The Week 2 matchups had us licking our chops for what was to come throughout the day in college football. While this week doesn’t promise the same kind of hype, there are still plenty of opportunities for programs around the country to keep our eye on. There are zero ranked matchups, but surely this could stand to be the week of the upset in 2023.
With that being said, let’s talk about three player matchups to watch this week along with our game-of-the-week selection. The comments section is yours to talk about what games you’re watching throughout your Saturday.
Western Kentucky WR Malachi Corley vs Ohio State
One of the best receivers in college football gets a chance for his banner day against an elite tier program on Saturday as the Hilltoppers face off against the Buckeyes. Corley is a senior who put up monstrous numbers in 2022, but he was injured in the team’s first game of 2023. It’s being reported by On3 that Corley is expected back and ready to go for this game against Ohio State on a national stage. He had nearly 1,300 yards receiving a year ago. This is a player with legitimate juice and enough talent to make this contest closer than one might thing at first glance.
Tennessee QB Joe Milton and WR Bru McCoy vs Florida CB Jason Marshall
The Volunteers decided to roll with caution in 2022, starting quarterback Hendon Hooker over Joe Milton throughout the season. Hooker was the more accurate passer with better processing ability than Milton. Hooker is off to the NFL, and now it’s Milton getting the nod for the Vols. Milton has a rocket-launcher arm with size and physical tools you can’t teach. A huge knock on Milton has been his inability to create touch and change ball speed. Processing has also been an issue for him as he’s had his fair share of meltdown performances in his career that have led to him being yanked from starting duties despite the upside. He gets his first crack at SEC competition in 2023.
Bru McCoy is one of Milton’s top targets and he’s likely the best receiving prospect on the team after the departures of Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman. McCoy has a bulky frame and hasn’t gotten off to a great start statistically in 2023. He will have a big opportunity to fortify himself in the 2024 NFL Draft class of receivers against Florida.
McCoy is likely to draw Florida’s top corner Jason Marshall at times in this contest. Marshall is a player with plenty of tools who matches up well with McCoy on paper from a size and speed standpoint. Florida is a bit down this year so Marshall will likely need to have a big day to give the Gators an opportunity to pull off the upset in Gainesville.
South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler vs. Georgia’s Defense
The Gamecocks’ offensive line has been nothing short of terrible in 2023, giving up 10 sacks and 23 tackles for loss in two games. Nine and 16 of those respectively came against North Carolina. Seven tackles for loss came against Furman. South Carolina is playing their best defense yet as they face off against the No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Despite not having much of a chance to make anything happen at times, Rattler remains composed and playing quite well this season. He’s over 80% completion percentage on the year and nearly 700 yards passing and no interceptions, despite the ridiculous amount of heat he’s taking.
There’s a chance that Rattler is just a sitting duck behind this offensive line in Week 3. If given any sort of time, keep an eye out for Rattler’s play. He’s largely been counted out as an NFL prospect, but the first two weeks show you can’t count him out just yet.
This may not be Georgia’s most dominant defense they’ve ever had, but they’re really strong up the middle with Nazir Stackhouse, Warren Brinson, and Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins manning the defensive tackle spot. Linebackers Smael Mondon and Jamon Dumas-Johnson have a case for the best duo in the country. The Bulldogs only have one sack this season so they’ll be looking to change that against the Gamecocks in a big way.
Game of the Week
No. 11 Tennessee @ Florida
Saturday, 7:00 PM EDT
You probably won’t find a more underwhelming game of the week in 2023, but this SEC showdown has plenty of intrigue surrounding it and both programs have some question marks entering the contest making it the choice for this week.
When Florida is on the offensive side of the ball, keep an eye out for wide receiver Ricky Pearsall and center Kingsley Eguakun. Pearsall is, by far, Florida’s most talented draft eligible pass catcher. He’s going to be a big factor if the Gators are going to move the ball and potentially win this game. Eguakun is yet to play this season after a preseason injury, but he’s set to start for the first time in 2023 for this matchup.
On defense for Tennessee, cornerback Kamal Hadden already has five pass breakups and an interception this season. Hadden leads a secondary that’s supported by Doneiko Slaughter — a player I enjoyed watching this summer on tape. Tyler Baron is an impactful defensive end for the Vols.
When Tennessee is on offense, we already mentioned Milton’s high end talent along with McCoy. Miami transfer John Campbell Jr. gets the start at left tackle and Gerald Mincey at right. Both are firmly on the NFL Draft radar entering this season.
Those two will have to line up with Florida’s talented pass rusher Princely Umanmielen who is a pass-rush specialist for the Gators. The aforementioned Jason Marshall Jr. leads the back end of the Florida defense, a unit looking for its first interception of the season.
This game will put a stamp on just how good (or bad) each of these teams with major question marks are as we hit the quarter point of the season.