Week One Of College Football Continues This Weekend, With A Match-up Between Two Top Teams.
College football officially began last week. Yet here we are a week later and it is still week one. There weren’t many games last weekend. Most teams around the country will get their seasons started this weekend.
Although most games will be a good or at least decent team facing a much weaker team to start their season, there will be some entertaining match-ups this weekend.
Basically every team that didn’t play last week will be playing this week. That means you’ll get a chance to see most of the top draft prospects for 2018 in action for the first time this season.
These are some of the top games to check out:
Wyoming at Iowa, September 2 at Noon, Big Ten Network
Both of these teams had respectable seasons in 2016. Wyoming finished 8-6 and Iowa finished 8-5. There may be games between more notable teams but this one was included on this list for a reason. That reason is that this will probably be the toughest team that Wyoming will play this season. And Wyoming has one of the most intriguing draft prospects to watch for next year, quarterback Josh Allen (pictured above).
Allen, a 6’5” 233 lbs. redshirt junior, has all of the physical tools needed to play quarterback in the NFL. He has size, athleticism and a rocket launcher for an arm. The argument could easily be made that he is the most physically talented quarterback in all of college football. In 2016 he threw for 3,203 yards and 28 touchdowns and ran for 523 yards and seven more scores.
There are things that Allen needs to do better. Most notably is to not turn the ball over. He threw 15 interceptions last season and could make teams nervous if he gives the ball away often again this season. If he improves he has a chance to go very highly in the 2018 draft.
Iowa has some draft prospects as well. Their top prospect is senior running back Akrum Wadley. Wadley, who stands 5’11” and weighs 191 lbs., had a breakout year in 2016. He rushed for 1,081 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging an impressive 6.4 yards per carry. At this point in the scouting process many consider Wadley as one of the top five backs in the upcoming class.
A couple other Iowa players to watch are linebacker Josey Jewell and offensive tackle Ike Boettger.
Texas A&M at UCLA, September 3 at 7:30 pm, Fox
Texas A&M had an okay 2016, finishing 8-5. UCLA struggled to a record of 4-8.
There are a trio of really interesting players to watch in this game.
Two of those players are Texas A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk and safety Armani Watts. Kirk, a 5’11” 200 lbs. junior, is an explosive athlete with the ball in his hands. Not only is he great on offense but he is one of the best punt returners that college football has ever seen.
Watts is a senior who is also listed at 5’11” 200 lbs. He’s had a productive career so far and could be one of the higher rated safeties in next years daft.
UCLA has quarterback Josh Rosen (pictured above). Rosen is an interesting player. He played well as a freshman, but got off to an inconsistent start last season before injuring his throwing shoulder and missing the remainder of the season.
Rosen has a chance to be one of the first quarterbacks off the board. He has a smooth release and a strong arm. This season he will need to show that his shoulder is okay and also cut down on turnovers.
#11 Michigan vs #17 Florida, September 2 at 3:30 pm, ABC
Both these teams had pretty good seasons last year. Both teams lost a ton of key players after the season. There will be a lot of new faces on both sides.
Florida will also be hurt by the fact that ten players are suspended for the game, most notably wide receiver Antonio Callaway and running back Jordan Scarlett.
There are still a few Florida players to watch. One is senior cornerback Duke Dawson (pictured above). Last season he played nickel corner because of Florida’s duo of Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson. He’ll get a chance to play on the outside this season. Dawson’s is a talented player who could end up being one of the better cover guys in the draft class.
Another Gator to watch for is left tackle Martez Ivey. Ivey has spent the last two seasons at left guard and played pretty well. He has said that he feels most comfortable playing left tackle and will get a chance to prove himself.
Despite losing so many players, Michigan’s roster still has plenty of talent. Their main guy to watch is defensive lineman Maurice Hurst. He fires off the ball really well and regularly finds his way into the opponents backfield. At 6’2” 282 lbs. he may be a little undersized for a defensive lineman. His quickness and motor still make him a really intriguing prospect.
#1 Alabama vs #3 Florida State, September 2 at 8 pm, ABC
Florida State’s top two prospects are both in the secondary, safety Derwin James (pictured above) and cornerback Tarvarus McFadden.
James, a redshirt sophomore who’s listed at 6’3” 211 lbs., is an impressive athlete and hits like a linebacker. He missed most of 2016 with a knee injury so he’ll have to show that he has fully recovered from that. If he has then he will have a huge year and likely be a high draft pick.
McFadden had a great year in 2016, leading the nation with eight interceptions. He has the size, at 6’2”, and the length that teams love. Another productive year and he’ll be on his way to the NFL.
One player that Alabama has to counter Florida State’s secondary is wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Ridley broke out as a freshman and has been the leading receiver for the Crimson Tide ever since. His stats declined last season but he still performed well. He’s one of the top receiver prospects in this class.
Another key player to watch is Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. He plays corner and safety and can make plays in both spots. He picked off six passes in 2016. Like all of the other players listed in this game he will likely be a first round pick in the 2018 draft.