Conference football is a go. With last week being a little soft, we’re headed toward the part of the season where we’re carried by the headwinds.
This season is incredibly top heavy...and it fits the playoff build
Bama survived a funky test against Texas A&M, but that’s the extent of their tests until November save for a wild upset. With QB Tua Tagovailoa now firmly entrenched above QB Jalen Hurts, the Tide should be able to manage things comfortably over the next four games. Of course it’s Alabama, so everyone’s an NFL prospect. But if you haven’t checked out their O-line, true junior LT Jonah Williams should well be your first stop. Starting at right tackle as a freshman before transferring to the left side, I’d be shocked if sticks out another year in Tuscaloosa. And sure, Rams fans need to get a look at this linebacking crew. That goes without saying any year for Bama, but certainly this year with the roster needs looking the way they are.
Clemson’s season, and draft outlook, starts on the defensive line. Yes, this week will be largely about the transfer for QB Kelly Bryant who backed up former Clemson and now Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson and has who has now decided to transfer after being pushed out by QB Trevor Lawrence. The guy I’d point Rams fans to here is ILB Tre Lamar. He missed the last four games of last season with a shoulder injury, but has been back in form this year. But the obvious thing to point out for Clemson this year both prior to the season and now is the schedule. As of right now, they have one ranked opponents all year: #22 Duke. Yeah...
And then Georgia. Whew, Georgia. Have they played the best football of any team in the country to this point? Yeah, maybe. Do they have the momentum as the newest kid on the block of the top four with legtimacy? No doubt. Can they handle the pressure the way they couldn’t under former Head Coach Mark Richt? They’ve got two favorable matchups here with Tennessee and Vanderbilt at home, but things could prove challenging thereafter. The weird thing here is the pass/rush disparity. The Bulldogs have thrown the ball 90 times and run it 160. Obviously, it’s working for them, but it makes it hard to get a better feel for someone like, say, TE Isaac Nauta.
And then there’s OSU. The Urban Meyer suspension. The silence. The pressure... This program won the national championship four years ago. They’ve only made the playoffs once since and that saw them face the Watson buzzsaw en route to a 31-0 shellacking. So to say this season is an important one for the Buckeyes...yeah. They passed a huge non-conference test against TCU. Tonight, the stakes are even higher tonight with the Big Ten rights on the line on the road against Penn St. It’s a huge test, but if they can pass it, they have a good chunk of time to prep for the Michigan St./Michigan gauntlet at season’s end.
Situational scouting ramps up
Once you get past the major early season non-conference action and the games like OSU-PSU or Stanford-Notre Dame begin to dominate the landscape, draft looks begin to get more hyperfocused. Like say Virginia CB Juan Thornhill working up against North Carolina St. QB Ryan Finley. Is Virginia-NC State anywhere near the watchability of other games? Of course not. Are both those guys coming to the NFL? Yup. So you have to start thinking about whether you’d watch these two or watch Clemson work over Syracuse or whatnot.
Or take a game like Florida St. at Louisville. There’s a ton of NFL talent. There’s also little to play for, nationally. There’s ton of NFL talent like FSU EDGE Brian Burns that makes obvious sense for the Rams. But uh...who’s compelled to watch this? It’s a perfect Saturday to, well, not watch college football.
The night time is the right time
#4 Ohio State at #9 Penn State.
#7 Stanford at #8 Notre Dame.
Oh, and that doesn’t even include the nightcaps on ESPN & ESPN2... Gonna need to burn the midnight oil tonight, friends.
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