With the first edition of the College Football Playoff Rankings being released this past week, it’s the signal that the end is near. With bowl season rapidly approaching, there are only a few games left until there is no more tape on the players that will enter the draft in April. There is an incredible slate of college games in week 10, so find a spot on your couch that’s comfortable and watch what these prospects have to offer.
Week 9 Top Performers
Offense: WR Kelvin Harmon, North Carolina State
So many people throughout the draft community had DK Metcalf as their top receiver halfway through the season but with his future still in question, they could all be looking for a new one. No better option than my personal top guy, Kelvin Harmon, who just decided to go off against Syracuse last week. In the shootout QB Ryan Finley was able to connect with Harmon 11 times resulting in 247 yards and two touchdowns. It was a great turnaround after being slowed down by Clemson just a week prior. Harmon displayed great technique at the line to get clean releases throughout the game to get open deep multiple times and of course using great body control to make some contested catches.
Defense: LB Germaine Pratt, North Carolina State
Somehow in a defensive effort where they gave up a collective 51 points, the Wolfpack will also have the defender of the week in Germaine Pratt. The redshirt senior put up a career high with 16 tackles, two and a half sacks and tackles for loss, in addition to one forced fumble as well. As mentioned, the defense as a whole did not perform well but Pratt was all over the field last week. Coming to NC State as a safety out of high school, he has natural athleticism at the linebacker position that really stands out. Pratt flows really well all around the field whether it’s getting to the running back or while playing out in space while in coverage. Efforts like this one will really make him a player to look at on day 2 of the draft.
Week 10 Players to Watch
CB Kris Boyd, Texas (vs. West Virginia, 3:30pm on FOX)
In this Big 12 matchup there might not be one better than seeing Kris Boyd lining up against David Sills V. Being about four inches shorter than Sills will be a little bit of a disadvantage for him but the scrappiness he often shows could counter that. In my midseason mock draft earlier this week, Boyd was able to sneak into the first round. If he can show to be reliable against one of the better passing offenses in the conference, there is no reason as to why he can’t find his way in that conversation for good.
WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford (vs. Washington, 9:00pm on PAC12)
Here is yet another great battle between a fringe wide receiver and a potential first round corner. Not only will JJ be going against their top corner Byron Murphy but he may also face fellow prospect Jordan Miller who is a bit bigger and deal with Taylor Rapp in the middle of the field and likely up top. Washington has the best secondary in the Pac-12 and if he can ball out against them like he did against Oregon, he’ll be in the day one talks. Look for Arcega-Whiteside to use his size and strength to box out the cornerbacks as that’s the way he likes to play the game. He also does a good job using his smarts to find some soft coverage. He’ll need to do that a bit if he wants to find the ball consistently.
Week 10 Games to Watch
#14 Penn State at #5 Michigan (3:45pm on ESPN)
For the first time in Jim Harbaugh’s tenure at Michigan, he has his team on the cusp of the college football playoffs this late in the season. With only four games left on the schedule only Penn State and Ohio State stand in their way. When going against this Nittany Lions offense it comes down to stopping quarterback Trace McSorley. If anyone is going to beat you on the ground let it be Miles Sanders, not a banged up McSorley. When he is able to break off big runs it’s hard to stop them. While Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich are going to have to get in the backfield, it’ll be linebacker Devin Bush who will have that important task. This unit has been outstanding being ranked in the top 10 in both scoring defense (9th), rushing defense (6th) as well as first in both passing defense and total defense.
Michigan’s offense will also have to keep their momentum going, running the offense through running back Karan Higdon. I have not been the biggest fan of Shea Patterson sinvce the summer but he has been efficient not turning the ball over and doing enough to put points on the board when the defense is only allowing 14 points a game. Today though, this Penn State defense will get after him just like they did to Dwayne Haskins a few weeks ago. Sophomore defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, who has two sacks in each of the last two games, will lead the charge with Amani Oruwariye on the back end. When all is said and done, expect this game to be a close one coming down to the wire.
#1 Alabama at #3 LSU (8:00pm on CBS)
Would it be any other game? This is the matchup of the season and it’s funny to say that because it very well might not even be close because of how good this Alabama team is. Tua Tagovailoa has yet to play a snap in the fourth quarter and with linebacker Devin White out for LSU in the first half, they’re down one of their best defenders. For that first half, Greedy Williams, Grant Delpit and company will have to do their best to do the impossible and keep it close for when White comes back. Expect the Alabama running game to take advantage of his absence with a mixture of Damien Harris, Joshua Jacobs and Najee Harris pounding the rock.
On the other side, Garrett Brumfield and the rest of that offensive line are going to have their hands full with Quinnen Williams, Raekwon Davis and Isaiah Buggs controlling the line of scrimmage seemingly every play. They struggled against Florida who has a good defensive line in their own right but they’re not Alabama. The spread has been hovering around 15 points and even though it’s in Death Valley, it could easily be a bigger deficit than that by the end of the game.
Top 25 Big Board
- EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
- IDL Quinnen Williams, Alabama
- IDL Ed Oliver, Houston
- S Deionte Thompson, Alabama
- CB Greedy Williams, LSU
- OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
- EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
- LB Devin White, LSU
- EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
- EDGE Jachai Polite, Florida
- TE Noah Fant, Iowa
- IDL Raekwon Davis, Alabama
- WR Kelvin Harmon, NC State
- EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
- CB Byron Murphy, Washington
- CB DeAndre Baker, Georgia
- EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky
- OT David Edwards, Wisconsin
- LB Mack Wilson, Alabama
- IDL Rashan Gary, Michigan
- QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
- CB Trayvon Mullen, Clemson
- WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
- IOL Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
- IOL Chris Lindstrom, Boston College