With plenty of non-conference games between the likes of ACC powerhouses and FCS squads, the intriguing games are those between the Power Five conferences. Twelfth-ranked Oregon comes cross country to visit No. 3 Ohio State, which should be a clash between two high-powered offenses. A possibly competent Arkansas will look to defend their turf against No. 15 Texas. Then there’s this week’s Game of the Week, between two in-state rivals from the Midwest. So let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects, and enjoy the weekend!
Keep your eyes on:
Kayvon Thibodeaux DE (Oregon)
One of the country’s best prospects at 6’5” and 268 lbs, the draft-eligible sophomore played well against Fresno State last week but faces a much stiffer test this week against the Ohio State offensive line. Buckeye tackles Nicholas Petit-Frere and Dawand Jones have fantastic resumes and NFL futures in their own right. If Thibodeaux performs just as well as the previous week, this will be the game tape scouts show to their general managers when deciding how to use their first-round pick.
Other players to watch:
Cade Otton TE (Washington)
In a largely undefined tight end class, Otton’s blend of straight-line speed, quickness and receiver-like hands will be a massive asset. He had a strong eight-catch debut against Montana last week (a game the Huskies lost), but the competition ramps up this week against Michigan. Their hybrid defense sports several linebackers and safeties who excel in coverage, and the junior tight end’s blocking may be tested more as well.
Tyler Allgeier RB (BYU)
After several offensive departures to the NFL, BYU’s main strength remains in their run game, thanks to draft-eligible sophomore Allgeier. The 220-lb back is well-built to run inside, but also flashes very slight, sudden cuts and some long speed. This week its an in-state rivalry game against Utah, who once again should sport a strong defense. Look for Allgeier to be forced to make up his own yardage after contact.
Nate Landman LB (Colorado)
A force to be reckoned in the middle of the Buffaloes’ defense for years now, the super-senior took advantage of the option for an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Landman’s power as a tackler and ability to stack and shed linemen will be needed this week against a top-five ranked Texas A&M program that brings along star running back Isaiah Spiller along with speedster Devon Achane. The hope is that Landman can also show off some smart short- to medium-zone coverage skills.
Jalen Catalon S (Arkansas)
In looking to establish his new offense, Texas’ new coach Steve Sarkisian is going to heavily rely on Bijan Robinson. Therefore, it’ll be Catalon’s job to come crashing down and protect from big runs. The much-hyped safety prospect is more known for his versatile coverage skills rather than his run defense. He needs to show that he can excel against the run just as much as in the passing game. Assuming he has a big game, his stock will very much be on the upswing.
Game of the Week
No. 10 Iowa vs. No. 9 Iowa State
Saturday, 4:30 P.M. EDT
A fascinating matchup between two in-state schools that happen to be among the best in their respective conferences. Iowa’s offensive line, which features future early draft pick center Tyler Linderbaum and tailbacks are the heart of their team, and the team will be looking to completely run it down the Cyclones’ defensive front.
For their part, Iowa State will look to rely on their own run game with Breece Hall as well. Though they won’t be afraid to air it out with their tight ends Charlie Kolar and Chase Allen. Kolar in particular—a former basketball player—is a joy to watch in the red zone passing game.