NCAA Football News

Leonard Fournette to LSU: Tigers Land 5-Star RB Prospect

LSU got one of the biggest commitments of the year when Leonard Fournette decided to join the program on Thursday.

The 5-star running back likely could have attended any school in the country, and he received offers from most major SEC and ACC schools. In the end, however, he wanted to play for the Tigers.

Playing his high school ball in New Orleans, Fournette carved out quite a reputation for himself as an elite prospect. According to 247Sports' composite rankings, he is not only the top running back in the 2014 class but also the No. 1 overall recruit in the nation.

This lofty praise is mostly due to his unbelievable high school numbers. In 2012, the St. Augustine High School star rushed for 2,136 yards and 31 touchdowns on 196 carries, good for 10.9 yards per attempt. He added 313 yards and three scores on 15 receptions as well.

Over his four years in high school, he has totaled 7,620 yards and 88 touchdowns on the ground.

Listed at 6'1" and 226 pounds, he has the size and strength to go up the middle and break tackles to get the tough yards. Impressively, he also has enough acceleration and top speed to turn the small runs into huge gains.

In the open field, he can use his elite vision to find open holes and reach the end zone whenever he touches the football.

Albert Breer of the NFL Network offered some high praise for the running back after watching him play last year:

While LSU has other running backs on the roster, the Louisiana native has the ability to step on the field almost immediately. With his unique skill set, he should be able to succeed at the college level right away.

With this commitment, the Tigers secured a lot of winning days for the next few years.

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No. 1 RB Leonard Fournette Commits to LSU: Meet the Next Adrian Peterson

Leonard Fournette has announced his commitment to LSU at the Under Armour All-America Game. He is the No. 1 running back in the 2014 class and has the skills to be an instant impact player for the Tigers offense. 

Coming out of high school, he was drawing comparisons to Adrian Peterson. That's pretty lofty praise, but Fournette has the speed, vision and power to back it up.

Watch Adam Kramer and Michael Felder break down Fournette's game. 

 

Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital.

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Tony Brown to Alabama: Crimson Tide Land 5-Star CB Prospect

Arguably the best high school prospect in the state of Texas is spreading his wings, as 5-star cornerback Tony Brown officially committed to Alabama.

Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports provides details:

Like all Class of 2014 recruits, Brown's commitment is only verbal. He can change his mind at any time between now and the beginning of the national signing period without penalty. 

Still, after nearly every major program in the country expressed interest, it's hard to see anyone swaying him from Alabama at this juncture.

Brown is considered the ninth-best prospect overall and third-best cornerback in the Class of 2014 by 247Sports' composite rankings. The Ozen High School standout received over 20 scholarship offers before giving official visits to LSU, USC, Texas, Alabama and Ohio State.

From almost the beginning of the process, it felt like Brown was predisposed to becoming a Tiger despite his Texas upbringing. By the time December rolled around, 247Sports' Crystal Ball indicated that he was 100 percent locked into coming to Baton Rouge. 

And it's not hard to see why.

Since taking over the Tigers post, Les Miles has developed a reputation of developing elite defensive back talent. Morris Claiborne and Patrick Peterson both parlayed their time under Miles into being first-round draft choices, and it's possible Tyrann Mathieu would have done the same had it not been for off-the-field issues. Alabama, Texas and Ohio State aren't exactly bereft of NFL-worthy talent, but LSU's recent track record speaks for itself.

Nevertheless, a late push from Alabama wound up swaying Brown enough to change the entire process.

The Crimson Tide get a player who could step in from the moment he arrives. Listed at 6'0" and 188 pounds, Brown has a ready-built body and enough speed to atone for mistakes caused by inexperience. While not an official time, multiple recruiting sites, including 247Sports, list his 40-yard dash time at 4.35—among the quickest in the entire nation. 

He's also already a very good cover corner and able to move around the defense depending on the situation. Watching Brown's highlight reels, his ability to make big plays stands out most of all. High school quarterbacks just weren't able to account for his closing speed, leading to interceptions and last-minute breakups.

Brown was a 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection. He's also a talented track and field athlete, specifically, an elite-level hurdler who could have had a career in the sport if it weren't for football. 

His tackling could use some improvement, which may be the top factor preventing him from getting extensive playing time as a freshman. But no matter what happens in 2014, Brown should be a staple defensively sooner rather than later.

 

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What 5-Star CB Tony Brown Means to Alabama Crimson Tide

Tony Brown has committed to Alabama at the Under Armour All-America Game. The 5-star cornerback has the ability to make an instant impact for the Crimson Tide, whose secondary could definitely use the addition.

Watch Barrett Sallee break down what this commitment means to the Alabama Crimson Tide. 

 

*Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital.

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Gerald Willis III Commits to Florida over LSU, Mother Upset Again

Five-star defensive tackle Gerald Willis III announced his commitment to Florida over LSU during the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game as his mother, April Justin, tried to hide her disappointment.

Willis III is the brother of Alabama safety Landon Collins, who announced his commitment during the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game. As you can see, Ms. Justin—an admitted fan of SEC rival LSU—wasn't too happy with that decision either. 

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Jalen Tabor to Arizona: Wildcats Land 5-Star CB Prospect

Arizona has landed coveted 5-star cornerback Jalen Tabor according to CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman:

Tabor—the top prospect coming out of Washington, D.C. in the class of 2014—is the fourth-best cornerback in the nation according to 247Sports.com's composite rankings. He is listed as the 24th-best recruit overall in the country.

Tabor, who plays high school football at the Friendship Academy in the nation's capital, had received offers from Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Maryland and Florida State among several other top programs.

At 6'1", 182 pounds, Tabor has the body to excel as an elite defensive back at the college level. His speed and aggressive style of play set him apart from other prospects at his position. Tabor also has long arms which make him more of a threat with the ball in the air.

Although he is considered one of the Class of 2014's best cover corners, Tabor certainly has potential at safety as well. He has tremendous ball skills and the speed to keep up with quicker wide receivers. Don't be surprised if you see him also playing a huge role on special teams as a return man.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to see where his college coaches decide to play him in the coming years.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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Gerald Willis to Florida: Gators Land 5-Star DE Prospect

The Florida Gators have landed coveted 5-star defensive end prospect Gerald Willis.

Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports passes along the news:

Willis is listed as the second-best player at his position in the Class of 2014 and the No. 21 overall recruit in the nation, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. He's the fifth-best prospect coming out of Louisiana this year. 

After excelling in high school for Edna Karr in New Orleans, Willis received offers from Florida, Texas A&M, Alabama and Arkansas, among others, with the Tigers the expected favorite to land his commitment. Ultimately, he felt Florida was the best fit. 

A 6'3", 275-pound stud, Willis demonstrates plenty of versatility up front on the defensive line. He is probably best suited as a strong-side defensive end, but it wouldn't be that surprising if his college coaches played him some at defensive tackle.

Willis boasts tremendous strength and athleticism. His huge senior season helped lead Edna Karr High School to the Louisiana Class 4A state championship.

The rough-and-tumble Southeastern Conference will surely test Willis in the coming years, however. It's no secret that many of the best athletes in college football reside in the SEC, so Willis will be expected to help make a difference from the get-go.

Either way, Willis has a bright future ahead. He possesses all of the physical attributes necessary to be a dominant pass-rusher at the college level, and he'll be playing on a stage where he's sure to gain notice.

As long as Willis remains focused, stays on track and gets stronger and quicker, he's no doubt headed for stardom.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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Jamal Adams Uses a Baby to Announce Commitment to LSU

Five-star safety recruit Jamal Adams announced his commitment to LSU during the Under Armour All-America Game by holding up his niece, who was donned in purple and gold.

The little girl couldn't get enough of the microphone. 

Here's another look at Adams' niece, via Louisiana's Sports Channel anchor Jacques Doucet:

Adams also made the mistake of announcing his commitment to "The University of LSU":

The No. 2 overall safety recruit was also considering Florida before committing to the Tigers.

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What 5-Star DT Gerald Willis Means to Florida Gators

Gerald Willis has committed to Florida at the Under Armour All-America Game. The 5-Star DT really has the skills to get after the quarterback and is agile enough to play anywhere on the line. 

Watch Adam Kramer break down what this commitment means to the Florida Gators. 

 

Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital

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Jamal Adams to LSU: Tigers Land 5-Star Safety Prospect

Five-star safety prospect Jamal Adams has committed to LSU, according to ESPN's Jeremy Crabtree:

The 6’0”, 185-pound Texas native has been recruited by what feels like every major program in the nation (19 total schools had interest in the prospect, via 247Sports.com), but the attention the young man received proves most universities feel Adams could develop into a viable starter at the college level.

Adams is ranked as the No. 27 overall recruit and No. 2 safety in the 2014 class by 247Sports.com, and most believe the prospect could develop into a top-tier defensive back.

There are a few elite secondary players left on the 247Sports recruiting board, but Adams is a special talent with huge upside.

With 178 tackles and nine interceptions in his three high school seasons coming into his senior year, it’s clear that the developing prospect is the kind of dual-threat safety that can stop the run and defend the pass at the next level.

In the proper facilities of a major college campus, Adams will be able to put weight on his frame to help him adjust to the bigger competition. That doesn’t mean he won’t be starting the season with the first team defensive unit wherever he lands, though.

Adams was named second-team All-American by 247Sports, and the accolade comes with high expectations for his freshman season.

Landing Adams is a huge coup for his new school, and the fans could see the safety prospect making an impact on the field as soon as next season.

 

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What 5-Star Safety Jamal Adams Means to LSU Tigers

Jamal Adams committed to LSU at the Under Armour All-American game on Thursday. The 5-star safety has the skills to have an immediate impact on the field for the Tigers, who really needed help in the secondary.

Watch Barrett Sallee break down what Jamal Adams means to the LSU Tigers.

 

*Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital.

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Greatest Performances in BCS Championship History

With the final BCS Championship Game only days away, it’s time to take a stroll down memory lane.

Every year since 1998, college football’s two best teams have fought one another for the right to be crowned No. 1. Thirty teams have competed, but only 15 can call themselves BCS champions.

In that time period, we’ve seen plenty of memorable performances.

Join Bleacher Report as we take a look at some of the best that ever played in the game.

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Nebraska Football: What Gator Bowl Victory Means for Recruiting

Defeating Georgia in the Gator Bowl was more than just a moral victory for Nebraska. In fact, it may have just been what the Huskers needed on the recruiting front.

With National Signing Day only a little over a month away, head coach Bo Pelini is in the home stretch of securing his 2014 recruiting class.

The difference between this year and last is that the Huskers have a bowl game win to boast. That was something that couldn't be said in 2013.

In fact, losing 45-31 to the Bulldogs in last year's Capital One Bowl likely hurt Nebraska more than anything. It didn't help that the Huskers also gave up 589 yards during that game.

What a difference a year can make.

The 2013 regular season wasn't exactly a perfect one for Nebraska, though. The Huskers recorded more losses than countless pre-season predictions had suggested. By the end, Nebraska had lost to UCLA, Minnesota, Michigan State and Iowa.

The losses to the Golden Gophers and Hawkeyes especially stung.

Beyond that, the Huskers had plenty of off-the-field drama to deal with. From Pelini's leaked audio tape, to a tumultuous day against Iowa (both on the field and off), Nebraska provided potential recruits with plenty of reasons to choose another program.

Despite it all, plenty of recruits hung in there. A few even publicly supported Pelini, including defensive tackle Terrell Clinkscales.

"Man, Coach Bo is going to fight to the death for his team,” Clinkscales told the Omaha World Herald. “He doesn’t take any BS."

With the support on his side, Pelini needed the bowl game win.

While recruits don't make an entire decision based on the outcome of a bowl game, it can definitely help those on the fence.

That's why Nebraska's 24-19 Gator Bowl victory is just what Pelini needed.

The Husker coaching staff plans to hit the recruiting trail hard once again come January 15th. Those final days have always been key for Pelini.

In fact, as reported by the Lincoln Journal Star, every Pelini class (with the exception of 2009) has added three recruits in the final two weeks.

The 2014 class currently has 19 commits. Pelini hopes to make that 25 when it's all said and done. According to the Omaha World Herald, cornerback Byerson Cockrell and defensive end Joe Keels could count toward the 2013 class if need be.

That means Pelini is still on the hunt for up to eight additional recruits.

If history proves anything, it's possible he'll secure those spots in January.

As the Lincoln Journal Star’s Brian Christopherson noted, a dozen of Nebraska’s 26 recruits in 2013 committed after the Huskers lost to Georgia in the Capital One Bowl.

If Nebraska was able to secure 12 recruits after a loss, a win should make things a little bit easier.

There's still a long road ahead for Pelini on the recruiting front. However, the Gator Bowl victory definitely doesn't hurt things.

Instead, it makes the 2014 recruiting more promising than ever.

 

For information and updates on Nebraska's 2014 recruiting class, click here.

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Travis Rudolph to Florida State: Seminoles Land 4-Star WR Prospect

Former University of Miami commit Travis Rudolph has decided to play his football at Florida State. 

Corey Clark of the Tallahassee Democrat has news of the West Palm Beach, Fla., native's decision to join the Seminoles:

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Rudolph, who decommitted from Al Golden and the Hurricanes back in March, is ranked 69th overall in the class of 2014, as well as the No. 7 wide receiver and No. 10 prospect out of the state of Florida. 

He had other offers from around the nation, including Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State and a slew of other collegiate powerhouses. 

Rudolph, once regarded as a 3-star recruit, skyrocketed most ranking systems after an electric senior season. 

Leading Cardinal Newman to an 8-4 record and their first district title since 2004, Rudolph pulled down 63 receptions for 1,237 yards and 15 touchdowns, per the Palm Beach Post's Anthony Chiang

For his efforts, he was selected to the Under Armour All-American game, invited to The Opening and named the Lou Groza Awards High School Player of the Year, which is given to the top player from Palm Beach County, via Chiang:

Rudolph's speed isn't overwhelming (he runs a 4.52 40, per 247Sports), but he does everything well. 

He has strong hands, runs crisp, precise routes and has the ability to rack up yards after the catch. As ESPN's scouting report put it (subscription needed), Rudolph is "a very good candidate as a spread slot who has the speed to break contain on jet sweeps off motion."

The 6'1", 185-pound Rudolph still has room for improvement. But after a record-breaking, scintillating senior season in which he took major strides forward, there's very little question that he can make an immediate impact at the next level. 

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What 4-Star WR Travis Rudolph Means to Florida State Seminoles

Travis Rudolph has committed to Florida State at the Under Armour All-America Game. Look for the 4-star WR to add to the depth on the Seminoles offense and become another weapon for QB Jameis Winston. 

Watch Barrett Sallee break down what this commitment means to the Florida State Seminoles. 

 

Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital

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DeVante Parker Passes Up 2014 NFL Draft to Return to Louisville

It's not all bad, Louisville fans. Although Teddy Bridgewater is off to the NFL, at least DeVante Parker will be a Cardinals player for one more season.

The junior receiver announced on Twitter that he's staying in school and passing up the 2014 NFL draft.

Parker isn't projected to be a top pick like Bridgewater, but after his fantastic Russell Athletic Bowl performance, some wondered if he'd be following his teammate to the pros.

Riding such a wave of momentum, you couldn't have faulted Parker if he wanted to strike while the iron is hot. But he has decided that another year in college will be more beneficial, and it's hard to argue with the choice.   

In his most recent mock draft, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller had Parker off the board with the next-to-last pick in the second round. It's a solid grade, but one that could be improved with more seasoning.

Adam Himmelsbach of the Louisville Courier-Journal reported in December that Parker was firm in his intention to only enter the draft under the right circumstances. “If they’re not projecting him near the first round,” Parker's grandfather Willie said, “he’s definitely going to be back for his senior year.”

Of course, this isn't all about Parker's draft stock, as Louisville is getting back one of its best vertical weapons.

Himmelsbach is already looking ahead to the 2014 season. With redshirt freshman Will Gardner in line to take over for Bridgewater next year, Himmelsbach posited that Parker will be the perfect target for a young QB.

Eric Crawford of WDRB in Louisville speculated that the junior wideout coming back is a good indication that Charlie Strong will be back as well.

Between Parker's decision to stay and Strong possibly doing the same, 2014 looks like it will be another big year for the Cardinals. 

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Speedy Noil to Texas A&M: Aggies Land 5-Star WR Prospect

Devante "Speedy" Noil has spent his high school career blowing by defenders. He will now take that skill to Texas A&M.

Noil made the announcement at the Under Armour All-American game:

The Class of 2014 standout spent most of his career at quarterback, where he was able to star at Edna Karr High School in New Orleans. In 2012, he totaled 2,235 passing yards and 1,345 rushing yards as he showed off his dual-threat ability.   

Most impressively, he scored 47 touchdowns in his junior year: 24 passing, 20 rushing and three receiving.

At the next level, the 5'10.5", 176-pound player will likely play wide receiver.

While he does not have elite size for the position, Noil more than makes up for it with his speed and elusiveness. When he is given room to run, he usually has the quickness and agility to take it all the way to the end zone.

His overall ability makes him the 11th-best overall prospect in 2014 and the No. 1 wideout recruit in the nation, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.

Noil was also named a Second-Team All-American by 247Sports after his impressive 2012 season.

Speedy will be very raw as a receiver in his first couple of years with his new school and will have to work out his route-running. However, he is the type of playmaker that can make things happen when the ball is in his hands.

In all likelihood, the Aggies will be aggressive in trying to find ways to get him involved in the offense or even special teams early in his career.

The New Orleans native had a chance to go almost anywhere in the country after receiving dozens of scholarship offers. However, he ended up making a lot of people happy by selecting Texas A&M as his school for the next few years.

 

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What No. 1 WR Speedy Noil Means to Texas A&M Aggies

Speedy Noil has committed to Texas A&M at the Under Armour All-America Game, according to ESPN.com's Derek Tyson. Noil is the No. 1 WR in the country and has the skills to make a huge impact on the Aggies offense. 

Watch Barrett Sallee break down what this commitment means to the Texas A&M Aggies. 

 

Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital.

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BCS Bowl Predictions: Picks Against the Spread for Each Remaining BCS Tilt

College football's bowl season is nearly over, but there are still a few huge games remaining. In fact, there are three BCS bowls left to be played, and all of them bring a great deal of intrigue for plenty of different reasons.

One group that is sure to be interested in the BCS bowls is the betting public. Betting on college football is huge throughout the year, but it is an even bigger deal when it comes to bowl games. Even if fans aren't enthralled by the remaining BCS matchups, the betting aspect can certainly make them interesting.

Here are predictions for each of the three remaining BCS bowl games against the spread as bettors look to close out the season on a strong note.

*Spreads courtesy of Bovada

 

Oklahoma vs. Alabama (-17) (Sugar Bowl)

In what could be one of the most lopsided bowl matchups in recent memory, Alabama will take on Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. The Sooners are normally a national power, and they have lost just twice this season, but they simply don't compare to the Crimson Tide from a talent perspective. Oklahoma has gotten to this point with grit and determination as well as a masterful coaching job by Bob Stoops, while 'Bama has outclassed its opponents with the notable exception of Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

It's certainly possible that motivation will come into play. Although it's an intangible factor, it may allow Oklahoma to hang with Alabama. This game is huge for the Sooners, since they scratched and clawed to get there, but it is basically a consolation prize for the Tide. With that said, Alabama has a long history of success in the Sugar Bowl, according to College GameDay, and it may be motivated to defend that.

As long as Alabama doesn't sleep walk into the game, it should roll. The Sooners can't decide between Blake Bell and Trevor Knight at quarterback, but the Tide's defense should hold either in check. Also, this will be Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron's final collegiate game, and the same can be said for linebacker C.J. Mosley. Players on both sides of the ball will want to learn for their respective leaders, and head coach Nick Saban won't let his team take a lax approach.

Prediction: Alabama 38, Oklahoma 10

 

Clemson vs. Ohio State (-3) (Orange Bowl)

Both Clemson and Ohio State disappointed in certain ways this season, but it can be argued that their clash in the Orange Bowl will be the most entertaining BCS showdown of all. The Tigers and Buckeyes are stacked with offensive talent, and each team tends to suffer from defensive breakdowns at times, which points toward a high-scoring affair. The Buckeyes boast the No. 3 scoring offense in college football thanks to quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde, while Clemson isn't far behind.

Inconsistency plagued the Tigers on both sides of the ball this season, but they dropped 38 or more points in a game eight times, so the points come in bunches. From Clemson's perspective, the focus will be on the combination of quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins. This game is particularly important for Boyd, since it is definitely his last game as a Tiger, and he needs a big showing to impress NFL scouts. According to Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated, pundits are so down on Boyd that he has become an underrated prospect.

Boyd was once considered to be a first-round lock, but that is no longer the case. Because of that, he should be motivated to have a big game. In the same vein, that pressure could adversely influence Clemson. Dabo Swinney's squad has a reputation for coming up small when expectations are highest, but that has never been said about an Urban Meyer-coached team. Because of that, look for the Buckeyes to come through with some offensive fireworks.

Prediction: Ohio State: 48, Clemson 31

 

Florida State (-8) vs. Auburn (National Championship)

Everything will be riding on the National Championship Game between Florida State and Auburn on Jan. 6, and that includes the fortunes of bettors everywhere. The Seminoles vs. Tigers contest figures to be one of the most bet-on sporting events in recent memory, and it should be quite interesting due to the controversial point spread that is currently in place. Florida State has undoubtedly been dominant, but giving eight points to the SEC champion may be a bit much.

The big concern as it relates to Auburn is its ability to come from behind. The Tigers are the No. 1 rushing team in the nation at nearly 336 yards per game, so they are built to play from ahead. The Seminoles have barely trailed this year, though, and they obviously don't intend to in the title game. Nevertheless, according to Brad Edwards of ESPN.com, Auburn may be able to take advantage of vulnerability on Florida State's defense.

Florida State is No. 1 in both points scored and points allowed, but Edwards believes it can be run on. The Seminoles' adjusted efficiency ranking against the run is No. 19 in the nation. That takes into account the quality of the rushing attacks they have faced. For comparison's sake, Alabama is No. 3, and it let Auburn run rampant.

On top of that, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has been amazed by his team's continued improvement, per Joel A. Erickson of AL.com.

"This group has really, each game, improved. It is hard to improve each game, especially in college football, but our guys have done it, and that's a tribute to them," Malzahn said.

Florida State's dominance can't be understated, especially with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston under center. Thanks to the running of Tre Mason and Nick Marshall, Auburn will keep this one close enough to cover, but Florida State will still survive and complete an undefeated season.

Prediction: Florida State 31, Auburn 28

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

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Orange Bowl 2013: Key Players Who Will Carry Teams in Exciting Showdown

College football fans looking for another offensive showdown similar to the Fiesta Bowl between Baylor and UCF, look no further than the Orange Bowl. When the Ohio State Buckeyes and Clemson Tigers meet on Friday night at 8:30 p.m. EST, it will pit two of the best offensive teams this season against one another.

The Buckeyes and Tigers have made names for themselves but in completely different fashions.

For Ohio State, pounding the ball with the No. 3 rushing offense in the country had it one game away from the BCS National Championship.

Clemson, on the other hand, is averaging 329.3 passing yards per game and finished 11th in the country through the air along with averaging the ninth-most points on the year.

With both teams set to take the stage on Friday night, here are the players to watch in the Orange Bowl for both sides.

 

Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins, QB and WR, Clemson

One of the best tandems in college football, Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins have carried the Tigers all season during their third straight 10-win season. Simply put, when Boyd goes down field, Watkins is normally the one coming away with a memorable catch.

During his final practice in a Clemson uniform, Boyd spoke about his time and how he and Watkins have turned around the culture during their tenure:

Boyd's career at Clemson has been one thing, but the senior has enjoyed another great season this year. The senior needs just 27 yards passing for his third straight season with over 3,500 and needs one more touchdown for his third season with 30 passing touchdowns.

Though his last game against South Carolina was one of the worst of his career, the four games prior to that were outstanding. Boyd put together a four-game stretch in which he averaged 327.25 passing yards per game and had a total of 16 total touchdowns (13 passing, three rushing) and three interceptions.

One statistic to remember with Boyd: When he throws two interceptions in a game this season, his team has gone 1-2. During games in which he's thrown one interception or less, the Tigers have gone 9-0.

As for his favorite target, Watkins has certainly lived up to the hype he was given before the season started. The junior receiver finished the regular season with 85 receptions for 1,237 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The junior has also been outstanding after the catch. In yards after the catch, Watkins leads all other automatic qualifying schools with 836, according to ESPN's Sharon Katz. On the other side is an Ohio State defense that is allowing 144 yards after the catch per game.

Considering the fact that the two are facing off with an Ohio State defense that has been atrocious against the pass, this will definitely be a tandem to watch. The Buckeyes rank 103rd in the country in passing yards allowed (259.5) and just lost to the Michigan State Spartans after sophomore quarterback Connor Cook threw for 304 yards in the Big Ten Championship Game.

ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, a former Buckeye football player, made things pretty clear when he was asked about who would contain Watkins and teammate Martavis Bryant:

Watkins has been one of the most dynamic receivers in college football this season and will look to finish off what could be his final season with Clemson with a huge game in the Orange Bowl.

 

Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde, QB and RB, Ohio State

When talking about tremendous tandems in college football this season, Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde are near the top of the list. While Nick Marshall and Tre Mason might be more in the spotlight currently, Miller and Hyde have carried—literally and figuratively—the Buckeyes to the Orange Bowl.

In fact, Bill Bender of Sporting News added the statistics of both tandems, and the two appear to be closer than many might think:

Miller, much like Boyd, can get the job done with both his arms and leg, but Miller is much more effective in the ground game while Boyd is better through the air.

The junior quarterback hasn't decided whether or not he'll be back for another season, according to SportsCenter's official Twitter account:

As for his pro prospects, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that he will be watched by a certain executive that just so happens to own the No. 1 draft pick:

Miller has rushed for over 1,000 yards and passed for over 1,800 yards with a total of 32 touchdowns this season, but he fell well short of expectations early in the season to be a Heisman finalist. If it is his last game as a Buckeye, Miller will be looking to go out on top against a porous rushing defense.

This is where Carlos Hyde comes in. The senior tailback has burst onto the scene after being suspended for the first three games of the season. The senior got off to a slow start in his first two games back but has been the Buckeyes' catalyst over their last eight games.

The senior has not dropped below 110 yards in his final eight games and has 14 touchdowns during that stretch thanks to five multi-touchdown games.

With the Buckeyes' rushing tandem facing a Tigers defense that ranks 50th in the country with 152.6 yards allowed per game, there should be plenty of carries to go around for both Miller and Hyde. In a game with two explosive offenses, either defense's ability to stop the other team's offense will be crucial.

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