As the college football season starts to come to a finish, many teams will be playing their last regular season game this weekend. A bunch of those games already happened earlier in the week, but we still have a good lineup to show on Saturday. As always, feel free to chat about the games you're watching in the comment section!
Kentucky at No. 22 Louisville
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There are more high-profile matchups available at this timeslot, namely no. 16 Georgia Tech at no. 9 Georgia. But these are two teams we haven't really checked in on this season, and in Kentucky's case, it's rare to find them being televised, so let's review who they have to offer.
The top name at Louisville is wide receiver #9 DeVante Parker. He's a 6'3" 210 pounder with impressive body control, and is considered one of the top three receivers in this class - and that's in spite of missing seven games this season with a broken bone in his foot. Another big name is redshirt sophomore safety #8 Gerod Holliman, who leads the nation with 13 interceptions this year. Given that he wasn't on anyone's radar coming into the season, and that he still has two years of eligibility remaining, I wouldn't be shocked if he stayed another season. Edge rusher #94 Lorenzo Mauldin has 6.5 sacks this season, and #98 Sheldon Rankins has seven. The whole left side of the Louisville offensive line is worth watching, with LT #79 Jamon Brown, LG #70 John Miller, and OC #53 Jake Smith all having NFL size and upside.
Kentucky doesn't have a lot of prospects to offer, but there's one in particular you have to check out. Edge rusher #2 Alvin 'Bud' Dupree is getting first round consideration, putting up great production even as he plays out of position as a defensive end (he's better suited to standing up), and he's a great leader for the team. On the other side, #94 Za'Darius Smith isn't as productive, but may possess greater upside. The 6'6" 260 pound defensive end has only been playing football since 2010. LT #77 Darrian Miller has good movement ability, and is also worth a watch when Kentucky has the ball.
No. 4 Mississippi State at No. 19 Ole Miss
This may be as much of a game about players for next year's draft as it is for this one. Mississippi State is trying to hold on to a playoff spot as teams like Ohio State and TCU build a resume of more impressive wins, and if the Bulldogs don't win today, it's possible that a few of their underclassmen return to try for one more strong season. That includes redshirt junior QB #15 Dak Prescott, who is dangerous both as a passer and as a runner. As a running back, junior #13 Josh Robinson has some incentive to head to the NFL as early as possible, and the way he has played this season, he definitely is in the mix for a mid-round pick. But in a strong RB class, he might be better served returning for his senior year with a strong supporting cast.
Linebacker #50 Bernardrick McKinney is also a junior, but he's already being projected to the first round in many mock drafts, and is expected to enter the NFL this year. Edge rushers #91 Preston Smith and #48 Ryan Brown should also be watched, especially Smith, who's in his senior season. One player you won't see out there is safety Justin Cox, who was arrested on domestic violence charges last weekend.
Ole Miss quarterback #14 Bo Wallace is breaking Eli Manning's school records, and he probably will remind fans of what it's like to have Eli Manning as a quarterback today: At times brilliant, and at times horribly inconsistent or just plain bad. The Bo that shows up this weekend will do a lot to determine the outcome of the game.
The strength of Ole Miss has been the defense, and there's a couple of draft-eligible names to watch for. CB #21 Senquez Golson is undersized and likely best suited for a nickel or free safety role in the NFL, but he has nine interceptions, seven pass breakups, and three tackles for a loss. Safety #25 Cody Prewitt has a couple picks of his own, and is second on the team in tackles.
No. 15 Auburn at No. 1 Alabama
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The 2013 Iron Bowl was possibly the greatest ending to a college football game ever, With the game tied 28-28 and 1 second remaining, Alabama attempted a 57 yard field goal attempt for the win. The kick fell short, and was returned 109 yards for a game winning touchdown by Auburn's Chris Davis.
The stakes aren't quite as high this season, but both teams have talented players you should be watching as draft season approaches. We've talked plenty about Alabama's prospects all year, so you should be familiar with most of them. #9 Amari Cooper and #26 Landon Collins are considered the top prospects (or near the top) for wide receiver and safety, respectively, in this year's class. LG #77 Arie Kouandjio is a mid-round prospect with NFL size. Linebackers #33 Trey DePriest and #19 Reggie Ragland are also good to watch. Then there's QB #6 Blake Sims, who has only started this season, doesn't have great arm strength, is smaller sized, and has significant home/road and first half/second half splits, but shows a serious knack for anticipation and touch on his passes.
Auburn has its own set of players you should be watching. Receivers #18 Sammie Coates and #1 D'haquille "Duke" Williams are both great athletes at the position, and Williams reminds me of Buffalo's Mike Williams with his ability to post up for the ball. Center #50 Reese Dismukes is possibly the best center in this year's class. Cornerback #3 Jonathan Jones is on the smaller side, but has 5 interceptions and 11 pass breakups this season. Also be sure to check out RB #44 Cameron Artis-Payne, who has 1400 yards rushing on the year.