College Football Predictions: 10 Players Who Must Step Up This Weekend
College football is barreling towards the finish line, and teams are looking for bragging rights and conference titles. Every player on this list is primarily concerned with his team's goals, but their performances will also carry individual repercussions.
The Heisman Trophy race is wide open with at least four viable candidates, as Andrew Luck is no longer the prohibitive favorite he was just a few weeks ago.
Moreover, Luck also might not be a lock for the first overall draft selection next April. Plenty of whispers have begun to surface about Matt Barkley being the better quarterback.
The only thing certain is that few games remain to make an impression.
Tyler Wilson Can Make a National Name for Himself
The Arkansas Razorbacks have their destiny in their hands when they face off against the LSU Tigers. As the world knows, a trip to the SEC Championship game and a BCS title game await the victor.
A more focused view of the game illuminates the opportunity that Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson has. His season has been a little above average, but he does carry ratio of 21 touchdowns to five interceptions.
If Arkansas is going to win, it will require a breakout game from its quarterback. The Razorbacks offense launched Ryan Mallet's pro career, and Friday's game could be the springboard towards a huge senior season for Wilson.
Jerel Worthy Has a Lot of Draft Position at Stake
The Michigan State Spartans have nothing at stake when they take on the Northwestern Wildcats. MSU has already locked up the Legends Division and awaits the winner of the matchup between the Wisconsin Badgers and Penn State Nittany Lions.
Jerel Worthy began the season with a lot of hype but hasn't quite lived up to it. His season has been decent, but his draft stock has steadily slipped from top 10 to out of the first round.
This is no time to rest on his laurels. Unless Worthy plans on coming back for his senior year, the time to make a move is now.
A Texas Longhorns Quarterback Needs to Separate Himself
The Texas Longhorns have been looking for a quarterback ever since Colt McCoy left town. One candidate has been his brother, Case McCoy, but he is currently listed as a co-starter with David Ash.
Texas needs to find a quarterback for next year. Incoming freshman Connor Brewer is highly rated but will lack experience. If the Longhorns are going to rebound next year, he or McCoy needs to solidify the position.
Otherwise, Longhorns Nation should prepare for another subpar season in 2012.
Case Keenum Needs to Add Some Legitimacy to His Season
The Houston Cougars have aspirations of reaching a BCS bowl game. If the Cougars can win the next game and the conference championship, Houston will be assured of a great payday.
Case Keenum is not guaranteed the same treatment. However, with the Heisman race a toss-up, he stands a chance of bringing it back to Houston for the first time since Andre Ware.
The reason this game is so important is because Houston is only favored by three points in their next game at Tulsa. That means that Vegas believes the two teams are even, so it's a chance for the Cougars to prove themselves against respected competition.
Taylor Martinez Desperately Needs the Nebraska Cornhuskers to Believe in Him
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are no longer eligible for a BCS bowl. But the Huskers final game against the Iowa Hawkeyes is important relative to bowl positioning.
On a singular level, quarterback Taylor Martinez needs to make a statement to the team for next year. His lackluster play has doomed the squad in two of their three losses.
His status as the starting quarterback is unquestioned, but it is important that the team believes in him going into next year.
Landry Jones Needs a Big Game to Get Back in the Heisman Race
The Oklahoma Sooners are out of the national championship picture and more than likely eliminated from Big 12 championship contention. However, the Sooners have the opportunity to thwart rival Oklahoma State from moving on to bigger things.
Landry Jones is often considered an afterthought for the Heisman Trophy, but there is still some time left. A big weekend could vault him right back into contention and set him up perfectly to make some noise against the Cowboys.
Andrew Luck Needs to Lock Up His Draft Spot
Andrew Luck had the top draft spot locked up over a year ago, but that consensus is starting to erode.
There have been rumblings that USC Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley is overtaking the Stanford Cardinal signal-caller. Luck has not played well in the last few weeks and lost his grasp on the Heisman Trophy as well.
Stanford will have the nation's attention when it takes on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. It's time for Luck to lock up that No. 1 spot.
Alshon Jeffery Has a Chance at the NFL Draft's Top 5
Alshon Jeffery has had a solid season considering the upheaval surrounding the South Carolina Gamecocks. South Caroline was forced to dismiss its starting quarterback halfway into the season.
Jeffery only has six touchdown catches, but scouts are not going to hold that against him. He's 6'4" and 229 pounds, so he has the size that NFL scouts and coaches love.
His ability to go up and grab a jump ball is a huge asset, but he needs to cement his status as the top wide receiver in the draft.
Fitzgerald Toussaint Has a Chance to Be the Man in Ann Arbor
The Michigan Wolverines and offensive coordinator Al Borges have declared all season how they would prefer to have a workhorse running back. It took most of the season, but Fitzgerald Toussaint has finally set himself apart.
"Fitz" needs to continue to make a statement to have a firm grasp on the spot going into spring ball. A big game against Ohio State is the quickest way to endear himself to the Big Blue faithful.
Trent Richardson Still Has a Chance to Bring Home the Heisman
The Alabama Crimson Tide probably have a BCS title game spot locked up. Some voters may have trouble voting in a team that doesn't win its conference, but no other team has proven worthy.
Running back Trent Richardson took a step back in the Heisman race when he failed to get into the end zone against the LSU Tigers. However, nobody else has elevated himself over the rest of the pack, and an opportunity is still available to make an impression.
There is no time to waste. Richardson must have a big week and score multiple times to have a shot at overtaking one of the nation's best quarterbacks.