Upset alert in the SEC, changing of the guard in the ACC?
This week of college football should determine the fortunes of at least four teams in the SEC, and have major College Football Playoff implications as well. The games in question feature some young guns looking to take down historical conference powerhouses. The first-ranked team in the country Alabama hosts No. 12 Ole Miss and their explosive offense. Meanwhile No. 2 Georgia hosts unbeaten No. 8 Arkansas. Elsewhere, No. 25 Clemson has been a massive disappointment this season, and has to beware of Boston College. The class of the ACC could be No. 24 Wake Forest, although much will be determined in their game against Louisville.
So let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects, and enjoy the weekend!
Keep your eyes on:
RB Kyren Williams (Notre Dame)
An agile and explosive runner, Williams has run into some tough sledding recently, including last week when he was bottled up against Wisconsin last week. The draft-eligible sophomore has also started to make his mark in the passing game as Notre Dame’s offense has started to evolve a bit. This week, we’ll see if he can find success in the run game against Cincinnati’s strong defensive line. If he’s unable to gain the important yards between the tackles however, the team might switch to backup Jerome Ford.
Other players to watch:
LB Isaiah Graham-Mobley (Boston College)
A transfer from Temple, he’s quickly adjusted to the Eagles’ defense and has begun to make quite a name for himself as an athletic, versatile defensive chess piece. Last week, he led his team with seven tackles, including one for a loss. Those tools will need to be on display against a surprisingly vulnerable Clemson offense who, despite a good amount of talent, has underperformed in their two losses. Look for BC to pull off the upset here if the linebackers stay active and clean.
G Matt Bedford (Indiana)
Bedford is in the process of making the somewhat tricky transition from tackle to guard on Indiana’s offensive line. So far, it’s going well thanks to his mauler mentality at the point of attack. The junior—along with Hoosiers in general—have their biggest test of the season this week against an attacking Penn State front. This represents a massive undertaking for Bedford, who needs to stay strong in both the run game and pass protection to keep his offense on track.
EDGE Drake Jackson (USC)
Although he came into this season with first-round hype and potential thanks to his success last season and his overall athletic potential, it hasn’t been the most productive season so far for the junior. His only sack this season came two weeks ago against Washington State. This week represents an opportunity to get back on track against another up and coming draft prospect in Colorado tackle Frank Fillip.
Game of the Week
No. 12 Ole Miss at No. 1 Alabama
Saturday, 3:30 P.M. EDT
The Lane Kiffin revenge game, this matchup pits his explosive Ole Miss offense against another dominant Crimson Tide defense. Last year, Ole Miss was able to put up 48 points on Alabama, so this should be a high-scoring affair regardless.
If the Rebels are to have a chance in this game, they’ll need a flawless performance from quarterback Matt Corral, elusive runner Jerrion Ealy, and big-target receiver Jonathan Mingo. On defense, look for edge rusher Sam Williams to provide some pressure.
Once again, Alabama is stacked on both sides of the ball. On offense, tackle Evan Neal will attempt to prevent the aforementioned Williams from having an impact, which should allow for plenty of targets for John Metchie III and tight end Jahleel Billingsley. On the other side of the ball, linebackers Christian Harris, and Tennessee transfer Henry To’o To’o will be all over the field.