2018 NFL Mock Draft 11/21/17

 

The NFL regular season is getting nearer to its end as contenders and pretenders are weeding each other out. With that, the 2018 NFL Draft is getting closer. Check out who the teams will be taking in this 2018 NFL mock draft:

1. Cleveland Browns- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

All of the good quarterbacks that were thought to come out of this draft class have struggled. Rosen has probably been the best overall and has some good arm talent. He does, however, have some flaws to overcome. Rosen needs to make better decisions and show he can lead a franchise. One thing he has proven is that his shoulder injury from last season won’t be a major factor going forward.

2. San Francisco 49ers- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

After the trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, it is unlikely the 49ers will take a quarterback in this draft. They will take the best player in the class in Barkley. He is a do-it-all running back who will immediately improve the quality of the running game for San Francisco. Barkley is a premier talent who runs with great moves that are reminiscent of Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith. This isn’t an area of need for the 49ers, but they can’t pass up the best player.

3. New York Giants- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

The Giants could go for a replacement for Eli Manning, but the quarterback position won’t get any better with their bad offensive line. McGlinchey has had an up and down season and most recently didn’t play well against Miami. He has the ability to play either tackle position and can start from day one.

4. Indianapolis Colts- Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Arden Key (Photo by tigerdroppings.com)

Key is a very good edge rusher that uses his speed as his main way of getting to the quarterback. He had a better season in 2016 than this season, but still shows he can pressure the quarterback. The Colts need to get after the quarterback more as they only have 19 sacks on the season.

5. Chicago Bears- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Chicago has decided to make Mitch Trubisky the starting quarterback and he has played decently well. They have to get him some weapons in the passing game other than Tarik Cohen and Dontrelle Inman. Ridley is a dynamic playmaker that can make people miss once he gets the ball in his hands. He may be better as a pro than as a college player, as Jalen Hurts isn’t the greatest throwing quarterback.

6. Denver Broncos- Sam Darnold, QB, USC

He hasn’t played well enough to deserve being a number one pick, but the Broncos would love to have Darnold.  Darnold is a California kid who has good size, arm strength and athletic ability, while turning the ball over too much in college. Sounds familiar right? John Elway is looking into a mirror. Brock Osweiler and Trevor Siemian aren’t getting the job done and Paxton Lynch has yet to take it away from them, so a quarterback would be a nice option.

7. Cleveland Browns (Via Hou)- Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama

Cleveland needs to improve its secondary. They just drafted Jabril Peppers and like Peppers, Fitzpatrick can play multiple positions in the secondary. He will most likely fit in at safety, but should be able to cover batter than most safeties. With two top five picks, the Browns have a chance to vastly improve their roster.

8. Arizona Cardinals- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Carson Palmer is likely not going to ever be a decent quarterback ever again with his aging and injuries. Allen has NFL size, arm strength and great athletic ability. His problem is that he can’t perform against top competition in college, which will likely make him a project in the NFL. Bruce Arians would be a coach that could take that challenge on, as he likes big, strong armed quarterbacks.

9. New York Jets- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Josh McCown has played well for the Jets, but he isn’t the future. Lamar Jackson would be an exciting player to see in New York. He can make plays and has improved as a thrower this season. His accuracy needs to continue to improve, but with his athletic ability and speed, he will remind people of Michael Vick.

10. Miami Dolphins- Connor Williams, OT, Texas

The Dolphins offensive line hasn’t been good this year and will need to protect Ryan Tannehill when he returns. Williams isn’t the biggest guy, so he may need to add some weight, but he is very athletic. He is currently injured with damaged ligaments in his knee and will have to prove he is healthy to be selected highly.

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Bradley Chubb (Photo by fanragsports.com)

N.C. State has had a great season, in large part due to Chubb’s play. He has gotten better every year in Raleigh and has had at least ten sacks this season and last. Not only can he rush the passer, but he is also good at stopping the run. The Buccaneers need to re-haul their defense and they can start by getting after the quarterback more consistently.

12. Cincinnati Bengals- Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

It is not often that a guard is talked about as a top 15 pick, but Nelson is one of the best prospects at the position in years. He is very mobile, can pick up blitzers and has a high football IQ. The Bengals have a terrible offensive line and need to upgrade almost every position.

13. Los Angeles Chargers- Derwin James, S, Florida State

Florida State hasn’t played well this season, but James is one of the best safety prospects in the class. He can do almost anything on a football field and can start for 10 years in the back end of a defense. The Chargers can make a young promising defense even better with this pick.

14. Washington Redskins- Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

Kirk gets separation and has big play ability. With better quarterback play, he’d likely be the first receiver taken off the board. Terrelle Pryor was a bad signing and is a free agent after the year. Drafting a receiver to go with Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder could be the move this offseason.

15. Oakland Raiders- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Smith has done a little bit of everything for Georgia and has displayed his athletic ability in the process. He can stop the run, cover and blitz well. The Raiders need a quality linebacker on their roster if they want to take the team to the next level.

16. Green Bay Packers- Ken Webster, CB, Ole Miss

Webster is a lengthy corner that has really come on this season. The Packers’ secondary is awful and needs to be upgraded immediately. Aaron Rodgers will come back either this season or next and cover up a lot of the team’s flaws, but they need an improved defense to help him out.

17. Buffalo Bills- Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

Jefferson is a talented linebacker, who is starting to live up to his potential. He was all over the field against Oklahoma State. The great recuruit coming out of high school is a better pass rusher than he gets credit for and can also stop the run well. Buffalo is another team that just needs to get one talented linebacker on their team.

18. Baltimore Ravens- Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

The Ravens need to get some playmakers at wide reciever to help out Joe Flacco. Flacco hasn’t played well in years, but they won’y move on, so they need to help him out. Sutton has been able to produce at SMU for years and would have been drafted in the first or second round in last year’s draft.

19. Dallas Cowboys- Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Martinas Ranking (Photo by twitter.com)

Rankins has been great as a pass blocker this season and has helped lead Mississippi State to a solid season thus far. Dak Prescott got killed in the game against the Falcons, so picking Rankin to protect him is the right call. Rankin can play right tackle and Chaz Green can stay on the bench.

20. Tennessee Titans- Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Payne makes freakish plays for a defensive tackle. He hasn’t done much in the stats department this season, but takes on multiple blocks at a time. The Titans could improve their defensive line play to take their team to the next level.

21. Detroit Lions- Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Wilkins is a good prospect who can stop the run and get after the quarterback from the interior. He should be able to fit in next to A’Shawn Robinson and make a young Lions’ defensive line even better.

22. Seattle Seahawks- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

If the Seahawks don’t start protecting Russell Wilson, he will get killed. They traded for Duane Brown, but the line is still bad. Seattle always does a good job of coaching bad offensive lineman to excel at the middle and end of the season. Brown has good size and with good coaching can be molded into a solid lineman.

23. Atlanta Falcons- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Ohio State’s secondary didn’t start the season off well, but Ward has been a nice find. He is a shut down corner that is capable of shutting down the nation’s top receivers. Desmond Trufant is a good corner, but the Falcons need more at the position.

24. Buffalo Bills (Via KC)- Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

Davis is a lengthy corner who will likely move up draft boards when the draft comes closer. The Bills picked Tre’Davious White last year in the first round, but still need more help at the corner position.

25. Carolina Panthers- Iman Marshall, CB, USC

The corners for the Panthers have been awful and need to be replaced if the Panthers want to be contenders again. Marshall is a good cover corner, who has stepped up after replacing Adoree’ Jackson as the top guy for USC.

26. Los Angeles Rams-Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State

The Rams don’t have too many needs, but could use some help at corner. McFadden can shut down his man and isn’t afraid to be physical. Los Angeles has a lot of nice young pieces and a good young corner would vastly improve the team’s future contending hopes.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Blake Bortles still isn’t playing good football and isn’t signed for next season. They will likely sign him, but getting a quarterback as a backup plan isn’t a bad idea. Rudolph has a great long ball and good accuracy. He plays in a system that will raise some questions, but he has good talent.

28. New Orleans Saints- Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

The Saints’ defense is better, but they can still improve to make the team better all around. They are above average at getting after the quarterback, but have shown they don’t necessarily draft for need. Although he is just a redshirt sophomore, Ferrell is producing at a big time level. In his very young career, he already has tallied 13.5 sacks.

29. Pittsburgh Steelers- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Ben Roethlisberger has mentioned retirement too many times for it not to be taken seriously. Mayfield has always been seen as a guy who plays in too much of a college system and a quarterback that was too undersized for the NFL. He has had a fantastic season and has protected the football while putting up huge numbers. Mayfield can battle it out for the starting job if Big Ben does leave football.

30. Minnesota Vikings- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Joshua Jackson (Photo by hawkcentral.com)

Jackson got more name recognition after getting two pick sixes against Wisconsin, but he has been playing well for a while now. The Vikings need to start thinking about some new corners to go opposite of Xavier Rhodes. Trae Waynes looks like a bust and Terrance Newman is ancient, so a corner could be the pick.

31. New England Patriots- Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson

Does Clemson have something in the water that makes defensive linemen great? Bryant is a good prospect, but is inconsistent at getting sacks. Some games he will dominate, while some he won’t come near the quarterback. The Patriots will be able to work with him.

32. Philadelphia Eagles- Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

The Eagles don’t have too many areas to improve, but could do so at safety. Harrison has the chance to be a good safety in the NFL with his great size. He is 6’3″, 214 pounds and impacts games in a variety of ways.

 

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Five things to watch for in college football week 13

Rivalry week is now upon us, which means good football games are back. While not everyone is playing a rival, week 13 is going to be crazy for all college football fans. Here are five things to watch for in college football week 13:

1. The Iron Bowl

Alabama and Auburn is a great rivalry that has gotten even better over the last ten years. A lot of times at least one team has national title aspirations by the time the game comes around and some times both teams are in that position. This year both teams control their own destiny in terms of making the College Football Playoff.

The Crimson Tide are undefeated and haven’t even really been challenged too many times. This will definitely be a test for Alabama. Nick Saban has tried to get his team away from “rat poison” this season, but the Crimson Tide average the seventh most points per game and allow the least. They are ridiculously good.

Auburn has two losses, one to Clemson and one to LSU. Their season has been so great because of their defense and running game. They have a top ten defense and average 244 yards per game. The Tigers are tough to beat and have really come on the last few weeks.

The winner of this game will come as a result of better quarterback play. Jalen Hurts and Jarrett Stidham will need to make throws in key situations in order to get the win. The running games will be slowed due to the good defenses, so keeping the defense honest will win the game.

2. The Game

College football week 13 preview

Curtis Samuel in 2016 (photo by usatoday.com)

Ohio State and Michigan meet up for their annual game this weekend. The Buckeyes still have a feint hope of making the College Football Playoff and need to win. For Michigan, they don’t have too much to play for, but in this game, they don’t need much.

J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes have been one of the most inconsistent teams in college football, yet they still only have two losses. When the offense is clicking, the team is one of the best in the country. If Barrett and the offense can limit turnovers they will be in a good position to win the game.

Michigan’s strength is its defense. They allow the 11th fewest points per game in the country and are especially tough against the run. They slowed down Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor for most of the game before wearing down in the second half. If Ohio State’s offense shows up, Michigan’s defense will need to have its best game of the season.

3. Running backs in Notre Dame vs. Stanford

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick has decided that one of Notre Dame’s biggest rivals is Stanford. He decided wrong, but it is still a good game. The Fighting Irish still have a very slim chance to make the College Football Playoff, but should be thinking more about a New Year’s Six bowl game.

A week after beating Navy, Notre Dame gets a chance to finish the season with 10 wins. They have a good ground game and are great at causing turnovers. Their running back, Josh Adams, has had a great season behind a great offensive line. He will highlight a matchup of elite college running games.

Bryce Love is the other quality running back in this game. Love actually still has a chance to win the Heisman with his great statistical season. The offense runs through Love and if the Cardinal have any chance of winning, he will need to have a great game.

4. The Apple Cup

College football week 13 preview

(Photo by mercurynews.com)

One of the better emerging rivalries is the Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State. This year the Pac-12 Championship Game is on the line for the Cougars and both teams are ranked to make it a very appealing game.

Mike Leach has turned Washington State’s program completely around. This season they only have two losses and are knocking on the door for the Pac-12 Championship Game. That is something a lot of people would have never expected. A thing most people expect is how much Washington State throws the ball, as they have one of the best passing attacks in the country.

Washington had College Football Playoff hopes entering the season after making it last season. They are out of that picture now due to having two losses and a weak non-conference schedule. The Huskies are still a talented team that could sneak into a New Year’s Six bowl game with a win and some help.

The big matchup to watch is the Cougars’ passing attack against the Washington pass defense. If the Huskies can shut down the passing attack they can win.

5. UCF vs. USF

A couple weeks ago the thought was that this could be a matchup of undefeated teams. Unfortunately USF lost to Houston to ruin that. The Florida teams in the AAC still have a lot to play for. The winner of this game will get to play in the AAC Championship Game and could make a New Year’s Six bowl game.

UCF has had a tremendous turnaround under Scott Frost. The year before he got there, they were 0-12. Last season, Frost’s first year, UCF went 6-6. Now they have a chance to turn it all the way around and finish with a 12-0 regular season record. The Golden Knights will make an exciting game out of this one way or another, as they have the highest scoring offense in the country.

The Bulls were the team that were thought to be undefeated at this point in the season. They had an easy schedule and a lot of players returning from a successful team last year. While they do have a loss, they can still reach a great bowl game, something that was likely their ceiling this year anyways. With Quinton Flowers at quarterback and a good defense, they can spoil UCF’s perfect season.

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Five things we learned from college football week 12

College football week 12 didn’t offer much, but more can still be learned. Here are five things we learned from the games in week 12:

1. USC the much better team, Rosen the better quarterback

college football week 12

Sam Darnold (Photo by nydailynews.com)

USC beat UCLA 28-23 to finish off a 10-2 regular season. The Trojans are in the Pac-12 Championship and are likely at least going to be in a New Year’s Six bowl game. There is no doubt that USC is the better football team, but this game was marketed as a duel between top quarterback prospects, and probably rightfully so.

Josh Rosen had a great game that saw him throw for 421 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He literally had to carry his team to keep them close, something he is very used to. He showed in this game that he is the much more polished quarterback.

Sam Darnold threw for 264 yards and an interception. The most impressive thing he showed off was his scrambling and athletic ability. He may have a higher ceiling than Rosen, but he showed that he has a lot of developing to do before he gets to that point.

2. Jonathan Taylor can produce against good competition

Taylor had a tall task this week going up against the Michigan defense. He started off slowly, but ended up thriving. The freshman finished with 132 rushing yards. He did have a 56 yard run, but in the second half he started running more consistently.

For Wisconsin to have any shot to beat Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game, Taylor has to produce. Taylor should be able to get near 2,000 yards on the season and is a serious Heisman contender, but he had yet to prove it on the big stage. Now, Wisconsin knows they can lean on him in tough games.

3. UCF will a chance to prove themselves

College football week 12

McKenzie Milton (Photo by hawaiiprepworld.com)

The UCF Golden Knights have been snubbed by the College Football Playoff committee with their rankings so far. They are undefeated and actually, up through last week, had a better strength of record than Wisconsin. While they will not make the CFP, they should be getting more serious attention.

For UCF, it all comes down to the last two games of their season. First they get to play their rival USF, who has just one loss on the season. If they win that game, they get to play what will likely be a one loss Memphis team in the AAC Championship Game. Memphis is ranked currently and moving up. This gives UCF two great opportunities to show the world what they’ve got. If they win both, they are going to a New Year’s Six bowl game.

4. Bill Snyder is going bowling again

Kansas State got a big upset win over Oklahoma State this week. Oklahoma State will likely not be in the Big 12 Championship Game because of the loss. Just when everyone starts to doubt Snyder, he gets his team ready to go and they pull off the upset win.

Snyder is now going to his 19th bowl game as the head coach of the Kansas State Wildcats. This is an impressive feat, given that Kansas State was atrocious before he got there and he is in his second stint as head coach for the university at age 78. This year will help him into 12th place all by himself for bowl game appearances by a coach.

5. Late season cupcake games need to end

Yes, playing FCS teams funds their athletic department, but the games are not fun to watch.  College football is in the heat of a great playoff race and it is all interrupted to play FCS teams. The drama that has built up for weeks, just took a pause in week 12 and is expected to pick back up for rivalry week. There should be a way around this, whether it’s hosting the games at another time (early in the season), or just as an exhibition.

All teams in the top ten won this weekend and it has nothing to do with the quality of the teams, it has to do with the quality of the competition. If college football wants to really draw in the most viewers, it can do so by not having its best teams schedule cupcake games in November, a time when fans are supposed to be getting ready for bowl and playoff season. While it likely won’t be fixed for a while, if at all, it made week 12 very mundane and should be corrected for the future.

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/19/17

This week of the season was not very eventful with a bunch of cupcakes on the schedule. The bad games this week will prep college football fans for a great rivalry week that has a lot of good matchups. Here are how the teams rank before the big weekend:

Playoff teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0)

College football bracketology

Jalen Hurts (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Alabama won big over Mercer (FCS) this weekend. It was an easy game, in which Alabama even held out some of their players as a precaution. Hopefully they are at their best for rivalry week.

The wins over LSU, Mississippi State and Texas A&M are solid, but Alabama lacks a big win. Still though, with the undefeated record, the Crimson Tide will stay in the top spot in the rankings.

Rivalry week is here and Alabama has a chance for a great win over Auburn.

This week: at 6 Auburn Tigers

2. Clemson Tigers (10-1)

The Tigers didn’t have a problem with The Citadel (FCS). Clemson rolled 61-3. They look primed for big things in the next few weeks.

Clemson has some of the most impressive wins in college football, especially their win over Auburn. Their victories over Louisville, Virginia Tech and N.C. State also add to their good resume and help them stay in the second spot.

They will have a small test against South Carolina on rivalry week.

This week: at South Carolina Gamecocks

3. Miami Hurricanes (10-0)

Miami is one of the few teams that played a decent team this week. Although they trailed Virginia for much of the game, they scored 30 unanswered points to run away with the game. They played like they did before the last two weeks, which is up and down with the level of their competition, for most of the time against Virginia.

The Hurricanes have jumped up to this spot in the rankings and will stay here because of their performances in recent weeks. Wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame aren’t quite as impressive as the wins Clemson has overall. They should still feel confident though, as they will get to play Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.

Unfortunately Miami doesn’t play one of its biggest rivals this week, but they should be able to get the win to stay undefeated.

This week: at Pittsburgh Panthers

4. Oklahoma Sooners (10-1)

Oklahoma had a conference game this week, but it was still an easy game, as they played Kansas. While there was a lot of extra-curricular activity, the important thing is that Oklahoma won 41-3.

With good wins over Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU, Oklahoma is in a good position. They are already in the Big 12 Championship Game and if they win out, they will be in the CFP.

The Sooners will get a tough game this week, albeit not against a rival.

This week: vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

First four out

5. Wisconsin Badgers (11-0)

The committee decided to put the Badgers at number five last week, so they will likely be ranked at five again. This week Wisconsin got a win over a decent Michigan team. Michigan has a good defense, but really shouldn’t have been ranked in the top 25.

Beating Michigan still gives Wisconsin another solid win, but it won’t be enough to get into the top four, yet. The wins over Iowa and Northwestern are nice, but if Wisconsin wants to make the CFP, they will need to beat a really good team.

The Badgers’ rival is Minnesota, so they will likely go into the Big Ten Championship undefeated.

This week: at Minnesota Golden Gophers

6. Auburn Tigers (9-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Auburn started slow against UL Monroe, but picked it up and ended up winning 42-14. This sets up another great Iron Bowl that will have CFP implications.

The Tigers have big wins over Georgia and Mississippi State. Their losses to LSU and Clemson aren’t that bad either. If Auburn wins out, they will be a CFP team.

If the Tigers can win this week, they will be rewarded with a chance to play Georgia again in the SEC Championship.

This week: vs. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide

7. Georgia Bulldogs (10-1)

The Bulldogs bounced back from their loss to Auburn very well by beating Kentucky 42-13. Kentucky is a solid win for Georgia, but ultimately the important thing is that they won, as they still control their own destiny.

Georgia’s wins over Notre Dame and Mississippi State are both good. The loss to Auburn is something they will want to avenge if possible. If they win their rivalry game and the SEC Championship Game, they are in the CFP.

Can Georgia shut down Georgia Tech’s triple option this week?

This week: at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-2)

Notre Dame won a tough game over Navy this week to stay in the top ten. While it was one of the tougher games that a top ten team faced, the Fighting Irish should’ve played better.

Wins over Michigan State, USC and N.C. State have kept Notre Dame this high in the rankings. It will be hard for the Fighting Irish to make the CFP, but not totally impossible.

Bryce Love and Stanford are on the schedule for the last week of the season, so Notre Dame better be ready for a physical game.

This week: at 22 Stanford Cardinal

Next four out

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Urban Meyer (Photo by newsok.com)

It has been an up and down season for Ohio State, but this week they destroyed Illinois. With the win they kept their small CFP hopes alive.

The Buckeyes have beaten Michigan State and Penn State for some really good wins. The two losses are holding them back. If they can win out, which includes a victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, Ohio State will be very close to the cutting line, one way or another.

The big game is this weekend for Ohio State. Throw records aside for how big of a rivalry game this is. Ohio State hasn’t struggled with Michigan much in the 21st century, but anything can happen.

This week: at 24 Michigan Wolverines

10. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2)

Penn State beat Nebraska pretty easily this weekend. The Nittany Lions are pretty much out of the CFP picture, but getting another ten win season is nice.

James Franklin has to hope for absolute disaster and chaos to happen to make the CFP. It would take some upsets in the final week of the regular season and some during conference championship week to make it even slightly possible. All Penn State can do is win this week and then wait and see where the chips fall.

Ten wins should be the expectation when they take on Maryland this weekend.

This week: at Maryland Terrapins

11. USC Trojans (10-2)

The Trojans finished off their regular season with a win over rival UCLA. They get a nice week off to prepare for the Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC probably has a better chance of making the CFP than some teams ahead of them (Notre Dame, Penn State). It all depends on how they play in the Pac-12 Championship Game and if the teams above them hold to form. They are rooting for Washington State to win the Apple Cup, so they can play them in the Pac-12 Championship for another solid win.

A week off before a conference championship is unique, but can USC make the most of it and win the Pac-12?

This week: Bye

12. TCU Horned Frogs (9-2)

TCU was able to beat Texas Tech pretty easily, despite not having quarterback Kenny Hill. If they can beat Baylor in the final week, they will get a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The Horned Frogs need some help to make it into the CFP. Beating Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game would be a nice start, but it will not be enough on its own. It will likely take: USC losing in the Pac-12 Championship, Ohio State winning the Big 10 and much more to go their way.

They should be focusing on what they can control and winning the Big 12 would be a great feat for TCU.

This week: vs. Baylor Bears

 

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Five things to watch for in college football week 12

After a few good weeks of quality football games, week 12 in college football looks pretty mundane. That doesn’t mean that good games won’t happen, it just means that it will be a surprise. Here are five things to watch for in week 12 of college football:

1. Jonathan Taylor against Michigan’s run defense

College football week 12

Jonathan Taylor (Photo by dailycardinal.com)

Jonathan Taylor has had a great freshman season for Wisconsin. He, like the rest of the Badgers, haven’t really been tested yet, but will be this week when they play Michigan. The Wolverines aren’t a great football team, they don’t have a win over a team above .500, but they will still challenge Wisconsin. As bad as it may sound, this might be the toughest challenge of Wisconsin’s regular season.

Taylor has 1,525 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns already this season. With a strong finish, he can eclipse the 2,000 yard mark on the season. Not only can he be one of the best players in Wisconsin’s history, he is currently on pace to be the college football’s all-time leading rusher. Taylor will be getting a lot more Heisman recognition if the Badgers are able to win out, but he has already surpassed all expectations this season.

Michigan may not be the best team this season, but that is mostly because of their offense. Their defense ranks ninth in the country in points allowed per game. The Wolverines also have allowed the ninth fewest rushing yards in the country this season, making it a difficult matchup for Taylor. Can Taylor continue to produce against a solid defense.

2. Josh Rosen vs. Sam Darnold

UCLA and USC meet in their annual game, although it likely won’t be too competitive. USC is playing good football again, while UCLA is struggling to make a bowl game. The best thing to watch in this game is the quarterback play.

Josh Rosen has had a solid season that has helped him stay in the running to be one of the top draft picks this year. He has thrown for 3,094 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His team isn’t very good, but the competitive juices will be flowing for Rosen and the Bruins.

USC is playing good football, even though Sam Darnold is having a rough season. He has turned the ball over a lot with plenty of fumbles and 11 interceptions thrown. Darnold has actually played his way out of being the first quarterback selected in the 2018 draft, but will want to prove new doubters wrong against another top level prospect.

3. Bret Bielema’s last game (or two)

Arkansas is 4-6 this season and another loss takes them out of bowl eligibility. Bret Bielema has not been great as the head man of the Razorbacks, with a terrible SEC record and a losing record overall. With a loss this weekend, Bielema is likely going to have to find a new job.

Mississippi State comes to town to take on the Razorbacks. The Bulldogs have a lot to play for still, as they can still make a New Year’s Six bowl game. Arknasas, on the other hand, almost lost to FBS bottom feeders, Coastal Carolina at home, so it should be a relatively easy win for Mississippi State.

Without a win, resulting in no bowl game, Arkansas will likely move on from Bielema after the game, or at season’s end. The Arkansas administration has already gotten rid of athletic director Jeff Long, so the next athletic director will likely want their own people. The only question is: How many SEC jobs are going to be open by the end of the season?

4. Mike Riley’s last few games at Nebraska

College football week 12

Mike Riley (Photo by mlive.com)

Nebraska’s athletic director has had to answer question about Mike Riley’s status as coach, which isn’t a good sign. What is worse is that all he can say is that Riley deserves to finish the season. That means he is likely gone after the season and Nebraska is yet another big program that will be looking for a new head coach.

If Riley has any thoughts about saving his job, he needs to win the last two games of the season. The problem is that those two games are going to be tough. This week they play at Penn State, while next week they get to take on Iowa at home. Both of these will likely be losses for the Cornhuskers.

It was a short tenure at Nebraska for Riley, but since they fired Bo Pelini after continually getting eight wins, firing Riley is the right call.

5. Blowouts

This week is filled with games designed to be blowouts with rivalry week coming up. While blowouts usually aren’t great to watch, some of the games could result in a broken scoreboard due to how many points are scored. Can anyone break 70 this week?

Oklahoma plays Kansas in a game that is pretty self-explanatory. Baker Mayfield will get a chance to pad his Heisman campaign with some explosive plays. Ohio State plays one of the worst power 5 teams, Illinois. It should be a good way to get the offense clicking before the game against Michigan.

Throw in a lot of teams playing FCS competition and the week will have plenty of blowouts. Try to tune into the limited amount of good games this weekend and prepare for rivalry week.

 

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College football week 12 picks

Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger make college football picks for week 12, which includes all games involving FBS teams. There have been plenty of touchdowns, sacks and big plays with more to come. Here are the picks for the week:

AwayHomeLocationRobJoe
Central MichiganKent StateDix Stadium, Kent, OHC. MichCMU
OhioAkronInfoCision Stadium, Akron, OHOhioOhio
Eastern MichiganMiami (OH)Yager Stadium, Oxford, OHMiami (OH)Miami
Western MichiganNorthern IllinoisHuskie Stadium, DeKalb, ILNIUNIU
ToledoBowling GreenDoyt Perry Stadium, Bowling Green, OHToledoToledo
BuffaloBall StateScheumann Stadium, Muncie, INBall StBall St
TulsaSouth FloridaRaymond James Stadium, Tampa, FLUSFUSF
Middle TennesseeWestern KentuckyL.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KYWKUWKU
UNLVNew MexicoDreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NMNew MexNM
Mercer#2 AlabamaBryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, ALBamaBama
#6 TCUTexas TechJones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TXTCUTCU
Virginia#7 MiamiHard Rock Stadium, Miami, FLMiamiMiami
Michigan#8 WisconsinCamp Randall Stadium, Madison, WIWisconsinWisconsin
Louisiana Monroe#10 AuburnJordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, ALAuburnAuburn
#16 Mississippi StateArkansasRazorback Stadium, Fayetteville, ARMiss StateMiss State
#18 UCFTempleLincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PAUCFUCF
SMU#22 MemphisLiberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TNMemphisMemphis
Minnesota#25 NorthwesternRyan Field, Evanston, ILNWNW
CincinnatiEast CarolinaDowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NCECTCUC
TexasWest VirginiaMilan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WVWVUWVU
RutgersIndianaMemorial Stadium , Bloomington, INIndianaIU
Delaware StateFlorida StateDoak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FLFSUFSU
The Citadel#4 ClemsonMemorial Stadium , Clemson, SCClemsonClemson
Pittsburgh#17 Virginia TechLane Stadium, Blacksburg, VAVTVT
RiceOld DominionS.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, VAOld DomODU
Fresno StateWyomingWar Memorial Stadium , Laramie, WYWyomingWyoming
#21 Iowa StateBaylorMcLane Stadium, Waco, TXIowa StISU
Arizona StateOregon StateReser Stadium, Corvallis, ORArizona StASU
CharlotteSouthern MississippiM. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MSSo MissUSM
Louisiana TechUTEPSun Bowl, El Paso, TXLa TechLa Tech
Western CarolinaNorth CarolinaKenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NCUNC-CHUNC
Hawai’iUtah StateRomney Stadium, Logan, UTUtah StUtah St.
UMassBYULaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UTBYUBYU
Texas StateArkansas StateCentennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, ARArk StArk State
South AlabamaGeorgia SouthernAllen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, GAUSAUSA
Kentucky#1 GeorgiaSanford Stadium, Athens, GAGeorgiaGeorgia
Navy#3 Notre DameNotre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, INNDND
#5 OklahomaKansasMemorial Stadium , Lawrence, KSOklahomaOklahoma
Illinois#13 Ohio StateOhio Stadium, Columbus, OHOSUOSU
Margin of victory5243
Kansas State#15 Oklahoma StateBoone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OKOK StateOk State
Purdue#20 IowaKinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IAIowaIowa
San Jose StateColorado StateCSU Stadium, Fort Collins, COCol StCol St
SyracuseLouisvillePapa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KYLouisvilleLouisville
Georgia TechDukeWallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NCGTGT
Maryland#12 Michigan StateSpartan Stadium , East Lansing, MIMich StMSU
Nebraska#14 Penn StateBeaver Stadium, University Park, PAPenn StPSU
WoffordSouth CarolinaWilliams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SCSCSC
UABFloridaBen Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FLUABUF
HoustonTulaneYulman Stadium, New Orleans, LAHoustonHouston
Coastal CarolinaIdahoKibbie Dome, Moscow, IDIdahoIdaho
New Mexico StateLouisianaCajun Field, Lafayette, LAULLULL
ArmyNorth TexasApogee Stadium, Denton, TXArmyArmy
#24 LSUTennesseeNeyland Stadium, Knoxville, TNLSULSU
ArizonaOregonAutzen Stadium, Eugene, ORArizonaArizona
Texas A&MOle MissVaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MSOle MissTAMU
Boston CollegeConnecticutFenway Park, Boston, MABCBC
MarshallUT San AntonioAlamodome, San Antonio, TXMarshallMarshall
Florida IntlFlorida AtlanticFAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FLFAUFAU
#23 NC StateWake ForestBB&T Field, Winston-salem, NCWakeNC State
MissouriVanderbiltVanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TNMizzouMizzou
UCLA#11 USCLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CAUSCUSC
CaliforniaStanfordStanford Stadium, Stanford, CAStanfordStanford
Air ForceBoise StateAlbertsons Stadium, Boise, IDBoiseBoise
Utah#9 WashingtonHusky Stadium, Seattle, WAWashingtonWashington
NevadaSan Diego StateSDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CASDSUSDSU
Gameday Guest Picker (Madison, WI)Ron DayneRon Dayne

2018 NFL Mock Draft 11/15/17

With the NFL season being well past the halfway point, more is clear about what teams will need and where they will be drafting. Here is the latest 2018 NFL mock draft.

1. Cleveland Browns- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

All of the good quarterbacks that were thought to come out of this draft class have struggled. Rosen has probably been the best overall and has some good arm talent. He does, however, have some flaws to overcome. Rosen needs to make better decisions and show he can lead a franchise. One thing he has proven is that his shoulder injury from last season won’t be a major factor going forward.

2. San Francisco 49ers- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

After the trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, it is unlikely the 49ers will take a quarterback in this draft. They will take the best player in the class in Barkley. He is a do-it-all running back who will immediately improve the quality of the running game for San Francisco. Barkley is a premier talent who runs with great moves that are reminiscent of Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith. This isn’t an area of need for the 49ers, but they can’t pass up the best player.

3. New York Giants- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

The Giants could go for a replacement for Eli Manning, but the quarterback position won’t get any better with their bad offensive line. McGlinchey has had an up and down season and most recently didn’t play well against Miami. He has the ability to play either tackle position and can start from day one.

4. Indianapolis Colts- Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Arden Key (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Key is a very good edge rusher that uses his speed as his main way of getting to the quarterback. He had a better season in 2016 than this season, but still shows he can pressure the quarterback. The Colts need to get after the quarterback more as they only have 19 sacks on the season.

5. Cleveland Browns (via Hou)- Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama

Cleveland needs to improve its secondary. They just drafted Jabril Peppers and like Peppers, Fitzpatrick can play multiple positions in the secondary. He will most likely fit in at safety, but should be able to cover batter than most safeties. With two top five picks, the Browns have a chance to vastly improve their roster.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State

N.C. State has had a great season, in large part due to Chubb’s play. He has gotten better every year in Raleigh and has had at least ten sacks this season and last. Not only can he rush the passer, but he is also good at stopping the run. The Buccaneers need to re-haul their defense and they can start by getting after the quarterback more consistently.

7. Cincinnati Bengals- Connor Williams, OT, Texas

The Bengals have a terrible offensive line and need to upgrade almost every position. They can start by taking a cornerstone at tackle. Williams isn’t the biggest guy, so he may need to add some weight, but he is very athletic. He is currently injured with damaged ligaments in his knee and will have to prove he is healthy to be selected highly.

8. Chicago Bears- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Chicago has decided to make Mitch Trubisky the starting quarterback and he has played decently well. They have to get him some weapons in the passing game other than Tarik Cohen. Ridley is a dynamic playmaker that can make people miss once he gets the ball in his hands. He may be better as a pro than as a college player, as Jalen Hurts isn’t the greatest throwing quarterback.

9. Denver Broncos- Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Darnold raised some eyebrows when reports came out that he may skip out on the 2018 draft if it looks like the Browns will select him. He hasn’t even played well enough to deserve being a number one pick, but the Broncos would love to have him. With good arm strength and stature, Darnold will entice some teams, but he needs to stop turning the ball over. Brock Osweiler and Trevor Siemian aren’t getting the job done and Paxton Lynch has yet to take it away from them, so a quarterback would be a nice option.

10. Los Angeles Chargers- Derwin James, S, Florida State

Florida State hasn’t played well this season, but James is one of the best safety prospects in the class. He can do almost anything on a football field and can start for 10 years in the back end of a defense. The Chargers can make a young promising defense even better with this pick.

11. New York Jets- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Josh McCown has played well for the Jets, but he isn’t the future. Lamar Jackson would be an exciting player to see in New York. He can make plays and has improved as a thrower this season. His accuracy needs to continue to improve, but with his athletic ability and speed, he will remind people of Michael Vick.

12. Arizona Cardinals- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Carson Palmer is likely not going to ever be a decent quarterback ever again with his aging and injuries. Allen has NFL size, arm strength and great athletic ability. His problem is that he can’t perform against top competition in college, which will likely make him a project in the NFL. Bruce Arians would be a coach that could take that challenge on, as he likes big, strong armed quarterbacks.

13. Miami Dolphins- Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Quenton Nelson (Photo by fansided.com)

It is not often that a guard is talked about as a top 15 pick, but Nelson is one of the best prospects at the position in years. He is very mobile, can pick up blitzers and has a high football IQ. The Dolphins offensive line hasn’t been good this year and will need to protect Ryan Tannehill when he returns.

14. Baltimore Ravens- Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

The Ravens need to get some playmakers at wide reciever to help out Joe Flacco. Flacco hasn’t played well in years, but they won’y move on, so they need to help him out. Kirk gets separation and has big play ability. With better quarterback play, he’d likely be the first receiver taken off the board.

15. Washington Redskins- Ken Webster, CB, Ole Miss

Webster is a lengthy corner that has really come on this season. The question is: Can he fit into Washington’s scheme? They run the cover 2 and with Josh Norman shutting down one side of the field, he will have to shut down the other.

16. Oakland Raiders- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Smith has done a little bit of everything for Georgia and has displayed his athletic ability in the process. He can stop the run, cover and blitz well. The Raiders need a quality linebacker on their roster if they want to take the team to the next level.

17. Green Bay Packers- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Ohio State’s secondary didn’t start the season off well, but Ward has been a nice find. He is a shut down corner that is capable of shutting down the nation’s top receivers. The Packers’ secondary is awful and needs to be upgraded immediately.

18. Buffalo Bills- Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas 

Jefferson is a talented linebacker, who is starting to live up to his potential. He was all over the field against Oklahoma State. The great recuruit coming out of high school is a better pass rusher than he gets credit for and can also stop the run well. Buffalo is another team that just needs to get one talented linebacker on their team.

19. Detroit Lions- Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Payne makes freakish plays for a defensive tackle. He hasn’t done much in the stats department this season, but takes on multiple blocks at a time. The Lions need to improve the interior of the defensive line and Payne can fit in with his old teammate at Alabama, A’Shawn Robinson.

20. Dallas Cowboys- Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State

Ranking has been great as a pass blocker this season and has helped lead Mississippi State to a solid season thus far. Dak Prescott got killed in the game against the Falcons, so picking Rankin to protect him is the right call. Rankin can play right tackle and Chaz Green can stay on the bench.

21. Atlanta Falcons- Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Carlton Davis (Photo by al.com)

Davis is a lengthy corner who will likely move up draft boards when the draft comes closer. Desmond Trufant is a good corner, but the Falcons need more at the position.

22. Tennessee Titans- Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

Harrison has the chance to be a good safety in the NFL with his great size. He is 6’3″, 214 pounds and impacts games in a variety of ways. Johnathan Cyprien is having a rough season and needs to be replaced.

23. Seattle Seahawks- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

If the Seahawks don’t start protecting Russell Wilson, he will get killed. They traded for Duane Brown, but the line is still bad. Seattle always does a good job of coaching bad offensive lineman to excel at the middle and end of the season. Brown has good size and with good coaching can be molded into a solid lineman.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Blake Bortles still isn’t playing good football and isn’t signed for next season. They will likely sign him, but getting a quarterback as a backup plan isn’t a bad idea. Rudolph has a great long ball and good accuracy. He plays in a system that will raise some questions, but he has good talent.

25. Buffalo Bills (via KC)- Iman Marshall, CB, USC

The Bills picked Tre’Davious White last year in the first round, but still need more help at the corner position. Marshall is a good cover corner, who has stepped up after replacing Adoree’ Jackson as the top guy for USC.

26. Carolina Panthers- Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Carolina traded away Kelvin Benjamin and now needs to get Cam Newton some weapons on the outside. Sutton has been able to produce at SMU for years and would have been drafted in the first or second round in last year’s draft.

27. New Orleans Saints- Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Wilkins is a good prospect who can stop the run and get after the quarterback from the interior. The Saints’ defense is getting better, but they can still improve. Wilkins can slide right in next to Sheldon Rankins to create a pretty good defensive line overall.

28. Los Angeles Rams- Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State

The Rams don’t have too many needs, but could use some help at corner. McFadden can shut down his man and isn’t afraid to be physical. Los Angeles has a lot of nice young pieces and a good young corner would vastly improve the team’s future contending hopes.

29. Pittsburgh Steelers- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma 

2018 NFL mock draft

Baker Mayfield (Photo by newsok.com)

Ben Roethlisberger has mentioned retirement too many times for it not to be taken seriously. Mayfield has always been seen as a guy who plays in too much of a college system and a quarterback that was too undersized for the NFL. He has had a fantastic season and has protected the football while putting up huge numbers. Mayfield can battle it out for the starting job if Big Ben does leave football.

30. Minnesota Vikings- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

Jackson got more name recognition after getting two pick sixes against Wisconsin, but he has been playing well for a while now. The Vikings need to start thinking about some new corners to go opposite of Xavier Rhodes. Trae Waynes looks like a bust and Terrance Newman is ancient, so a corner could be the pick.

31. New England Patriots- Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

Although he is just a redshirt sophomore, Ferrell is producing at a big time level. In his very young career, he already has tallied 13.5 sacks. The Patriots need to get some pressure on the quarterback if they want to be as dominant as they used to be.

32. Philadelphia Eagles- Justin Reid, S, Stanford

The Eagles don’t have too many areas to improve, but could do so at safety. Reid can do a little bit of everything at safety, but doesn’t have any elite traits.

 

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NBA prospects to watch in the 2017 Champions Classic

The Champions Classic is loaded with NBA talent every year because of the level of teams in the event. Every year Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State get together to play in an early season event to signify to everyone that basketball is back. Here are the top NBA prospects to watch in the 2017 Champions Classic:

Duke Prospects

Marvin Bagley, PF, Fr.

NBA prospects in the champions Classic

Marvin Bagley (Photo by bleacherreport.com)

Bagley is a generational talent that will likely be in the running to be the number one overall pick. He can do a little bit of everything and is leading Duke in scoring. He is averaging 24.5 points and 10 rebounds per game on the young season. One thing he can work on is his passing, as he continually will not find the open man and will rather put up heavily contested shots. The good thing for him is that he is good enough to make most of his shots, 65.7%, even when being double teamed.

Projected draft range: Top three pick

Wendell Carter Jr., PF/C, Fr.

Carter is only averaging 10 points and 6.5 rebounds, but there is so much talent on the Duke roster that stats aren’t the deciding factor for being a great prospect. He has been the rim protector for the Blue Devils so far with six blocks in two games. Carter was the fifth ranked prospect in the 2017 class according to ESPN.

Projected draft range: Top 10 pick

Trevon Duval, PG, Fr.

The number one point guard in the recruiting class was Trevon Duval. He is averaging a double-double in the first two games with points and assists. He averages 11.5 points and 10 assists per game. Duval has shown the ability to drive and score or dish the ball out, but needs to show he can knock down outside shots in order to keep defenses honest.

Projected draft range: Lottery pick-late first round pick

Gary Trent, SG, Fr.

Trent can be an x-factor for this Duke team this season. He is a good wing player, that with his outside shooting, can take some pressure off of Bagley. In the first two games he has already made seven threes on 13 attempts. His length can make him a good defender, but he will be tested by Michigan State on the defensive end.

Projected draft range: Lottery pick-late first round pick

Grayson Allen, SG, Sr.

Yes, Allen is still considered to be drafted in the NBA Draft. He gets a lot of criticism due to his attitude problems, but he is a solid player that has learned how to best play in his role every year at Duke. He is the second leading scorer so far, averaging 20 points a game. He has been the Blue Devils’ best shooter so far this season and, like Trent, can take pressure off of other players by knocking down shots. He has made 10 three pointers in 15 attempts.

Projected draft range: Late first round pick-early second round pick

Michigan State Prospects

Miles Bridges, SF, So.

Nba draft prospects in the champions classic

Miles Bridges (Photo by draftexpress.com)

Bridges surprised a lot of people by deciding to return to school after a great freshman season. He does everything for Michigan State from scoring to rebounding. His athleticism is crazy, and it can be seen in some of his highlight reel dunks. If he can knock down outside shots and limit turnovers, he is a complete player. Bridges will be one of the best college players this season and will get consideration for Player of the Year to go along with being considered a top prospect.

Projected draft range: Lottery pick

Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Fr.

The Spartans have a lot of good inside players this season, but Jackson got the starting nod in Michigan State’s season opener. He had 13 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots against North Florida and he looks poised for bigger things. Jackson was also able to knock down nine of 10 free throws, which is a nice skill to have, being that he will be fouled a lot this year.

Projected draft range: Lottery pick

Cassius Winston, PG, So.

Winston is one of the best passers in college basketball. He makes plays and shows off his high basketball IQ in the process. Not only can he drive to the basket, he can also knock down outside shots. Winston is not the most sought after prospect right now, but with continued good play, NBA executives will start to fall in love with him.

Projected draft range: Second round pick-undrafted free agent

Kansas Prospects

Billy Preston, PF, Fr.

NBA draft prospects in the champions Classic

Billy Preston (Photo by kuhoops.com)

Unfortunately, the world has yet to see Preston on the college level yet, as he was suspended from the season opener for missing curfew and class. That is a little concerning, but overall not a big deal. He was the 18th ranked recruit by ESPN and will be asked to be one of the few legitimate inside players for the Jayhawks.

Projected draft range: Late first round pick-early second round

Legarald Vick, SG, Jr.

Vick has crazy athleticism from the wing. He has been getting significant minutes the last few years at Kansas, despite a crowded backcourt. If Vick can add some muscle and have a good season as one of the lead guys on the Jayhawks’ roster he can get drafted.

Projected draft range: Second round pick-undrafted free agent

Devonte’ Graham, PG, Sr.

Now that Frank Mason is gone, Graham is tasked with running the offense. He is a little undersized for the NBA, but has a lot of desirable qualities. Graham is a great defender and has the ability to play on ball and off of it. He has shown that he can create for his teammates so far this season with 12 assists in one game. Graham can also shoot from deep, with a career percentage of 41% on three point shots.

Projected draft range: Second round pick-undrafted free agent

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, SG/SF, Sr.

Svi has gotten an increased role every year at Kansas. He is intriguing to NBA people because of his length and shooting ability. Svi is a 38% three point shooter and at his size, he is a tough matchup. This season he can really prove he is worth an NBA draft pick with his added minutes.

Projected draft range: Second round pick-undrafted free agent

Udoka Azubuike, C, So.

Azubuike’s year ended early last season due to a wrist injury, but now he is back and healthy. He has great length at seven feet tall and is strictly an inside player. With a changing NBA game, where good inside players are devalued, Azubuike has to expand his game. He is still worthy of a draft pick if he plays well.

Projected draft range: Second round pick-undrafted free agent

Kentucky prospects

Kevin Knox, PF/SF, Fr.

NBA draft prospects in the champions classic

Kevin Knox (Photo by seccountry.com)

NBA executives will love Knox because of his athleticism and face up game. He can dribble, shoot and rebound. Knox does need to shoot more efficiently, as in two games he has below a 30% field goal percentage. He will get good experience playing on the perimeter at Kentucky, but needs to start knocking down outside shots to make him the ultra-versatile player that will be drafted really early.

Projected draft range: Lottery pick

Hamidou Diallo, SG, Fr.

Diallo is one of the most athletic players in the draft class. He has been the best player for Kentucky so far. While he can get to the basket almost at will, he does have some areas of his game he needs to improve. These areas include outside shooting, shot selection and on-ball defending. The athleticism is good enough to get him drafted highly, but if he can improve in other areas, he can move up draft boards.

Projected draft range: Lottery pick-late first round pick

Nick Richards, C, Fr.

Richards is a former volleyball player, whose skills in that sport should help him at Kentucky. He had three blocks against Utah Valley in the opener. Richards can rebound and defend, which is nice, but he will have to show a vastly improved offensive game if he wants to be selected early on in the draft.

Projected draft range: First round pick

P.J. Washington, SF/PF, Fr.

In his first game Washington did not look good, but was great in the second game of the season. He has an inside-out game, that will pique the interest of NBA teams. Knocking down outside shots will drastically improve his draft status.

Projected draft range: Late first round pick-early second round pick

*Jarred Vanderbilt will not play in the event due to a foot injury, but is likely going to be drafted as well.

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Five things we learned from college football week 11

Week 11 provided a lot more good college football and even late in the season there is a lot to be learned. Here are five things we learned from week 11 action:

1. Miami is for real

Leading in to this week there was a lot of talk about whether Miami was for real or not. They were undefeated, but had only beaten one solid team in Virginia Tech. Miami needed a big game to prove to everyone that they were legit and they were provided with a top 10 matchup and rivalry game with Notre Dame.

Miami didn’t just win the game, they dominated it. They won 41-8 and Notre Dame didn’t have much of a chance after the first half. The Hurricanes have now clinched a spot in the ACC Championship and can make the College Football Playoff, which is not something many thought at the start of the season.

2. Oklahoma is going to make the CFP

Oklahoma showed they were the dominating team in the Big 12. They beat TCU by 18 points and are now in the driver’s seat in the Big 12 to make the Championship Game.

Baker Mayield has the offense rolling and no Big 12 defense can stop them. They have to get through Kansas and West Virginia then they get the Big 12 Championship Game. No matter who the opponent is, Oklahoma is playing too well to lose. Slot them into the CFP now and watch other contenders fall by the wayside.

3. Ohio State is inconsistent at best

Ohio State was looking bad after getting killed by Iowa. They had two losses and it looked like the players could give up on the season with a very slim chance of making the College Football Playoff. That was not the case and the Buckeyes proved it this week.

The Buckeyes pounded Michigan State 48-3. They put themselves in good position to win the Big Ten East now, which was up in the air after last week. Now, Ohio State has lost to Oklahoma and been blown out by Iowa, but the Buckeyes have beaten Penn State and now Michigan State. It is hard to get a read on how the rest of the season will go for Ohio State.

4. The Iron Bowl is going to have CFP implications for both teams

Auburn was able to defeat Georgia this week, which will have them move up in the CFP rankings. They have two losses, but just beat the number one team in the country and control their own destiny. If they beat Alabama and win the SEC Championship against Georgia they are going to be in the CFP.

Alabama is still undefeated, but now gets a tough game with Auburn to end the year. If they lose that game, and the chance to play for the SEC Championship, they cold still make the CFP, but they will need help. That game, which is two weeks away, is going to be another classic Iron Bowl that could decide who gets a chance to play for the National Championship.

5. More Jobs are opening up

Butch Jones has been fired as the head coach of Tennessee after losing 50-17 to Missouri. He had a winning record in his time at Tennessee, but at a program like Tennessee that can’t be the biggest achievement. Jones was going to be fired after the year anyways, but the Missouri loss was too much.

Tennessee, Oregon State, Florida and Ole Miss are all power five jobs that are already open. Kansas, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Illinois, Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M all could be available at the end of the season. Get ready for the rumor mill to start up in the next few weeks.

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/12/17

College football just gets crazier and crazier. In this edition of the college football bracketology, things are a bit different as a result of the games this week. Here are the top teams in college football for this week:

Playoff teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-0)

One of three remaining undefeated teams from a power five conference, Alabama got the job done again, getting a win over Mississippi State. The Bulldogs kept it close and were actually leading late, but could not hang on for the win. Alabama got a balanced effort and calmly came back to win.

The Crimson Tide are clearly going to be the number one team when the rankings come out on Tuesday. They haven’t lost and have played a much better schedule than the other two undefeated teams from power five conferences. Their best wins are over Mississippi State and LSU. They may not have the best wins, but being undefeated this late in the season gets the number one spot.

Alabama has one easy and one tough game left in the regular season and they need to win the latter to get into the SEC Championship Game.

This week: vs. Mercer Bears (FCS)

2. Oklahoma Sooners (9-1)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Baker Mayfield (Photo by usatoday.com)

Oklahoma got another great win when they dismantled TCU this week 38-20. Baker Mayfield and the offense are rolling on all cylinders. The best defense in the Big 12, TCU, couldn’t stop them and it looks like no one can. The Sooners genuinely look like they could be the best team in the country right now.

Now, Oklahoma has three top tier wins, over Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU. The loss to Iowa State prevents them from being the number one team. With their great wins, Oklahoma takes the number two spot in the rankings and control their own destiny for the CFP.

Oklahoma, like Alabama, has one game that will be easy and one game that won’t be.

This week: vs. Kansas Jayhawks

3. Clemson Tigers (9-1)

The Tigers beat Florida State this weekend, in what many years would’ve been a good win. This year however, the win is not that impressive. It was close for a lot of the game, but Clemson ended up pulling away 31-14.

Clemson has plenty of quality wins, which has helped them stay ahead of some of the undefeated teams. Their win over Auburn looks really good after Auburn upset Georgia. With other solid wins coming over Virginia Tech, Louisville and others, Clemson has earned the number three spot. The majority of their wins have come over teams that can make bowl games.

With the win over N.C. State and the results this weekend, Clemson has locked up a spot in the ACC Championship Game.

This week: vs. The Citadel (FCS)

4. Miami Hurricanes (9-0)

Miami got the biggest win they have had since the early 2000s. They destroyed Notre Dame 41-8 and are now back in big time college football. The defense showed its speed and athleticism by stopping Josh Adams and the Notre Dame offense. They made some first round draft picks on the Notre Dame offensive line look bad and are now in the CFP picture.

The Hurricanes have a great win over Notre Dame and a win over Virginia Tech that looks worse after their loss to Georgia Tech. They are carried by their win over Notre Dame and their undefeated record, but now that they have locked up the ACC Coastal, they will get a chance to prove themselves against another CFP contender in Clemson.

The remaining schedule for Miami slots them against two average or below average ACC teams.

This week: vs. Virginia Cavaliers

First four out:

5. Georgia Bulldogs (9-1)

Georgia lost to Auburn this week and slides down four spots in these rankings. They didn’t look good in the game, losing 40-17. It was a tough game to win at Auburn, but the Bulldogs looked bad and need to step it up in the next couple of weeks to make the CFP.

Although they lost this week, Georgia can still make the CFP without much chaos happening. They still have good wins over Notre Dame and Mississippi State to fall back on. Every FBS team they have played can still make a bowl game. If Georgia can win out, they will be in the CFP.

They play two solid teams in their last two regular season games, but should be able to win out until the SEC Championship Game.

This week: vs. Kentucky Wildcats

6. Wisconsin Badgers (10-0)

Wisconsin won a big game against Iowa and showed how tough they can be. They won 38-14 and did not allow Iowa to score an offensive touchdown. Iowa is now 6-4 so the win will likely not go as far as they hope, but it was a dominating performance that made the Badgers look good.

The Badgers look better as a result of Northwestern turning it on in the back half of the season. The problem is they have two decent wins, one over Northwestern and one over Iowa. The undefeated record has gotten them to number six in the country, but they have no margin for error.

With two Big Ten games left, Wisconsin needs to bring their “A” game every week.

This week: vs. Michigan Wolverines

7. Auburn Tigers (8-2)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Auburn helped create some chaos in the college football landscape with their win over then number one ranked Georgia. They played their best game of the season in their 40-17 win. They may have two losses, but they control their own CFP destiny with games against Alabama and a possible rematch with Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

The Tigers lost to LSU and Clemson, but the wins and possible future wins have Auburn in a great position. With wins over Mississippi State and now Georgia, Auburn has the best case out of any two loss team. If they keep winning, it will make the committee’s decisions very interesting.

They have one easy game and then the Iron Bowl before the possible SEC Championship Game appearance.

This week: UL Monroe Warhawks

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-2)

The Fighting Irish lost another game to a top tier team this week. They stood no chance against Miami by the time halftime hit. Losing that big won’t do them any favors with the committee, but at least it came at the hands of an undefeated and good football team.

Notre Dame lost to two of the best teams in the country, which will count for something with the committee, even if they got blown out in one of the games. They still have some solid wins over Michigan State, USC and N.C. State. It will be hard to get back into the CFP without a conference championship game to play in, but in college football, never say never.

They play Navy and Stanford in the next two weeks, so Notre Dame has to remain focused and hope for some losses from the teams ahead of them.

This week: vs. Navy Midshipmen

Next four out

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-2)

Ohio State seemingly can’t figure out what team they are this season and followed up a loss with a big time win over Michigan State 48-3. Michigan State had risen up the rankings to number 12, making it another good win for the Buckeyes, but it might be too little too late.

The Buckeyes have the two losses to Oklahoma and Iowa, with the latter really holding them back. Iowa is just 6-4 now. Ohio State does have two good wins, over Penn State and now Michigan State, but they have to finish strong in orderto keep their CFP hopes alive.

They get Illinois before their regular season finale against Michigan.

This week: vs. Illinois Illini

10. TCU Horned Frogs (8-2)

The Horned Frogs lost to Oklahoma by 18 this week to get their second loss of the season. TCU looked outmatched and now has some serious work to do to get back in the CFP picture.

TCU beat Oklahoma State and West Virginia for solid wins, but the problem is the Big 12 beating up on each other. Three teams are tied for second place and a chance for the Big 12 Championship. TCU currently holds the tie-breaker over these two, Oklahoma State and West Virginia, so they should be able to make the title game if they take care of business.

If they can hold off two of the teams in the bottom half of the Big 12 standings in the last two regular season games, TCU will get a rematch with Oklahoma.

This week: at Texas Tech Red Raiders

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-2)

Oklahoma picked up a big win over Iowa State that helps their case for the CFP and also significantly improved their chances of making the Big 12 Championship Game. The Cowboys won with a controversial finish, but it still counts as a win.

The Cowboys’ two losses, to Oklahoma and TCU, can prevent them from making the Big 12 Championship Game, so they need some help to win a conference championship. In terms of a CFP resume, they have beaten both Iowa State and West Virginia.

They won’t pick up much love playing the two Kansas teams in the Big 12 to finish the season, so they really need to make the Big 12 Championship Game.

This week: vs. Kansas State Wildcats

12. USC Trojans (9-2)

USC picked up another win, this time against Colorado. The Buffaloes aren’t the same team as last year, but could still make a bowl game.

The Pac-12 is likely out of the CFP, but USC holds its best chances. USC has beaten Arizona and Stanford for solid wins and will likely have a tough time picking up too many more solid ones. The Trojans  need a lot of help.

USC has one more regular season game left and then the Pac-12 Championship to prove themselves. It likely won’t be enough.

This week: at UCLA Bruins

 

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