Coming into the final week of November, the teams were riding out what seemed to be a great end of the year run. Unfortunately, USC stumbled against their rival, UCLA, and Fresno State fell to San Jose State on Friday night, leading to crushed dreams of a BCS birth. We saw USC mail in their bowl last season, after similar regular season results, and Fresno State is motivated to win their first bowl in the Derek Carr era. While Fresno State has a better record and ranking, USC is favored by six, based on the talent the roster holds.
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State, #4
Our highest rated senior quarterback, Carr shows the same flashes throwing vertically that Matthew Stafford did his final season at Georgia. The jump from the Mountain West to the National Football League is large, but showing what he's got versus a very talented USC defense could show scouts that he's got translatable talent. Currently, we project him as a top five pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
(JR )Marqise Lee, WR, USC, (#9), 6'0”, 195
Coming into the season, Marqise Lee was the majorities' top rated eligible wide receiver prospect for the 2014 NFL Draft. While his season production hasn't matched up to his preseason grade, Lee is still a potential first round pick. Part of that might have to due with Robert Woods, the 41st pick in last year's NFL draft, not lining across from him in 2013. In our latest mock, we had him going in the top fifteen.
(rsSO) Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State, (#15), 6'2”, 216
Adams, a stealler redshirt sophomore, has flashed every time he's been on the field. Carr's go to target has some NFL buzz, too, and it's uncertain if he'll return to Fresno after the bowl. The tall and quick wide receiver has potential to sneak into the backend of the first round, and is surely a Day 2 lock at minimum. Contesting for high catches and proving the stength of his hands will be key against this USC defense. This very well could be his, and his quarterback's, last game in a red helmet.
(JR) Dion Bailey, SS, USC, (#18), 6'0”, 210
In a class seemingly lacking safety depth, Dion Bailey is one of the bright spots, if he chooses to declare for the NFL draft. Bailey plays a hybrid safety/linebacker role for the Trojans, but based on his size and ability in coverage, there's not a chance he plays anything but safety at the next level. If he does choose to declare, he could potentially be the second safety off the board after HaHa Clinton-Dix.
Other players to watch:
Devon Kennard, OLB, USC, (#42), 6'3”, 255
(JR)Hayes Pullard, ILB, USC (#10), 6'2, 225
Kevin Graf, OT, USC, (#77), 6'6”, 295
Marcel Jensen, TE, Fresno State, (#86), 6'6”, 270
Austin Wentworth, OT, Fresno State, (#72), 6'5”, 306