At NRG Stadium, Houston vs. San Francisco won't be the only big game in town.
With college football beginning in earnest this Saturday, all eyes will be on Houston as collegiate powerhouses LSU and Wisconsin will meet in the Advocare Texas Kickoff. LSU and Wisconsin are both ranked in the top 15 of the Associated Press preseason poll, creating perhaps the most important game of the week in college football.
A quick glance of the current Texans roster shows the previous level of NFL talent that has played for both of these storied programs. Is the name J.J. Watt familiar? How about Garrett Graham? Both suited up for Wisconsin in college. Talented rookie running back Alfred Blue spent the past three years playing for Les Miles and LSU.
You want numbers?
Eighty-seven current NFL players have LSU and Wisconsin ties. In addition to Watt and Graham, Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson (Seattle) is among the Badgers pro allotment.
LSU's list reads like a who's who of elite NFL talent. Morris Claiborne (Dallas), Eric Reid (San Francisco) and Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City) are three of the 49 former Tigers now suiting up on Sundays.
If the past is an indicator of future success, Saturday's game (8 p.m. CT, ESPN) will have tons of players that will play in the NFL one day. According to ESPN's Mel Kiper, three of the top prospects in the country will hit the field at NRG on Saturday.
LSU's Terrence Magee averaged 7.3 yards per carry last season for LSU while sharing carries with the aforementioned Blue and Jeremey Hill (2nd round NFL pick).
On the other sideline, Melvin Gordon III ran for 1,609 yards and 7.8 per carry a year ago. Gordon has 24 career rushes for 20 yards or more, making him a home run threat every time he touches the ball. Kiper commented that the redshirt junior was ready for the NFL last year and returns in 2014 with the chance to become one of the top three backs in the country.
When it comes to defensive playmakers, LSU's Jalen Mills will take center stage. Kiper called him 'an explosive athlete with great length', and he ranks as the fifth best underclassmen corner in all of college football.
In addition to the proven talent above, the biggest story will likely be a player that has never taken a snap at the collegiate level. LSU freshman Leonard Fournette was the most coveted recruit in the country out of a high school a year ago, drawing comparison to current NFL star Adrian Peterson. Even rapper Lil Wayne is excited about Fournette's ability.
Leonard Fournette is the truth! — Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) October 5, 2013
Fournette, who weighs in at 224 pounds, might be the fastest player on LSU's team according to Miles. It will be fascinating to watch the young talent for the first time on Saturday.
Historic programs, elite talent and a perfect location. What more could you want?