Alabama-Auburn is the marquee game of the weekend. One player in that game has a possible Heisman Trophy at stake, while another could play the leading role in altering the BCS landscape. Those two players are featured in my 5 To Watch for this weekend's slate of college football games.
Fresno State QB Derek Carr vs. San Jose State
Carr has put together a remarkable senior campaign. The Fresno State signal-caller currently leads the nation with 39 touchdowns and he's only thrown four interceptions. Fresno State (10-0) is currently ranked 16th in the country and Carr deserves the majority of the credit. He should have another huge game on Friday night, when the Bulldogs make the short trip to take on San Jose State. NFL scouts will be locked in on this game to see how both Carr and San Jose State quarterback David Fales perform. (UPDATE: Fales outduels Carr in San Jose State's 62-52 win over Fresno State.)
Alabama QB AJ McCarron vs. Auburn
If McCarron plays well against No. 4 Auburn on Saturday, he could take the lead in the race for the Heisman Trophy. He's put up solid numbers this fall, completing 68.6 percent of his passes and tossing 23 touchdowns and only five interceptions. The Tigers will more than likely sell out to slow down the 'Bama rushing attack and that would set up McCarron to have a monster game.
Auburn RB Tre Mason vs. Alabama
Auburn is very one-dimensional on offense. The Tigers love to run the football and Mason has been instrumental in their success on the ground. He's racked up 1,153 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns this season. He's eclipsed the 100-yard mark in five of Auburn's last six contests. He runs very hard and he is elusive when he gets into space. He'll need to put up big numbers in order for the Tigers to pull off the upset.
Florida State DT Timmy Jernigan vs. Florida
The high-flying offense usually garners all of the attention in Tallahassee, but the defense is full of playmakers too. Jernigan is a dynamic interior defender and he's been very productive this fall. He's recorded 43 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He uses his quickness to penetrate and disrupt versus both the run and the pass. Florida's offensive line is very average and Jernigan should have a field day in this rivalry game.
Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard vs. Minnesota
Dennard is one of the top cornerbacks in the country. He has an ideal combination of speed, toughness and instincts. He's notched 47 tackles this season and he's also picked off four passes. He does an excellent job of playing the ball down the field and he's also a very reliable tackler in run support. His ability to lock down his man allows the Spartans' front to play very aggressive.