College football certainly has not been immune to the effects of COVID-19, which was brought to the forefront this week, with the postponement of several games due to certain teams having outbreaks among their players and staff members. Key games, like LSU-Florida or Oklahoma State-Baylor won’t happen this weekend, and will theoretically be played later in the year. However, not all of the energy has been sapped from this week. In particular, tonight we should be treated to an SEC matchup of powerhouses in what could be a candidate for Game of the Year.
So let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects, and enjoy the weekend!
Keep your eyes on
Daelin Hayes EDGE (Notre Dame)
The fifth-year senior has struggled recently staying healthy and has had a poor start to the season, with only two tackles to his name. That’s disappointing for a guy who’s been hoping to break out in 2020. However, his athleticism still pops off the tape, and it’ll be interesting to see if he change his fortunes against a strong Louisville offensive line. Adonis Boone has been battle-tested this season and should prove to be a good measuring stick.
Other prospects to watch
Feleipe Franks QB (Arkansas)
Despite their record, the Razorbacks have been surprisingly competent this year. A lot of credit should go to their signal caller Franks, who’s been solid this season in completing 64 percent of his passes for 730 yards and only two interceptions. The Florida transfer’s upcoming game against Ole Miss should prove to be of the shoot-out variety, as the Rebels are fresh off putting up 48 points on Alabama. It should be the type of game where you truly see what a quarterback is made of.
Najee Harris RB (Alabama)
The 6’2”, 230-lb running back ended up returning to Tuscaloosa for his senior season, which never really made sense because he is among the top three or four tailbacks in the country. Regardless, this season will be about proving that he has the most well-rounded skill set of any player at his position—one who can catch passes, pass block, and shed tackles in the running game like Adrian Peterson. Georgia’s defensive front seven is very good at stopping the run, so it should be a back-and-forth battle.
Ben Cleveland OG (Georgia)
On the other side of the coin from Harris is the Georgia offensive line. Nick Saban’s teams are famous for stopping the run first, then bringing extra rushers in the passing game. After a season where he dealt with injuries and an academic suspension, Cleveland has come out of the gate playing exceptionally well—including two weeks ago when he was named the SEC offensive lineman of the week. This week he matches up against LaBryan Ray and big nose tackle DJ Dale.
Kingsley Enagbare DT/DE (South Carolina)
A player who lines up all along the defensive line for the Gamecocks, Enagbare has burst onto the scene his first few games, with eight tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles to his name. He’ll look to have a massive impact this week against Auburn—a team that likes to throw it all over the yard and play with tempo. If South Carolina wants to disrupt Bo Nix, they need to pressure him early and often.
Game of the Week
No. 3 Georgia at No. 2 Alabama
Saturday, 8:00 PM EDT
The SEC is typically where you go to watch physical football and this week we should be treated to a real knockout matchup between two undefeated teams.
Georgia’s offense is younger and reloading, so they’ll be forced to rely on their defense to hold things down. Their pass defense is strong thanks to cornerbacks Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell who are both highly thought-of draft prospects, as well as safety Richard LeCounte. Against the run, they employ linebacker Monty Rice and nose tackle Jordan Davis, who both project as latter-round picks.
As usual, the entire Crimson Tide team is made up of NFL Draft prospects, but the groups to focus on are the skills positions. Wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith are smaller wideouts but electric in every sense of the word. Then there’s the aforementioned running back Najee Harris.