We've got Mel!
We have some huge games in college football this week. On to the questions.
How much heat will Les Miles take from fans and the media for a down year when in fact Ryan Perriloux and the departed Bo Pelini have also been huge factors in the Tigers' underperforming?
I don't think, when you're coming off of a national championship season, there's not a lot of heat you can take. You're right, they had those losses, plus Hester, Dorsey, Chevis Jackson. One of the key losses on defense was Craig Steltz. That was huge to that defense. Even some NFL people have told me what Steltz meant to that defense. Then to have Perriloux, who you were counting on, gone, that was a tough blow. They're 7-3. Now we'll see how they finish off. Ole Miss will be tough this week and Arkansas is a tricky game. More than likely, they'll probably split those two to go 8-4. That's not terrible, but it's not LSU-like. I don't think he's feeling any heat. Realistic fans and knowledgable fans know that they were going to have a tough time. But it's not like they went 6-6 or 5-7. They have a shot at 9-3.
Mel, what are your thoughts on Gholston? Can he still be a big time playmaker?
He's a rookie. The disappointing thing with Gholston is that he played a position at 3-4 OLB, normally that's an easy transition to make. That's why it's really disappointing that he's had so many struggles. That's what disappoints me a surprises me. Keep in mind, this defense allowed Calvin Pace to really come on. You hold out hope that Gholston can come on next year. The red flag is why, as a rookie, coming in as an OLB, when others have come in and he has struggled.
That would be like a RB coming in and playing shaky. A RB coming in and playing poorly right away is a red flag. Look at Kevin Smith in Detroit. He's done a real nice job.
Where does Shonn Greene (Iowa) place among draft eligible RB's?
Right now, you would have to say 4-5 highest draft eligible RBs. Moreno, Wells, McCoy, Ringer, Greene, Brown. A RB from the senior class who's had a nice year is Peerman.
Who are you taking....Texas Tech or OU, and what is your predicted final score?
I think this is going to be a tremendously entertaining game. The last five games against similar competition, OU has given up an average of 33.4 points per game. That's not good. They've had some injuries. TT on the other hand has given up 26. That's a TD difference. TT can run the ball. They have multi dimensional players at WR. OU uses the TE, TT doesn't. TT's OL is oustanding, OU's is outstanding. They both have Heisman Trophy candidates. Both of these offenses should be putting up big big numbers. The big edge is that the game is in Norman. TT has only played four road games this year. This is their first big road test of the year.
Nebraska has to be feeling pretty good right now. They're 7-4. They have a shot to be 8-4, with one of those losses an OT setback to TT. OU killed Nebraska. I think it may come down to the last 2-3 minutes and which team has possession of the football last. That could be the team that wins this football game.
What are your thoughts on the Univ. of Texas naming Will Muschamp the "coach in waiting" to take over Mack Brown's job once he retires?
I think they realized they have an outstanding football guy in Muschamp. Knowing that if they don't do something with him, his name is coming up with all of the jobs out there. He would have been a candidate for some job. Also, look at all of the assistant coaches Oklahoma has lost over the years. They realize they have a great man there. Instead of losing him as a head coach somewhere else, they made him the successor to Mack Brown. They felt he's perfect for Texas. He's done a great job. This defense has done great, with a young secondary. Even with Orakpo hurt, they've still done a real good job.
Who has the bigger game, Harrell or Bradford?
When you're talking about a shootout, both of these QBs should be able to have hot hands. I gave the numbers, these defenses have at times struggled a bit. Based on that, I would say Sam Bradford. He's facing a team that can score a lot of points. Bradford's defense hasn't played as well as Harrell's. He's at home. Every time the other team scores, he has to score. Basically, he needs to pick up the defense. TAMU, Nebraska, Kansas State, Kansas and Texas are the teams they've given up more than 30 points to.Three of those are mediocre teams. If you're Sam Bradford, you have to pick up your defense. Bradford has to have the time to throw.
What are your thought on the MSU-Penn State game Saturday? How can the Spartans pull the upset? Heavy dosage of Ringer, play action, and causing a few turnovers?
That's what MSU is going to give everybody. When you play them, they're going to give you a heavy dosage of Ringer. Look at where their losses occurred - Cal and OSU. They've taken care of teams that are down a little bit. They haven't had a true signature win, unless you say Iowa, Northwestern or Notre Dame. They were favored in all of those games. The two games that they were underdogs for, they lost. Now they're underdogs again. I think PSU has better personnel, better defense. One thing about PSU, remember Sean Lee is out for the year with a knee injury. They have a kid, Chris Baker, who's no longer with the team and is with Hampton this year. He was dismissed from PSU in late July. This year, he leads Hampton with 7 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. He has NFL eyes on him.
Has Northwestern finally leap frogged over Illinois as the top football program in the state?
I still think Illinois. Northwestern has a chance. They host Illinois this week. Illinois, this year, has had their share of struggles. They're 5-6 right now. Where they are now, to where they were last year, it's night and day. They went from a 6-2 last year in the Big Ten to 3-4 this year. Even though Northwestern has an 8-3 record, I still think Illinois. Illinois is a slight favorite. This game will tell us a lot and next year will tell us a lot where these teams are headed.
Are any of the MAC QBs legit pro prospects (specifically Davis, Willy, and LeFeveour)?
Yes. There are a number of them. The guy that's the top guy, by far, is Nate Davis at Ball State, a junior. He's my sixth highest rated QB right now. Also, Dan LeFevour. Also, Tim Hiller at Western Michigan, a junior. A very underrated kid, Drew Willy, a senior at Buffalo. He'll probably be a 6-7 round pick, but I think he has a chance to make a team and develop down the road.
Mel, got a meeting at 1 so I'll send this in early. Whats are your thoughts on BC's Raji and Brace? Also, do you think Kevin Akins will play in the NFL? Thanks.
Raji is an impact player. He's been outstanding lately. He's strong. Has the low center of gravity. Very determined. Dominated in the Notre Dame game. Brace is an early round possibility. Herzlich is another one to watch at OLB.
Hello Mel, how high can you see DE/DT Tyson Jackson from LSU going. The kid is 6-5 290lbs and I heard he could run in the 4.7s wow! He is a beast from what I can see. What do you think?
I think he'll end up going between somewhere 10-18 in the first round. He's very imposing. Ideal 3-4 DE. Takes on the double team. Showed improved pass rushing. Plays hard. Hard working kid. He could be a guy that you could move inside if you have a 4 man front. He has some versatility.
im a long time chargers fan. do you thik they will make the playoffs
It's going to be tough. Very, very tough. It's unbelievable where they are right now. Merriman's injury has hurt the team. His loss was really felt. They let so many games slip away. What really hurt them was that bad call in the Denver game. They lose to Carolina in the final play of the game and then next week on a call that should not have been made. Instead of being 4-6 right now, they could be 6-4. They are a team that's a little snakebit right now. They have a chance now. They're at home the next three weeks against Indy, Atlanta and Oakland. It's imperative that they win those three games. If they can get to 7-6, they finish with KC, Tampa, Denver. They have to make that last game against Denver count. If Denver finishes 3-3, they would be 9-7. If San Diego wins out, they would be 10-6.
There's no margin for error with San Diego right now. They have to win just about every game and hope that Denver goes 3-3.
If CJ Spiller of Clemson were to come out after his junior year, where do you see him going in the draft?
He's got speed and he had a big game against Duke. He's an excellent football player. He's had some injuries this year. James Davis is a senior and Spiller a junior. If he comes back, he's the featured guy next year. Next year, he will be the main entity. It's a tough call. If you don't care about a first round pick, then come out. But if it's important, then I think you go back.
Who do you think is the best QB in cfb and could he be a number one pick in the 09 draft?
Right now, it's Matthew Stafford. There are no seniors of consequence. Graham Harrell is the top senior QB. Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman. Those are your elite guys. Who's the best? I think it's either Stafford or Bradford with Sanchez right in there. Two different styles of QB. Bradford has a little Peyton Manning in him and Stafford is a little like Jay Cutler.
The problem with Bradford is that he's never touched. He doesn't have to step up in the pocket. He doesn't have to show any pocket awareness. He's in a very QB friendly offense. Plus, he's only a third-year sophomore.
I want a run stuffing DT. If Terrence Cody is off the board, what are my options?
I would say probably Peria Jerry, Fili Omala. And don't forget Raji from BC.
mel, harrell (tex tech) is tearing defenses up. what is holding him back from being a top 5 qb..he looks like he can make every throw???
He can make throws. He's 6-2 and only about 190 pounds. He doesn't have the great, great arm strength. The problem is that he's in a system that's never produced a good NFL QB. Cliff Klingsbury, BJ Symmons. None of those QBs were quality NFL prospects and never developed in the NFL. The history of QBs in Texas Tech, all of those things add up. He could be a third round pick and could interest some teams. I've said all along that he's the best of these era TT QBs. He could be the one.
How much NFL talent is there on Notre Dame's team. They have had good numbers in the recruiting rankings but still don't seem to have a lot of NFL talent. Are their recruiting rankings overrated to make headlines?
Not a lot, from the standpoint of seniors. Not having early round draft picks is a problem. You can always correlate high rankings with pro prospects. Alabama is a team that could have the No. 1 overall pick, Andre Smith, Terrance Cody. Every team has defined prospects. For Notre Dame, Maurice Crum, David Bruton, Pat Kuntz. Those are your main guys. There's nobody in the first couple of rounds.
You can make the point that the best prospect on this team is a true freshman - Michael Floyd. He's a WR. He's the one special player they have. Jimmy Claussen is a wait and see player.
Is is safe to say Percy Harvin leaving for the draft after this year? And if so, is he a first rounder?
Yes. I would say more than likely that he'll be moving on to the NFL and everyone expects that. He's a multi dimensional offensive player. He gets yard after the catch. You can use him in the backfield. He's explosive. He's an incredible athlete. He's a guy in that mid-to-late first round area, that someone will be looking at him. To me, he's a first round player.
Hey Mel -- Where do you see Derrick Williams in the draft? He's got big play potential.
Another kid with a lot of versatility. Good return game. He's played very well this year. I'd say he's probably, with the underclassmen, the 7-8 highest receiver. Probably a 2-3 round pick.
Mel, Is it also safe to say that Michael Crabtree will leave for the draft after this year? Top 5 pick?
Yes. Very safe to say. He's a guy that I think will be one of the top 2-3-4 players taken. Could be No. 1 overall. Larry Fitzgerald I had No. 1 overall. Crabtree is a Andre Johnson type of player. With the way the game has changed and the way it is now, you get a big, physical, tough WR with great hands. Very unselfish. He's a coach's dream.
Mel, Will injuries and not practicing on a regular basis hurt Beanie Wells in the draft?
First of all, we have to see what his decision is going to be. I don't think it will effect him dramatically. Go back to the LSU game, no one caught him from the back in that game. You can see what he's meant to this OSU offense, when he's in there. Completely different offense. I don't think the injury will hurt him that much. If he comes out, he's either the top RB or the second highest rated RB. His competition are all underclassmen. Moreno, McCoy are there. And I'm going to give you a very underrated junior RB. Very underrated. James Starks at Buffalo.
Naaman Roosevelt, junior WR, is also another underrated standout at Buffalo. Two guys to keep an eye on.
Mel, do you see any first rounders from Univ. of Michigan this year?
The guys to watch are Terrance Taylor, Will Johnson, Brandon Graham, Tim Jamison. And a lot of later round guys, Morgan Trent, Brandon Harrison, John Thompson. That's about it. The highest rated players are defensive linemen. No elite prospects.
With the 1st overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft the Detroit Lions select_________?
Certainly, with that team, QB. Who is the QB moving forward? They have Culpepper in there as a stop gap measure. The guy that's shown promise in the last month is Kevin Smith. He's had 27 receptions out of the backfield. He's quietly emerged. They have line areas they need to address. The main priority is getting the management team in. You can see that in Atlanta with Tom Dimitroff. When you look at the situation in Detroit is the big factor. You have to find the right man to be the GM and then you have to find the right coach.
Where does John Parker Wilson fit into the draft?
He's one of those guys that will get a look and have a chance to come to an NFL camp. But he's not a guy that you think will be a future starting QB. At best, I'd say a late rounder, undrafted free agent type.
Alright who you got in the BYU/Utah game? and what kind of potential does Austin Collie have as an NFL receiver? Who would you compare him to?
Collie is coming off of an outstanding game. Good route runner. Outstanding hands. To see Jordan Shipley doing a great job and Collie - 2 WRs doing excellent jobs this year. Collie has done a great job this past week. Collis is one of the top 6-10 WRs in the country.
It's been fun. This week will tell us what's going on in college football for the national championship. This week's games will be key elements in the evaluation process. We'll be back next week.