Last week, Texas A&M stepped up to insert some chaos into the overall landscape by essentially dominating and beating the unanimous best team in the country in Alabama. That changes not only the SEC’s outlook—allowing for today’s Game of the Week showdown—but also changes the fortunes of Big Ten teams like Iowa, Michigan and Ohio State to make noise in the College Football Playoffs. College football is nothing if not unpredictable. So let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects, and enjoy the weekend!
Keep your eyes on:
EDGE Zion Tupuola-Fetui (Washington)
A first-team All-Pac-12 selection last year, the 6’4”, 260-lb sophomore should be ready to return from his Achilles injury that has sidelined him for months. Much is expected of Tupuola-Fetui, including replacing Joe Tryon as the team’s most impactful pass rusher. He’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet those expectations if his does play this week, as UCLA’s offense piles up both passing and rushing attempts.
Other players to watch:
LB Malcolm Rodriguez (Oklahoma State)
Oklahoma State is a team largely known for their offense, thanks to coach Mike Gundy. What’s been refreshing this season for the Cowboys has been the play of their defense through five games. Rodriguez is the leader, ranking second among all FBS players with 11 tackles per game. The senior is undersized, but offers a versatile skill set, that includes talent as a blitzer. We’ll learn a lot about his abilities this game, as Texas’ offense has been virtually unstoppable this season, and is coming off a game where they put up 48 points.
C Alec Lindstrom (Boston College)
The brother of the Atlanta Falcons’ Chris Lindstrom—a 2019 first-round draft pick—Alec is part of one of the more dominant offensive lines in the ACC. What will appeal to teams with Lindstrom’s play is that his pass protection is solid—he rarely gives up sacks—yet he plays on a run-first team and has massive experience in that area. It’s the latter where Lindstrom will need to excel at in Week 7, as NC State has been solid all year stopping the run—allowing the 13th-lowest amount of yards on the ground per game in the country.
RB Kennedy Brooks (Oklahoma)
This year’s running back draft class still doesn’t have a designated top dog. But, after last week’s performance against Texas, Brooks has clearly established himself as one of the potential options. The redshirt junior rushed for 217 yards on only 25 carries, which essentially carried his team to the 55-48 victory. This week things will get even harder, seeing how Kansas State sports one of the top rushing defenses in college football.
Game of the Week
No. 11 Kentucky at No. 1 Georgia
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EDT
These are two undefeated SEC teams known for their well-coached and talented defenses. Expect a knockdown, drag-out defensive slugfest.
The key matchup will be between Georgia’s defensive live—led by tackle Jordan Davis and defensive end Travon Walker—and the Wildcats’ offensive line—including grown-man tackle Darian Kinnard. Meanwhile, the under-the-radar battle may be between Georgia’s physical safety, Lewis Cine, and Kentucky tight end Keaton Upshaw, who has three touchdowns on the year in what has amounted to a breakout season to this point.