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College Football Bowl Season - Round one of the College Football Playoffs

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Players to watch in today’s bowl games

SEC Championship - Georgia v LSU Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Good morning and happy Saturday New York Giants fans! Welcome to one of the biggest days of the year on the college football calendar. Whether you are a college football fan or just want to start to get to know some of the top prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft, you will have plenty of reasons to spend today on the couch.

The first round of the College Football Playoffs starts today at 4pm with the Peach Bowl and is followed by the Fiesta Bowl at 8pm. Each of these should be excellent games, and you should expect to see just about every player on the field in the NFL at some point in the next four year — these teams are that good.

But while those will be the headliners of the day, we have two other games at noon which should give you a very solid pair of options to start your afternoon.

Camping World Bowl - Iowa State vs (15) Notre Dame

ABC - Noon

Unfortunately, the best prospect on either team won’t be playing. That is EDGE Julian Okwara (younger brother of former Giant and current Detroit Lions EDGE Romeo Okwara), who was lost for the season to a fractured fibula back in November. Notre Dame still has plenty of good prospects, even with Okwara out — notably, TE Cole Kmet received a 2nd round grade from the advisory board, but hasn’t been on the national radar much.

On the Iowa State side of things, their defense might be the thing to watch. Not the players on their defense, but the scheme itself. Last year they lost to Washington State by just 2 points in the Alamo Bowl, but their “Air Raid Killer” defense held the high-powered Washington State offense to just 28 points. Considering how Spread and Air Raid concepts are taking over the NFL, getting familiar with Iowa State’s “3-3-3” defense might be smart.

Players To Watch

Iowa State

  • Deshaunte Jones (WR)
  • Breece Hall (RB)

Notre Dame

  • Khalid Kareem (EDGE)
  • Daelin Hayes (EDGE)
  • Chase Claypool (WR)
  • Cole Kmet (TE)
  • Alohi Gilman (S)
  • Jalen Elliott (S)
  • Troy Pride Jr. (CB)
  • Tommy Kreamer (iOL) *questionable with a sprained MCL

Cotton Bowl Classic - (10) Penn State vs. (17) Memphis

ESPN - Noon

If you’re looking for a battle between ranked teams, this is the noon game to watch. Memphis has quietly been building a strong program over the last few years. Penn State should be expected to win this game, but a strong showing (or win) by Memphis would further help their recruiting and provide another building block as they work to become a power in college football.

Penn State, meanwhile, didn’t have the year they had hoped. An upset loss to Minnesota early in November likely knocked them out of contention for the College Football Playoffs, and a loss to Ohio State two weeks later sealed the deal. They are still a strong program with plenty of future NFL players. The player to watch here is Penn State Yetur Gross-Matos, who has already announced his intentions to forego his senior season for the 2020 NFL draft. He should be one of the top rated EDGE prospects after Chase Young.

Players To Watch

Memphis

  • Bryce Huff (LB)
  • Dustin Woodard (iOL)
  • Patrick Taylor Jr. (RB)
  • Damonte Coxie (WR)

Penn State

  • Yetur Gross-Matos (EDGE)
  • K.J. Hammler (WR) *red-shirt sophomore
  • John Reid (CB)
  • Cameron Brown (LB)
  • Tariq Castro-Fields (CB)
  • Robert Windsor (iDL)

Peach Bowl - (1) LSU vs. (4) Oklahoma

ESPN - 4pm

This game could, potentially, feature the first two quarterbacks drafted in April. LSU’s Joe Burrow all but has the first overall pick wrapped up after an incredible senior campaign in LSU’s new pass-oriented offense. Jalen Hurts, meanwhile, has been reborn since transferring from Alabama to Oklahoma. He has thrived as both a passer and a runner under Lincoln Riley. Teams across the league have likely already fallen in love with Hurts as a young man. But with players like Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahommes, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray forcing teams to reconsider the viability of “Dual Threat” quarterbacks at the NFL level, Hurts could see his draft stock skyrocket from where it was when he lost his starting job to Tua Tagovailoa.

Oh, and there are also a bevy of future NFL players at the other positions on the field too

Players To Watch

Oklahoma

  • Jalen Hurts (QB)
  • Kenneth Murray (LB)
  • Caleb Kelly (LB)
  • Neville Gallimore (iDL)
  • Creed Humphrey (iOL) *red-shirt sophomore
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR)

LSU

  • Joe Burrow (QB)
  • Grant Delpit (S)
  • Kristian Fulton (CB)
  • Jacob Phillips (OBLB)
  • K’Lavon Chaisson (EDGE)
  • Rashard Lawrence (iDL)
  • Glen Logan (iDL)
  • Lloyd Cushenberry III (iOL)
  • Justin Jefferson (WR)
  • Travis Etienne (RB)

Fiesta Bowl - (2) Ohio State vs. (3) Clemson

ESPN - 8pm

This game has the potential to be one of the very best of the year, and could easily have been a Championship match-up if the ACC had been stronger this year. Instead we get this game in the first round instead of having to wait, so we’re the real winners here.

Chase Young will obviously be the player everyone is watching for the upcoming draft — he hasn’t yet declared but it would be stunning move for him to go back to school — but the reality is that this game is absolutely loaded with NFL players on all sides of the ball. And while Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence won’t be draft eligible until next year, this game will likely be widely referenced by scouts in next year’s evaluations.

Players To Watch

Clemson

  • Travis Etienne (RB)
  • Tee Higgins (WR)
  • Tremayne Anchrum (OL)
  • Gage Cervenka (OG)
  • John Simpson (OG)
  • Isaiah Simmons (OBLB)
  • A.J. Terrell (CB)
  • Tanner Muse (S/LB)
  • K’Von Wallace (S)

Ohio State

  • Chase Young (EDGE)
  • Jeffrey Okudah (CB)
  • Shaun Wade (CB) *red-shirt sophomore
  • Damon Arnette (CB)
  • Jordan Fuller (S)
  • Malik Harrison (LB)
  • Baron Browning (LB)
  • Tuf Borland (LB)
  • Robert Landers (iDL)
  • Davon Hamilton (iDL)
  • Branden Bowen (OT)
  • K.J. Hill (WR)
  • Binjimen Victor (WR)
  • J.K. Dobbins (RB)