Today, it's indicative of a team on the rise and a powerhouse in limbo.

#5 Missouri at* #3 Auburn (4:00 p.m., CBS)

* - played at neutral location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia

Hmm...I wonder if this one will have a certain set of TSTers fired up...

I broke down Auburn for the Iron Bowl last week, so if you're looking for names, head that way.

For Mizzou, it's simple. Get your pressure from DEs Kony Ealy and Michael Sam and lean on RBs Henry Josey and Russell Hansbrough to open up the passing game. It's worked to this point...

#7 Stanford at #11 Arizona St. (7:45 p.m., ESPN)

Pac-12 football is a unique blend of insanity, speed, confusion and technicality....except for Stanford. A Big Ten football team in a Pac-12 body, Stanford plays heavy and hard and it's not fun to deal with. DE Trent Murphy, G David Yankey, MLB Shayne Skov, DE Josh Mauro -- all could be gone before day 3 (and in the case of the first three, should be), and all are especially big and physical for their positions.

Arizona St. on the other hand is putting a pretty remarkable season together. Behind the play of junior QB Taylor Kelly, the Sun Devils are offering some solid prospects led by DT Will Sutton who is an absolute handful. Get a look at linebackers Carl Bradford and freshman Salamo Fiso.

#20 Duke at* #1 Florida St. (8:00 p.m., ABC)

* - played at neutral location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

The night time is the right time for the top two teams. We start with the ACC Championship as an ascendant Duke team faces the country's top ranked Florida State Seminoles. Duke's just playing solid football under HC David Cutcliffe and grinding out wins. From a draft perspective, they're not bringing much next spring.

Florida State, of course though, is. Left tackle Cameron Erving looks pretty locked in on the 1st round. The defense is loaded with prospects like DT TTimmy Jernigan, CB Lamarcus Joyner, FS Terrence Brooks, ILB Christian Jones and OLB Telvin Smith. Ram fans absolutely need to get a look at WR Kelvin Benjamin. He's having a special redshirt sophomore year. If he stays one more to try and run again with QB Jameis Winston, he could be a top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

#2 Ohio St. at* #10 Michigan St. (8:17 p.m., FOX)

* - played at neutral location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

Big Ten football, everybody. Love it or leave it. As for prospects, let's bring it into the comments for those of us who stick around into the evening. Bring the game notes from MTD with you.

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