In what will be the best bowl game day to day, this slate of game features two of the deepest defenses in the country when it comes to NFL talent in Clemson and Miami (FL) and two less talented Florida teams in South Florida and Central Florida that could surprise in their bowl games against much more talented teams.
And we'll get to see the coveted Notre Dame vs. Miami (FL) game, previously titled the "Catholics vs. Convicts" game. A few good match-ups here, and as we've noticed from bowl games this year and in the past, it's rare that an obviously more talented team automatically wins.
South Florida Bulls vs. Clemson Tigers - Meineke Car Care Bowl
Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson (JR)
An elite talent both size-wise and athletic ability-wise, Bowers had the production to go with his god-given skills. Bowers is a perfect fit for a 4-3 defense and has the athletic talent to be an All-Pro type of talent. A hard working kid off the field as well, he should be a Top 5 pick in the NFL Draft and a major factor in this game.
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DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson
McDaniel hasn't been as consistent this year as he would have liked, but McDaniel has a great athletic build and moves well as a center fielder at free safety. He's an elite talent who can make plays in the run and pass game, and he still is a fringe 1st round prospect.
Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson
Jenkins could have come out last year and been a mid-round pick, but came back this season and really benefited from both another year to develop as well as play on the same line as the nation's best pass rusher. Jenkins moves well for a defensive tackle and should be a great fit for a 3-4 pass rushing team or a 3-technique in a Cover 2 4-3.
Jamie Harper, RB, Clemson (JR)
He started out the season as back-up, but quickly emerged as the focal rotational back for this offense and has been very impressive with great deep speed and shiftiness in the hole and on the outside. Harper could very well declare early for the draft, but either way, he should be a hassle for this South Florida defense.
Terrell McClain, DT, South Florida
McClain hasn't been overly impressive this year, but that's to be expected with some undersized defensive ends and linebackers on this roster. He has subject to almost consistent double teams, but his ability to stay aggressive for the most part should give him a chance at the next level to be a starter.
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Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Miami Hurricanes - Sun Bowl
Allen Bailey, DE, Miami (FL)
One of the more physical defensive ends in the country, Bailey has the athletic ability, lateral quickness, and open field comfort-ability to play both in space as well as with his hand in the ground. Bailey should be a headache for the Notre Dame offensive line that lacks great talent, and a great game here could give him some extra attention before the draft season.
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame (JR)
One of the more consistent bright spots on this Notre Dame offense, Floyd has the size, ball grabbing skills, and fluidness in the open field to be an elite receiver at the next level with additional coaching. He needs to improve his routes and be better across the middle, but he has the tools to be an NFL starter and should test this Miami NFL-talented secondary.
Brandon Harris, CB, Miami (FL)
Harris has average size for a cornerback moving to the next level, but his ability to stay on the inside pocket of the receiver and make plays with the ball in the air could separate him to the early rounds in the draft. He has the speed and hips to make it, but needs to show he can be more physical at the line and he can cover across the field in crossing routes.
Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami (FL)
Has been somewhat of a surprise for this very talented Hurricanes receiving corps, Hankerson emerged as the team's go to option in the middle to deep routes, and has really improved his route running and hands this year. With good workouts he could go as high as the bottom of the first round, but either way, he should be the top target for his team in this one.
Orlando Franklin, OG, Miami (FL)
Franklin shifted out to tackle this year, and has done a great job protecting the quarterbacks all season long and showing that he can slide laterally very well, enough to be considered as a possible Brandon Albert-like talent. However, I still think his best fit is as a dominating guard, and he'll get a chance to show his run blocking power as his team tries to control the game.
Sean Spence, ILB, Miami (FL) (JR)
An undersized linebacker who has played both inside and outside in his career, Sean Spence is, as usual for an undersized linebacker, has been very impressive in coverage at times for his position and has the quickness to be a very rangy linebacker. He could move to strong safety in some systems, but his best fit would be for a Cover 2 defense, as he can be a linebacker in the NFL with a little more bulk.
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Central Florida Knights - Liberty Bowl
AJ Green, WR, Georgia (JR)
One of the top two or three receivers in the country no matter who you ask, AJ Green has the size, speed combination that reminds me and probably many others of a Randy Moss type talent. Green has been one of the few bright spots on this young Georgia offense, and his ability to win battles in the air and his ability to get open by himself, he could go as high as the Top 3 in the draft.
Bruce Miller, DE, Central Florida
Central Florida's defense was able to really frustrate C-USA defenses, and a lot of that credit has to go to Bruce Miller, as his ability to generate pressure with some consistency and his athleticism on the outside against the run both helped UCF get to a better bowl and helped himself in his dream of playing in the NFL.
Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia (JR)
Boykin will need to bulk up for the NFL and improve his technique at times, but Boykin has been a fairly reliable cornerback for this pretty young defense. Boykin would do well if he stayed another year in college because he can get stronger as well as become more consistent.
Ben Jones, C, Georgia (JR)
One of the most talented interior lineman in the country, Jones likely won't declare for the draft because of his position, but could eventually be a relatively high pick for his position if he can be more consistent and stay healthy.
South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Florida State Seminoles - Chick fil-A Bowl
Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State
Almost unquestioned as the best true guard in this draft class, Hudson came into the season with high expectations and for the most part lived up to them. He's got the size to be a load to get past in the NFL, but where he's most impressive is on the move and resetting his body to have good balance. He isn't an elite guard prospect and may fall out of the 1st round, but he likely will be a starter for a long time in the NFL.
Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
Ponder has been battling injuries to his elbow all season long, and because of that has been erratic at times. Still, based on last year's film and the accuracy he's showed when healthy this year, I still think Ponder has a chance to be a solid NFL quarterback. He'll have a tough final test against South Carolina, but this may be perfect for him to showcase his skills at 100 percent.
Jarriel King, OG, South Carolina
A big bodied left tackle for this South Carolina team at 6'5, 324, he'll likely need to transition inside to guard or at right tackle for a power running team at the next level. He has been inconsistent at times this year and isn't a left tackle for the future because of his slowish feet, but in the guard-type blocks he's had to do this year, he's been impressive.
Markus White, DE, Florida State
White has become a leader for this inexperienced defense and has put up some impressive numbers to go with it. However, speaking of numbers, White's measurables combined with his skill set could make him a perfect fit for the 3-4 defense at the NFL level, and he'll get a chance to show that pass rushing skill in this one.