Week 7 marks the approximate halfway point of the college football season. With that comes several match-ups that could decide the makeup of the conference championships. No. 12 Michigan vs. No. 15 Wisconsin could be a preview of the Big Ten championship, the winner of the No. 13 LSU vs. No. 2 Georgia game this week will decide who is the second-best team in the SEC and No. 17 Oregon vs. No. 7 Washington should determine who the Colorado Buffaloes will be looking to upset in the Pac-12 championship.
As always, let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects and enjoy the weekend.
Keep your eyes on
DT Terry Beckner Jr. (Missouri)
If Missouri wants to prevent themselves from becoming Alabama’s next victim, they’ll need to pressure quarterback Tua Tagovailoa early and often. Beckner should be able to do his part along the interior, as he’s a penetrating 3-technique player (a 3 technique is a defensive lineman who typically lines up on the outside shoulder of a guard) who relies on his initial speed at the snap. The senior has yet to register a sack this year, although he does have five tackles-for-loss, so if he still wants to be considered among the best players at his position, he’ll need to stand out this week.
Other prospects to watch
LB Tyrel Dodson (Texas A&M)
The Aggies have been one of college football’s surprising teams this season. Dodson has helped their defense play lights-out, especially against the run. This week though, South Carolina brings a newly-effective passing attack led by new starter Michael Scarnecchia. How Dodson handles his duties in coverage will be a big story line for this game and in establishing his draft stock.
QB Daniel Jones (Duke)
This year’s crop of quarterback prospects have been slightly underwhelming so far, but Jones is one player at the position exceeding expectations. At least, he was exceeding expectations before he fractured his clavicle during Week 2. The junior returned to the field last week, but did not seem to be 100% healthy. This week, he’ll look to get back on track against a thoroughly below-average Georgia Tech secondary.
WR John Ursua (Hawaii)
The Rainbow Warriors have one of the most unique passing attacks in college football, allowing Ursua to rank second in the nation with 801 receiving yards. Although he’s diminutive at only 5’10”, 175 pounds, his speed and hands appear to be NFL-caliber and he projects well at the next level as slot receiver. The junior’s biggest test of the year, outside of a bowl game, is this week against a solid BYU defense.
OT David Edwards (Wisconsin)
Edwards is among the top offensive tackle prospects in the nation, but there are still lingering questions regarding his ability to pass-protect at an elite level. Michigan has a pair of pass rushers, Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich, who are highly regarded in draft circles. If Edwards can keep quarterback Alex Hornibrook relatively clean, his draft stock should see a corresponding rise.
RB Qadree Ollison (Pittsburgh)
Ollison is coming off of a monster game against Syracuse where he rushed for 192 yards on 24 carries. The senior is a bigger back at 225 pounds, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to Notre Dame’s linebackers shooting gaps and trying to take him down near the line of scrimmage. With only six receptions, it would be nice to see Ollison get a few more looks in the passing game.
Game of the Week
No. 7 Washington at No. 17 Oregon
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EST
This game will likely decide who competes with Colorado for the Pac-12 championship and, luckily for fans, it features two exciting offenses. The Ducks’ Justin Herbert continues to improve his resume as the best quarterback prospect in the draft while Calvin Throckmorton has been a revelation along the offensive line. Defensive end Jalen Jelks and linebacker Troy Dye are the leaders on defense.
Washington’s talent lies with their skill positions and secondary. Myles Gaskin is a do-it-all running back and Aaron Fuller is the Huskies newest deep threat at receiver. The secondary is among the most talented in college football with cornerback Jordan Miller and safeties JoJo Mcintosh and Taylor Rapp.