Big XII Championship
#14 Texas Longhorns vs. #4 Oklahoma Sooners*
12pm ET, ABC
* - To be played at neutral site: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
A rematch of one of the best games of the season.
With football-hating QB Kyler Murray, OU certainly has a leg up here despite the loss to Texas at the Red River Shootout. The problem is what undid them back in early October: their defense is quite bad. In their last four games, the Sooners have given up 189 points good for 47.25 points allowed per game. Of course, they’re 4-0 in those games...so yeah.
In terms of the 2019 NFL Draft, this is actually a pretty thin matchup for immediate NFL talent. Two names to consider.
First, Oklahoma LT Bobby Evans. This one’s pretty straightforward as a potential replacement for Los Angeles Rams LT Andrew Whitworth (I still think OL Joseph Noteboom is more of a replacement for LG Rodger Saffold moreso than Whitworth). And with Whitworth under contract through next season much like Noteboom’s 2018 redshirt rookie season, there would be no pressure to force Evans into the lineup.
Second? No, it’s not Texas LB Gary Johnson that keen draftniks might have pegged here. It’s CB Kris Boyd. Every play he’s matched up against the Sooners’ undersized playmaker in WR Marquise Brown will be tape that scouts will pore over for the next four months. And may be so for Rams fans too.
Sun Belt Championship
12pm ET, ESPN
(Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend it, though App St. CB Tae Hayes is gonna make a training camp).
Conference USA Championship
1:30pm ET, CBS Sports Network
Edge rusher alert!
UAB EDGE Jamell Garcia-Williams could be the kind of guy to get fans excited in camp and in the second halves of preseason games next year. And S Mar’Sean Diggs looks like he’s going to be an NFL player too.
3:30pm ET, ABC
This one follows OU-Texas and could be just as entertaining even as UCF is without QB McKenzie Milton whose knee was bent in an unusual way last week. While everyone will be poring over Memphis RB Darrell Henderson, look for UCF EDGE Titus Davis. He’s ready-made for a 3-4 OLB slot.
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #4 Georgia Bulldogs*
4pm ET, CBS
* - To be played at neutral site: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
Yeah this is everything. The SEC Championship. College playoff implications galore. And 22 NFL players on the field every play regardless of who has the ball.
You’ve got first-round prospects for the Rams, but draft stock is hard to parse right now. I was going to suggest Georgia CB Deandre Baker , but (ESPN+ subscription required) Mel Kiper has him as a top-15 pick as of Tuesday. I wasn’t going to suggest Alabama LT Jonah Williams or S Deionte Thompson as I can’t see the falling to the playoff spots where the Rams will be picking, but I suppose you can’t assume anything especially this early?
It is what it is. These two teams are stacked with NFL talent and should give us a pretty good game.
How’d it go the last time these two played?
7:45pm ET, ESPN
Is it bad to be intrigued by backup quarterback prospects (the answer is somehow simultaneously yes and no)?
Boise QB Brett Rypien, nephew of two-time Super Bowl Champion former NFL QB Mark Rypien (who had two short stints with the Rams in 1995 and 1997), would make quite a bit of sense as a replacement for Rams backup QB Sean Mannion and won’t cost a premium draft pick by any means.
Fresno doesn’t have a ton to put up this year outside of WR KeeSean Johnson, and I’m not sure the Rams are in position to draft any wideouts this year.
#2 Clemson Tigers vs. Pittsburgh Panthers*
8pm ET, ABC
* - To be played at neutral site: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
Let’s start with Pitt, since it’s easier. Get a look at RT Alex Bookser. He’s played both right tackle and right guard in his time at Pitt. I could see that versatility serving him well in the draft process. And while the running back talent will also attract attention, Rams fans need to keep an eye on EDGE Rashad Weaver.
Now for Clemson...great googily moogily. They could have more than a dozen players drafted, so hang tight. Instead of picking one of the plethora of options I could, I’d instead point to someone like LB Kendall Joseph and ask a question that pertains to Texas LB Gary Johnson who I mentioned earlier as well. How do the Rams assess smaller linebackers moving forward given their run defense? The smallest linebackers they have on the roster are ILB Mark Barron and ILB Cory Littleton, their two top inside backers. They added ILB Ramik Wilson in free agency, but since Barron returned to health Wilson has been a special teams role player only. And Micah Kiser continues to wait for his turn, should it ever come. Just a random note as we head into draft season with inside linebacker perhaps being a position of interest yet again. What I’m saying is the Rams should get Clemson ILB Tre Lamar (who missed last week’s game against the South Carolina Gamecocks, so let’s see if he plays).
#21 Northwestern Wildcats vs. #6 Ohio State Buckeyes*
8pm ET, FOX
* - To be played at neutral site: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
Remember talking about Northwestern LB Paddy Fisher back in August? No? Ok, then. Look, I doubt Fisher comes out as a redshirt sophomore, but when he does...Oh and backup QB alert in NU QB Clayton Thorson.
As for tOSU, there’s plenty to like. C Michael Jordan could be the top center of the class. WR Parris Campbell might be the best playmaker in the draft. Oh and that EDGE Nick Bosa could might factor in early on in the draft... Oh, and can we put a deposit on ILB Tuf Borland?
Here’s your watch guide with full schedule, TV listing and stream options.