Championship weekend is here!
Happy Saturday every one! And welcome to the last full weekend of college football of the year. It is a sad day, but also an exciting one as we could be in store for some of the best games of the season.
Championship Week is already under way, as Washington topped Utah 10-3 for the Pac-12 championship. But today we will see a number conferences decided, including the Big 10, Big 12, ACC, Mountain West, and the one everyone wants to see: The SEC Championship.
In all likelihood there will be future members of the New York Giants on the field today, so let’s get to it.
(12) Texas at (5) Oklahoma – Big XII Championship
ABC – noon
Do you like defense? Well… This might not be the game for you. The Big 12 isn’t exactly known for its dominating defenses, though Texas does have some players worth scouting on that side of the ball — particularly DBs Kris Boyd and Brandon Jones.
On the offensive side of things, Oklahoma will be the team to watch. QB Kyler Murray is undersized, but an absolute blast. Unfortunately for football fans, he has decided to forego the NFL and pursue a career in Major League Baseball after being drafted ninth overall by the Oakland A’s.
Texas’ WR, Collin Johnson is interesting for fans wanting a big receiver (and at 6’6”, 215, he certainly is that), but if the Giants want to add their own Tyreek Hill or Tarik Cohen, keep an eye on Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown. Brown is arguably the most explosive player in all of college football. This year alone has six games of more than 130 yards receiving (more than 240 in his last game), and five games of over 21 yards per catch.
Oklahoma also has a trio of offensive linemen who are worth watching as well.
players to watch
(1) Alabama at (4) Georgia – SEC Championship
CBS – 4 p.m.
This game is easily the marquee game of the weekend and the one EVERYONE will be wanting to watch.
This should be a terrific game between two thoroughly talented teams. It will also be the first full game between the presumptive top QB prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft in Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Georgia’s Jake Fromm. If the Giants once again punt on their quarterback decision (which has to be recognized as a possibility at this point), these two young men could figure heavily in the Giants’ plans for the following year.
But beyond the quarterbacks, this game is absolutely chock-full of future NFL players, and several likely high draft picks.
Players to watch
- Jake Fromm (2020 QB prospect)
- Riley Ridley (WR)
- Terry Godwin (WR)
- Isaac Nauta (TE)
- Elijah Holyfield (RB)
- D’Andre Walker (EDGE)
- DeAndre Baker (CB)
- J.R. Reed (S)
- Tyler Clark (DT)
- Tua Tagovailoa (2020 QB prospect)
- Quinnen Williams (DT)
- Raekwon Davis (DT)
- Isaiah Buggs (DT)
- Mack Wilson (LB)
- Deionte Thompson (S)
- Jonah Williams (OT)
- Ross Pierschbacher (IOL)
- Irv Smith Jr. (TE)
- Damien Harris (RB)
(25) Fresno State at (22) Boise State – Mountain West Championship
ESPN – 7:45 p.m.
Most fans might turn to one of the bigger 8 p.m. games, such as Northwester at Ohio State or Clemson at Pittsburgh, but this game might wind up being better. Let’s face it, neither Pitt nor Northwester have much in the way of a realistic chance against their respective opponents. However, if you want to scout Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins and the rest of the Buckeyes’ squad, or the Clemson defense, go right ahead.
But I want to watch two teams we haven’t spent much time talking about, both of whom are ranked at the end of the year.
Most interestingly, the Mountain West championship features Boise State QB Brett Rypien against one of the top pass defenses in the nation, and that is a solid reason to watch. Mark Schofield has come back to Rypien a few times as an intriguing prospect despite his lack of prototypical size and elite arm talent.
He is, however a mechanically clean thrower with a very quick release. He does have enough arm strength to threaten all but the deepest parts of the field, and can generate enough velocity to challenge tight windows in the short and intermediate area.
About Rypien, Mark said in his 2019 QB watch list:
If there is one quarterback whose name I want you to remember from this group, it is this one. A veteran QB who was a starter for the Broncos as a freshman, Rypien is a quarterback who excels at many of the small things, and this season has shown an ability to make some truly impressive throws with velocity and accuracy, adding one more positive trait to his growing list. Rypien is experienced in a more pro-style offense that tasks him with operating under center and in the shotgun, and he is required to be active in the pre-snap phase and also works well on play-action designs, turning his back to the defense as necessary. He is not afraid to challenge the middle of the field, and shows competitive toughness in the face of the blitz or pressure. He can adjust his thought process when the post-snap look does not mirror his pre-snap expectations, and still makes good decisions in those moments.
Rypien does get flustered at times against pressure or in the face of blitzes, and has a tendency to stare down his first read. His arm talent is not elite, and there are others in this group with a more impressive arm or with better velocity, but he can still make all the throws asked of him and is not limited schematically.