Ware to watch!!!! DE - BC JJ Arington - RB!!!!!!!!!!!! Riddle DE/LB Who to watch in today's college bowl game (Ed. note: Over the course of this year's bowl season we take a look at the players to watch in each game with an eye toward the 2005 draft). Thursday, December 30th Continental Tire Bowl; 1 PM ET; ESPN Boston College versus North Carolina Football fans can get warmed up for an intriguing weekend of college football with four games today. And, least for draft watchers, the game to see today could very well be the opener when Boston College takes on North Carolina in the Continental Tire Bowl, not because the two will be conference rivals next season when BC moves to the ACC, but because of the presence of a potential first pick overall at the upcoming draft. Indeed, in a year in which there doesn't appear to be a consensus #1 selection among this year's senior class, Boston College junior DE Mathias Kiwanuka (#94, 6-8, 255) is one of several top underclassmen with the potential to move into that spot; and if he's not the first player selected this year, assuming of course that he opts to turn pro this year, the 'Stork-like' Kiwanuka won't have to wait long to hear his name called on April 23rd after dominating Big East opposition as he posted 10 sacks and 19.5 total tackels for loss. Kiwanuka, though, is only one of several BC underclassmen pro scouts can't wait to get their hands on. Junior CB Will Blackmon (#1, 6-0, 200), who doubles as an outstanding kick returner, for example, could contest to be one of the first 4-5 CBs off the board were he to enter this year's draft, while hulking sophomore OT Jeremy Trueblood (#72, 6-8, 315) and athletic freshman LB Brian Toal (#16, 6-1, 223) are exciting future prospects. While the Eagles' top prospects are underclassmen, Boston College does feature some quality second-tier seniors including TE Dave Kashetta (#86, 6-4, 255), a rugged in-line blocker who has excellent hands but lacks real speed; WR Grant Adams (#5, 6-1, 200); DT Tim Bulman (#96, 6-4, 285); FS T.J. Stancil (#23, 6-1, 212); and CB Peter Shean (#19, 5-9, 180), although none is likely to be more than a mid-second day selection. The Eagles also get a break in the Continental Tire Bowl in that veteran QB Paul Peterson (#18, 6-0, 185) will be back in the lineup after missing several weeks with a hand injury. Meanwhile, North Carolina will ride athletic QB Darian Durant (#4, 5-11, 200) one more time when the Tar Heels tangle with Boston College. Durant, in fact, is one of the most underrated all-around QBs in college football, but at under 5-11 and with an accurate, but not overly strong arm, is not much more than a fringe draft prospect. Indeed, the Tar Heels best prospect for 2005 is veteran C Jason Brown (#72, 6-3, 330), a classic roadgrader type who reportedly has lost some weight which should increase his quickness in pass protection. On the other side of the ball, the UNC defense got a real boost with the addition of FS Gerald Sensabaugh, (#14, 6-2, 210), a big hitter who led the team in tackles after transferring from Division 1-AA East Tennessee State which gave up football. Other Tar Heels to watch include FB Madison Hedgecock (#44, 6-3, 260); versatile RBs Chad Scott (#6, 5-9, 195) and Jacque Lewis (#20, 5-10, 190); OT Willie McNeill (#76, 6-5, 295); TE Jon Hamlett (#86, 6-5, 255); and run-stuffing DT Jonas Seawright (#69, 6-5, 335). Emerald Bowl; 4:30 PM ET; ESPN2 New Mexico versus Navy At first glance, this appears to be one of those games one watches just for fun. And the Midhipmen, in particular, are one of the good stories in college football as Navy has rebounded from years of floundering at sea to win 17 games this past couple of years enroute to their second srtraight bowl game. And pro scouts will be paying more than just passing interest in Navy which hasn't sent many players to the league in recent years, however, leading the way for the Middies is bruising FB Kyle Eckel (#32, 5-11, 240), arguably the closest thing to a young Mike Alstott to come out of the college football ranks since, well Mike Alstott. There's a similar story for FS Josh Smith (#33, 6-2, 205), who would also star for just about any program in the country, while slotback Eric Roberts (#34, 5-10, 195) doesn't actually play an NFL position - he's a combination RB/WR - however, Roberts has been a big-play waiting to happen during his academy career. Come April 2005, New Mexico could also be a graet story as the Lobos have as much potential talent for the 2005 draft as any program outside the ranks of the traditional powers in college football. Junior RB DonTrell Moore (#22, 5-11, 215), for example, is a potential late first round pick if he enters the 2005 draft. Moore doesn't have sprinter speed; he'll also put the ball on the ground on occasion, but he combines power with explosive quickness and terrific instincts. While still just a junior, Moore already has over 3,600 career rushing yards, including 1,100 this fall, largely against stacked defenses. And for good measure, Moore is also a good receeiver coming out of the backfield. Moore runs behind a huge offensive line that averages over 320 pounds per man and is anchored by rugged OT Claude Terrell (#76, 6-3, 330), who lines up at LT, but projects to be one of the top OGs in the 2005 draft class. The Lobos' OL also features one of the top Cs in the country in junior C Ryan Cook (#6-3, 6-6, 340). The Lobos also have something of a rising star in the sedcondary in CB Brandon Payne (#28, 6-0, 190) who picked off 6 passes this season. The pros area lso intrigued by the pure pass-rush potential of OLB Fola Fashola (#33, 5-11, 210), who overcame a torn ACL last year to post 8 sacks nd 15 QB hurries coming off the edge this fall; Fashola, though, is an odd-size even for an OLB. No such problems for rangy LB Nick Speegle (#89, 6-5, 240), one of the better pure SSLB prospects around. Meanwhile, SS Josh Bazinet (#37, 5-11, 210) also emerged as a playmaker this season. Holiday Bowl; 8 PM ET; ESPN California versus Texas Tech This is one that even pro scouts would likely pay to get into see as both teams can put points on the board. California, for example, is lead by QB Aaron Rodgers (#8, 6-2, 210), who may ultimately challenge for the #1 grade prior to the 2005 draft. Meanwhile, Bears' RB J.J. Arrington (#30, 5-11, 210), is moving up draft boards around the NFL after a breakout year in which he ran for over 1,800 yards, averaging 7.0 yards per carry along the way. Arrington is a very good all-around back with speed and receiving skills. The Bears also feature a solid possession receiver in WR Geoff McArthur (#6, 6-1, 200), who was slowed by an arm injury this fall, though he still had 57 recptions after hauling in 85 for 1,500 yards and 10 TDs in 2003. It all works, in large part, because of a terrific offensive front anchored by a pair of quality juniors in athletic C Marvin Philip (#54, 6-2, 295) and OT Ryan O'Callaghan (#61, 6-6, 340)Meanwhile, the strength of the Cal defense is an all-senior front seven anchored by run-stuffing DT Lorenzo Alexander (#76, 6-3, 300) and DE Ryan Riddle (#90, 6-3, 250), a tweener with a burst who ripped Pac 10 opposing offensive fronts for 14.5 sacks this fall. Cal also has a cadre of 6-1, 230-pound type LBs who can run including MLB Wendell Hunter (#40, 6-1, 230) and OLB Joe Maningo (#9, 6-1, 230), while a very good secondary is lead by safeties Ryan Gutierrez (#23, 6-0, 190) and Matt Giordano (#20, 6-0, 190). Meanwhile, Texas Tech just keeps churning out gunslingers. First it was record-setting QB Kliff Kingsbury, then record-setting B.J. Symons. This year it was Sonny Cumbie (#15, 6-4, 210) who took over the high-octane Red Raiders' offense which barely skipped a beat. replace Symons. Like his predecessors, Cumbie, who completed 66% of his pass attempts for 4,200 yards this fall, has the tools, including a strong arm and decent mobility, although again like his predecessors will have to deal with concerns whether its the player or the system. to keep the Red Raiders' aerial circus in full-flight. Cumbie has a number of excellent targets in WRs Trey Haverty (#7, 6-0, 200) and Nehemiah Glover (#6, 5-8, 180), though super sophomore Jarret Hicks (#88, 6-4, 210) is the unit's star. The Red Raiders also feature a big, experienced offensive front anchored by OT Daniel Loper (#6-6, 330), a massive, physical RT prospect, along with OG Cody Campbell (#64, 6-4, 315) and C Dylan Gandy (#77, 6-3, 295). While the Texas Tech passing offense gets all the attention, the Red Raiders' have a decent prospect on the other side of the line in DE Ardell Duckett (#91, 6-4, 265), one of the top pure pass rushers in the country. Duckett, though, saw his production fall to just 3 sacks this year after he piled up 14 last fall. Meanwhile, MLB Mike Smith (#46, 6-3, 245) has some size and upfield quickness. Silicon Valley Bowl; 11 PM ET; ESPN2 Northern Illinois versus Troy No one is going to call this a 'must-see' nightcap to the day's action, unless one is from Troy or Northern Illinois. Troy fans, in particular, are excited because its the team's first ever bowl. Both sides, though, have players that will keep pro scouts up until the wee hours this evening. Troy RB DeWhitt Betterson (#9, 6-0, 220), a big back with a bit of a burst, is a bit aof a sleeper at the position after he rushed for almost 1,200 yards in each of the last two seasons. Meanwhile, Troy DE Demarcus Ware (#94, 6-4, 225) has been one of the most disruptive outside pass rushers in college football, posting 26 sacks and 54 total tackles for loss the past three seasons. However, while he explodes of the snap, Ware isn't overly big and likely will have to find a niche as a pass rushing OLB at the next level. Same story for FS Derrick Ansley (#10, 6-0, 175) who has 19 career picks, but is also small by pro standards for the position; despite the lack of bulk, though, Ansley has over 300 career tackles. OT Henry Tellis (#60, 6-5, 310), on the other hand, has the size to play on Sundays, but may lack the overall athleticism to be effective at the next level. Meanwhile, Northern Illinois, making its first bowl appearance in over two decades - and especially after last year's 10-2 team was snubbed - may be even happier to be in San Jose than even the Troy folks. Like their Sun Belt Conference opponents, NIU likely won't have any players early in the 2005 draft, however, the Huskies have some depth. OT Jake VerStraete (#68, 6-6, 315), for example, is a technically sound, high energy OT who is as smart as they come, at least among college offensive linemen; however, while VerStraete is a rugged drive blocker, he lacks the overall athleticism to rate as more than a pure RT prospect. On the other side of the ball, LB Brian Atkinson (#38, 6-1, 225) is a very productive backer with reported 4.6 speed who can make plays in both directions, although he isn't overly big. Meanwhile, WR Dan Sheldon (#5, 5-11, 175) is one of the top punt returners in the country, this fall, Sheldon, averaged almost 17 yards per return. And just for good measure, Sheldon is also a big-play WR who has averaged close to 24 yards per catch this season. Also keep an eye on DE Travis Moore (#56, 6-2, 245); FS Lionel Hickenbottom (#9, 6-0, 200); CB Rob Lee (#27, 6-1, 195) and TE Brad Cieslak (#89, 6-3, 260).Then there's sensational sophomore RB Garrett Wolfe (#1, 5-7, 175), a smurf who still ran for 1,600 yards and 17 TDs this fall. If you have comments or suggestions, e-mail the Editor, Great Blue North Draft Report. The GBN can also be reached by phone at (613) 727-3388; by fax at (613) 951-0387; or regular mail at PO Box 5282, Merivale Depot, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2C 3H5.