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2023 NFL Draft: Week 8 college football preview & live chat

It’s a big week for big-name WR/DB matchups

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Iowa at Illinois Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There’s still plenty of college football to be played in 2022, but the bigger picture of the good and bad teams in the sport has taken form heading towards the home stretch of games. Week 8 brings a handful of ranked games to the table including one top-ten matchup in the Pac 12. Let’s dig into the ranked matchups of the week.

We start the day off with a battle of undefeateds as 6-0 No. 14 Syracuse travels to No. 5 Clemson for a fight that could determine who wins the ACC Atlantic in 2022. Syracuse most recently played an NC State team that was without quarterback Devin Leary due to injury. The Orange get their first test of the season against the Tigers whose entire defensive line is healthy—that’s a scary thought.

The 3:30 Eastern time window presents a pair of conference ranked matchups in the Pac 12 and the Big 12. We’ll start with the highlight of the window as No. 9 UCLA heads to Eugene to take on No. 10 Oregon. The Bruins are led by one of the hottest quarterbacks in college football in Dorian Thompson-Robinson along with Zach Charbonnet—one of the top 2023 running back prospects. The Ducks have high-end talent on both sides of the ball while they attempt to get the most out of a couple of studs on defense.

No. 20 Texas travels to No. 11 Oklahoma State in what could be a high-scoring affair. The Longhorns have great options at quarterback, running back, tight end, and receiver that gives them one of the most dynamic groupings in college right now. Oklahoma State’s attack by committee has led them to consistency. The Cowboys are yet to be held under 30 points in a game this season.

Sixth-ranked Alabama gets an opportunity for a bounce-back week after a heartbreaker against Tennessee a week ago as No. 24 Mississippi State travels to Bryant-Denny stadium for a date between two teams coming off a loss.

Eighth-ranked TCU, one of the most dynamic offenses in the country, plays host to No. 17 Kansas State—a team that’s been cashing in to the tune of 11 takeaways on defense this year, including nine interceptions.

With our ranked matchups set, let’s get into some prospect matchups to keep an eye on this weekend.

Iowa’s DBs (S Kaevon Merriweather & CB Riley Moss) vs. Ohio State’s Skill (QB C.J. Stroud, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR Julian Fleming, & underclassmen)

Make no mistake about it—Iowa’s offense is a very disgusting operation that should carry a NSFW designation upon viewing. But if you like an elite offense versus a very good college defense, this is the right spot for you at noon on Saturday. Iowa defensive backs Kaevon Merriweather and Riley Moss are certainly NFL Draft prospects and very possible Senior Bowl invites. Good performances in this game could solidify their positioning for such an opportunity.

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is in the process of jockeying to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and this is a big test for him against some formidable, NFL-caliber defensive backs. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has been dealing with a hamstring injury since Week 1 of the season and his return could come this weekend against the Hawkeyes. Smith-Njigba was looked at as a possible Round 1 receiver entering the year, but he’s only played in two games total in 2022—accumulating four receptions for 36 yards while injuring and seemingly re-aggravating his hamstring. Julian Fleming is another draft-eligible receiver who has found some production this season putting up over 200 yards receiving and five touchdowns halfway through the schedule. Fleming is a former five-star recruit and No. 1 overall receiver in his class. If Smith-Njigba can’t go, keep an eye on Fleming.

Underclassmen Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. are two studs to watch at wideout for future draft classes.

Deciphering the pecking order—WR Jonathan Mingo (Ole Miss) vs. Mekhi Garner (LSU)

The 2023 NFL Draft prospects are aligning and two mid-round prospects will be going at it in a matchup that could ultimately help decide the pecking order of where these two prospects are eventually drafted in April.

It’s not the biggest “wow” matchup of the week, but it’s important to take note of head-to-heads such as these in the grand scheme. Mingo and Garner are in very similar draft range right now.

Mingo is a big, physical athlete at the position who has a body type resembling former Ole Miss star A.J. Brown. Garner is a big, physical specimen in his own right who has no problem using his frame to his advantage. Ole Miss is not a high-volume passing attack, but this is a must-watch matchup to determine who stands where in the grand scheme of things.

Another battle on the boundary—WR Rashee Rice (SMU) vs. CB Arquon Bush (Cincinnati)

Rice continues to post insane numbers and is on pace for 1,500 yards receiving in 2022, while Bush is a veteran corner for the Bearcats who has an opportunity to compete in the Senior Bowl at the end of the season if all goes right for him. Rice has been borderline unstoppable in 2022 and Bush will look to put an end to his reign.

Game of the Week

No. 9 UCLA @ No. 10 Oregon

Saturday, 3:30 PM Eastern


We’ve already given the rundown on what to expect from UCLA and Oregon tonight. The Bruins coming in with a red-hot offense and Oregon’s ability to maximize their player pool on the defensive side of the ball are two of the key storylines. Let’s talk what each team brings from a prospect standpoint.

When the Bruins are on offense, it’s the steps taken by quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson that have allowed this team to make a dramatic leap in success this season.

But make no mistake—running back Zach Charbonnet is still the MVP of this team. He’s on pace for back-to-back 1,200-yard rushing seasons and is putting up remarkable numbers for the position as a receiving back, and he’s poised to tally over 20 receptions and 250 yards this year.

Guard Jon Gaines II is an effective move piece for the Bruins who displays above-average athleticism and enough anchor to be a quality prospect at the next level.

Wide receiver Jake Bobo is an intriguing player for the Bruins at 6’5” and 215 pounds. He’s having a nice season.

On the Ducks’ defense, it’s the headliners of linebacker Noah Sewell and cornerback Christian Gonzalez. Two of the most unique prospects in college football, Sewell is suped up with a compact frame and plenty of stopping power. His ability to finish tackles without being shed remains a question mark. Gonzalez is a tall, long, freaky athlete who quietly transferred over from Colorado. Both players have first-round traits, with Sewell’s stock slipping some in 2022.

Justin Flowe is another linebacker and former touted recruit who will get plenty of reps in this game alongside Sewell.

Brandon Dorlus is a defensive lineman with plenty of versatility for the Ducks’ defense. He can stand up, shade the outside shoulder of offensive tackles, or play all the way down to a three-technique. He offers plus-athleticism for his size at 290 pounds, and should be a factor in this game.

When the Ducks take to the offensive side of the ball, left tackle T.J. Bass is the best man on the Ducks’ offensive line. He plays left tackle for the Ducks, but his likely home in the NFL is at guard. His quality performance manning the blindside shows how versatile the senior is on the line.

The Bruins have one of the best stories in college football on their side of the defense this Saturday. Edge rusher Laiatu Latu is amongst the nation’s leaders in sacks with 6.5 in six games. Latu was medically disqualified by Washington in 2020 and 2021 due to a neck injury he suffered while with the Huskies. While his neck will surely be a concern for NFL teams, his play has put him squarely on the map with NFL teams wanting to learn more.

Darius Muasau is a senior linebacker to know for the Bruins who transferred over from Hawaii this past offseason. Muasau makes a ton of tackles for his team.