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Pac-12 prospects with most on the line in bowl games

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Prospects with most on line in bowl season: Top 10 overall | ACC | Pac-12 | SEC | Big Ten


The first bowl is Saturday, and to get you prepared for what seemingly will be a never-ending onslaught of games -- there are a record 38 bowls this season -- CFB 24/7 is taking an in-depth look at some of the top prospects in the postseason.

Today, we'll look at the 10 Pac-12 prospects with the most on the line in the postseason. There already has been a national look, but we'll include underclassmen in our conference-by-conference breakdowns.


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1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Bowl game: Rose Bowl vs. Florida State, Jan. 1
Analysis: Heisman curse? We'll see if it affects Mariota more than it did his opponent, last year's winner Jameis Winston. If he plays well in the semifinal and advances to the title game, scouts will continue to sing his praises and the possibility he receives a very high grade increases. Struggle against a talented Seminoles defense loaded with future pros and questions will continue to surface about his ability to translate to the next level.

2. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

Bowl game: Alamo Bowl vs. Kansas State, Jan. 2
Analysis: The redshirt junior has indicated this is his last season in Westwood, and he might be among the most divisive players scouts will look at over the coming months -- some scouts see star potential, others see a potential bust. His last performance was a clunker against a good Stanford defense, costing his team a trip to the Pac-12 title game, so pressure is on to prove he's making the right decision to come out with a good game against a solid Kansas State team.

3. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

Bowl game: Rose Bowl vs. Florida State, Jan. 1
Analysis: One of the most talked about senior corners, Ekpre-Olomu has played well down the stretch to help a resurgent defense get Oregon into the College Football Playoff. He's still a candidate to go on the first day, but covering the likes of Florida State's Rashad Greene -- one of the savviest receivers out there -- and potentially either Alabama's Amari Cooper or Ohio State's Devin Smith in the national championship game could prove he's got the tape to be a quality starter in the NFL.

4. Nate Orchard, DE, Utah

Bowl game: Las Vegas Bowl vs. Colorado State, Dec. 20
Analysis: This Utes pass rusher, who won the Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end, led the nation in sacks per game this season. It's uncertain how high he will go in the draft next spring. At 6-foot-4, 255 pounds, his tweener size doesn't help things, but a good performance against Ty Sambrailo could help him earn extra looks from scouts and make him more of a Day 2 pick.


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5. Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford

Bowl game: Foster Farms Bowl vs. Maryland, Dec. 30
Analysis: It's been a very disappointing season for Montgomery, who came into 2014 with aspirations of being a first-rounder. Injuries and quarterback issues have contributed to his drop in statistics, but a few weeks of rest and the ability to game plan could turn the bowl game into a showcase for Montgomery's potential at the next level.

Staying or going?

NFL.com's College Football 24/7 is tracking the college football underclassmen who intend to enter the 2015 NFL Draft. Underclassmen have until Jan. 15, 2015 to declare their intentions. SEE FULL LIST

6. Leonard Williams, DL, USC

Bowl game: Holiday Bowl vs. Nebraska, Dec. 27
Analysis: Williams has been on the radar of NFL scouts since he was dominating as a true freshman, and his versatility will one day make him a successful NFL player. He looks to close his season in style with big game against Nebraska -- a game in which he will be sharing the spotlight with another highly touted defensive lineman, Randy Gregory.

7. Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington

Bowl game: Cactus Bowl vs. Oklahoma State, Jan. 2
Analysis: Thompson split his time between running back and linebacker for the middle portion of the season, but he has mostly stayed on defense down the stretch -- though his numbers were not what they were like earlier in the year. A big finishing flourish against an offense like the Cowboys' could help prove Thompson is one of the best in the country at his position in the eyes of scouts.

8. Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

Bowl game: Sun Bowl vs. Duke, Dec. 27
Analysis: Strong had a breakout season for the Sun Devils and it could be argued he belonged in the conversation for the Biletnikoff Award. A concussion limited him in his final few games, so a big performance against the Blue Devils should help him return to form and show scouts he's in the conversation with West Virginia's Kevin White, Louisville's DeVante Parker and others behind Alabama's Amari Cooper in the wide receiver pecking order.


» 2014-15 college bowl schedule


9. Hau'oli Kikaha, LB, Washington

Bowl game: Cactus Bowl vs. Oklahoma State, Jan. 2
Analysis: Kikaha leads the nation in sacks, but the senior is still looking to reassure those in the NFL that he's more than just a pass-rushing specialist and can do more than play alongside some equally talented future NFL players like Thompson and Danny Shelton. Having a solid all-around game against the Cowboys could help show some things on film that he didn't the past few games.

10. Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon

Bowl game: Rose Bowl vs. Florida State, Jan. 1
Analysis: A report has surfaced that Armstead could be among the juniors looking to declare for the draft after bowl season wraps up. If that's the case, what better way to prove your worth to NFL front offices than a dominating performance against FSU's talented offensive line that features several future early draft picks?

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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