I'll admit, this isn't a great week of college football matchups. The SEC has some options, but certain matchups have been weakened by injuries or players not executing like they were expected at the beginning of the year. For a sleeper recommendation, I'd definitely encourage you to check out WKU versus LSU. Brandon Doughty versus a top defense might be an exciting match. If you're more of a fan of the trenches, go for Texas A&M - Ole Miss and watch Laremy Tunsil at work.
Game of the week
(23) Duke at Virginia Tech
3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU and WatchESPN
Do you like defense? If not, the Baylor game's always an option for you. Otherwise, you'll have plenty to enjoy watching Duke, who has held opponents to 9.3 points per game this year. Jeremy Cash is the star of the defense. The safety/linebacker has 11.5 tackles for loss on the season, three forced fumbles, and seven QB hurries. He's very dangerous blitzing off the edge, although his work in coverage needs to improve. Senior LB Dwayne Norman is closer to safety sized for the NFL, but he anchors the defense with plenty of tackles of his own. The Duke offense isn't that tremendous, but sixth year senior tight end Braxton Deaver has good size. He's working his way back from a torn ACL the year prior. The Blue Devils also have two reliable kicking specialists in punter Will Monday and kicker Ross Martin, if you were curious.
Unfortunately, Virginia Tech's top prospect won't be playing for the rest of the season. Kendall Fuller tore his meniscus earlier in the year and had season ending surgery. The question is if Fuller, who has older family members in the NFL, will stay on for another year of school or depart this season. The next big name for the Hokies is linebacker Dadi Nicholas. He's an Erik Striker type who could potentially be a threat rushing the passer, but the Hokies mostly use him as a situational linebacker in their defense. Senior DT Luther Maddy has 6.5 tackles for loss on the year and will be disrupting Duke's line most of the afternoon. Senior Deon Clarke is the team's most productive linebacker, and for splash plays, watch for Adonis Alexander, who isn't draft-eligible. As for offensive prospects, the best option might be tight end Ryan Malleck.
Five guys I'm paying attention to this week
1. Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Tunsil might be the best offensive tackle in the upcoming draft class, but he's been suspended until now for NCAA rules violations. He'll get a heck of a first opponent in Texas A&M superstar Myles Garrett..
2. Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky
A reader tip drew me to Doughty, who has started for the Hilltoppers since 2013. He's putting up video game numbers pretty much every week, showing a real knack for fitting the ball to his receivers no matter the situation. Now he'll face one of the best defenses in the nation in Baton Rouge..
3. Mackenzie Alexander, CB, Clemson
Alexander is a bit on the small side, but he's one of the best corners in college football. Miami has some experienced receivers and a good quarterback in Brad Kaaya who will be attacking Alexander.
4. Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Allen might be the type of player who is so underrated that he's no longer underrated anymore. Seemingly every draftnik's favorite "sleeper" on Alabama's talented defense, Allen has five sacks this season and will be matching up against an excellent running back and a mobile quarterback on Saturday..
5. Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
Spriggs, the Hoosiers' athletic left tackle will be facing another tough matchup in Shilique Calhoun a couple weeks after dealing with the Ohio State defensive front. He'll need to do his best, as quarterback Nate Sudfeld has already missed time with a foot injury this season.
Discussion topic for the week
When you watch football, where do your eyes go on a play? Are you focused on the quarterback, following the ball, watching the lines? Do you make pre-snap reads too?