This is it.
This is the end of the College Football regular season for most teams — some will have conference championship games to go to from here. But then its all over but the waiting as the selection committee decides who will be in the College Football Playoffs, and which bowl-eligible teams get to play in which bowl games.
But today we still have football to watch, and here are a couple games worth watching.
Florida vs. LSU (1:00pm, SEC Network)
How this game isn’t on a major network is beyond me, and honestly, this might be the best game this weekend.
We’ll start on the visiting sideline, and the Florida Gators have high-level talent at every level of their defense. Caleb Brantley commands attention up front. An athletic and disruptive defensive tackle, Brantley should have a home in the NFL at the 3-technique in a four man front. Behind Brantley is linebacker Jarrad Davis who is in the conversation for top inside linebacker in the country. His football IQ, instincts, and athleticism let him fly to the ball, rarely taking a false step before committing. Davis plays with a controlled aggression and physicality that is refreshing to see. Capping off the defense is cornerback Teez Tabor, who is in the conversation for top corner in the country.
We would be talking about his runningmate Marcus Maye at free safety as well, but one of the very best corner/safety tandems in college football was broken up when Maye went down with a broken arm last week.
LSU has their own share of NFL talent too.
Everyone knows about Leonard Fournette, who is probably the most physically dominating runners in college. While there is some debate whether he or Florida State’s Dalvin Cook will be the first running back taken, Fournette’s physical abilities are beyond reproach and he is being compared to Adrien Peterson as a prospect.
On the LSU defense, safety Jamal Adams is the do-it-all star of their secondary, playing free safety, strong safety, and even nickel corner. Next to him Tre’Davious White is a solid cornerback as well. He might not have the height/weight/speed combination that the NFL wants to see from first round corners, but he is fluid and talented.
In the middle of the LSU is linebacker Kendell Beckwith. Beckwith is a three-down linebacker in college, but a limited athlete for the NFL. He might be better suited in a traditional 3-4 defense where he won’t have to cover as much ground as in a 4-3 or Under front, but he is a smart, savvy football player, and physical when it comes to defending the run.
Missouri vs. Tennessee (3:30pm, CBS)
Turning from one set of Tigers to another, let’s take a look at the Mizzou squad.
As has become customary for Missouri, their defense features a passrusher that will likely be highly drafted. They seem to feature a never-ending pipeline of pass-rushing talent, from Sheldon Richardson, to Kony Ealy, to Marcus Golden and Shane Ray, Mizzou has produced a line of top-flight pass rushers. Defensive end / outside linebcker Charles Harris looks to be the next in line. He got off to a slow start to the season, with just five tackles in his first two games, but had a break-out three sack, seven tackle game against Georgia. A bit undersized at 6-3, 260, Harris is a former two sport athlete (he played basketball in high school) with an explosive first step and is able to beat most tackles around the corner.
On the other sideline is another great defensive end, Derek Barnett. Barnett has not only been remarkably productive, with 42 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss, and 10 sacks on the season, but remarkably consistent. He has had three straight seasons with at least 10 sacks, and his 2015 campaign ended with 69 tackles, 12.5 for a loss, and 10 sacks.
Barnett is a well-rounded defensive end who plays the run as well as rushes the passer (as his tackle numbers suggest). And while he is athletic with a good first step, he doesn’t have Harris’ pure explosiveness. Barnett wins with a combination of power, hand usage, and impressive flexibility for a stockier 6-3, 270lb defensive end.
It would also be worthwhile to pay attention to cornerback Cameron Sutton. A bit on the small side at 5-11, 186, he has fluid movement skills and good hands to defend (or intercept) passes. Despite his size, Sutton is comfortable in press-man coverage and is a sound tackler.
After the Giants’ fourth straight win they would be drafting at 23rd overall if the season ended today. I will once again be using the CBS Sports Big Board to make my selections, drafting players ranked within five spots of where the Giants are drafting.
Round 1 - 23rd Overall
Ryan Ramczyck (OT, Wisconsin, 29th overall) - There were three directions I could have gone here. First was Charles Harris of Mizzou to add the speed rusher the Giants’ defense needs. Second was tight end Bucky Hodges to give Eli Manning a big and freaky-athletic target in the receiving game and the complete tight end the Giants’ offense needs.
But I opted to go with Ramczyck. He has the size the Giants like at offensive tackle at 6-5, 315 with long arms, and is very athletic. Ramczyck is a natural knee bender with smooth feet in pass protection and as a Wisconsin lineman, knows how to create movement in the run game. He might only have one year at the FBS level, but he has taken to it well and hit the ground running.
While Bobby Hart has been a solid tackle for the Giants, I still think he would be better inside with another year to build his “man” body. Drafting Ramczyck gives the Giants a big, athletic, and MEAN bookend tackles, and lets them move Hart inside once John Jerry’s time with the Giants is over, giving them an entirely home-grown, young, and athletic offensive line. A line that can be the foundation for life after Eli.
Round 2 - 55th Overall
Dawuane Smoot (EDGE, Illinois, 53rd overall) - I passed on Charles Harris in the first round, but the Giants still need that explosive speed rusher for their defense. Smoot is an under the radar prospect, but his first step, flexibility to get under blockers, and rip move are intriguing.
Defensive captain under Lovie Smith, Smoot should have a sound understanding of what he is in for at the NFL level and should be in position to contribute right away in rush situations. His motor never seems to slow down and he reportedly has a very strong work ethic.
At 6-3, 255 Smoot isn’t as big as the Giants have typically liked their defensive ends. That being said, his size, speed (a high school track star about 50 pounds ago), and ability to sharply turn the corner toward passers remind of Osi Umenyiora — which is exactly what this defense needs to turn pressures into sacks.
Round 3 - 87th Overall
Davis Webb (QB, Cal 87th overall) - With Ryan Nassib likely leaving after the 2016 season to try a situation where he might be able to be a starting quarterback, the Giants will likely want to invest in a new back-up quarterback.
Webb has all the tools to be an NFL quarterback at 6-5, 230 with an absolutely live arm, and that will get him drafted on the first two days. However, coming from the Texas Tech and Cal “Bear Raid” offenses, he will need time and development before he is ready to take the reigns of an NFL offense for an extended period of time. He will need to learn how to run a huddle, take snaps from under center, and an NFL quarterback’s footwork. That being said, he would have Eli Manning and Ben McAdoo to learn from
Round 4 - 119th Overall
Montravius Adams (DT, Auburn, 124th overall) - I still want to add some depth to the Giants’ defensive line, and they could use a quick interior pass rusher. While Carl Lawson gets the recognition as Auburn’s most disruptive pass rusher, Adams is disruptive in his own right, with 8 tackles for a loss, four sacks, and a pair of batted passes to his credit this season.
With Jay Bromley entering the final year of his rookie contract, the Giants might be looking for another natural three technique for their defensive line rotation. At 6-3, 309, Adams is perfectly suited for that role; carrying his weight well he has first-round quality first step to attack gaps and penetrate upfield.
There have been some questions about his work ethic or conditioning, which is likely why he’s available this late, but there were those same questions about Johnathan Hankins.