Happy Saturday New York Giants fans!
The college football regular season is coming into the home stretch. Some of the best games of the year are scheduled for the end of the season as teams jockey for position as the nation prepares for Bowl Season.
Set against that as a background, the very best teams in the country are vying to be one of the four selected to have the chance to play for the College Football Championship.
We have a terrific schedule of games today.
As you can see, it's almost impossible to go wrong today. So if there isn't a game or player you particularly want to see, just pick a channel at random, and enjoy!
But, the game that stands out is a rare treat for those of us on the east coast.
USC at Oregon (ESPN, 3:30) - USC gets more games that are conveniently viewable in the east than most PAC 12 teams, but all to often we have to stay up until 10:30 or so just to watch kickoff. Getting to see these two teams in the middle of the afternoon is a nice change of pace, and it should be a good game. On the Oregon sideline, the prospect to watch is massive defensive end DeForest Buckner. At 6-7, 290 he looks purpose-built to be a defensive end in a 3-4, but he should have the ability to slide inside and play the 3-technique like Chris Canty. Also keep an eye out for Bralon Addison on the Oregon offense. He's this year's sparkplug for the Ducks' offense, with the speed and agility to be a big play threat every time he touches the ball.
On the USC sideline, watch Su'a Cravens. Cravens is another of the "New Age" linebacker/safety hybrid that is becoming ever more popular with college defenses. At 6-1, 220 pounds, he straddles the line between defensive back and linebacker, using his size to attack the line of scrimmage and his athleticism to defend spread offenses in space. In many respects, Cravens is similar to Giants' rookie Landon Collins.
Memphis at Temple (ESPN-U, 12:00) - Why am I talking about these two teams? Because this is one of the places the Giants' scouts are credentialed. The top prospect in the game is Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, who's size, athleticism, and arm talent have scouts drooling. However the Giants' point of view, the prospect to watch is Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich. Matakevich doesn't have the ideal blend of size and athleticism, at most he is 6-1, 235, but he is a "football player". He uses his understanding of the game to take accurate steps to blow up offensive plays almost as they happen. He is also a very physical player, regularly stacking and shedding blockers and delivering punishing -- and technically sound -- tackles. Matakevich has the reputation of being a tremendously hard worker, in the gym, on the practice field, and in the film room, and as the unquestioned leader of the Temple Owles.
So far Matakevich has 96 tackles, four sacks, 11.5 TFLs, 5 passes defensed, and 5 interceptions on the year. He is only four tackles away from becoming just the 7th player in FBS history to record 100 tackles in four straight seasons. Seeing him against one of the -- current -- top quarterback prospects should make for an interesting match-up.
TCU at Oklahoma (ABC, 8:00) - Two more teams we haven't talked about much, but are much bigger programs. TCU had been one of the top ranked teams to start the year, but saw their stock drop as the year progressed, but on the flip side, Oklahoma has been steadily rising throughout the year as they have continued to out-play expectations. On TCU, Josh Doctson is the prospect to watch. The wide receiver has a tall, lanky build, but what he has terrific ball skills and is a natural hands catcher.
From Oklahoma we have a pair of linebackers to watch, ILB Dominique Alexander and OLB Eric Striker. Striker, who is something of an enigma to NFL scouts. At 6-0, 220 pounds he has size more in line with a strong safety, but he is a dedicated pass rusher, who will come after quarterbacks from either side and from both a 2 and 3 point stance. He has the athletic ability to land in the first two days of the draft, but the team that drafts him will need to do so with a clear plan in mind.
Now let's sit back, and enjoy the pre-Thanksgiving smorgasbord of games!