Good morning New York Giants fans!
Bowl Season rolls on as we get closer to New Years and the biggest games in Bowl Season. We have four games to watch today and while none of them feature powerhouses, we could get some good games.
There will also be draftable players on the field in each game, with an inordinate number of intriguing safeties — as well as a player who will be one of the most intriguing non-draft storylines of the 2023 offseason in Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall.
Use this as your open thread for today’s bowl games.
Georgia Southern (6-6) at Buffalo (6-6)
ESPN - noon
There likely won’t be any highly drafted players among these two 6-6 squads. However, teams will be doing their due diligence, and these are the games where late-round gems are often found.
The match-up to watch in this game will likely be between Georgia Southern running back Jalen White and Buffalo linebacker James Patterson (not the author).
White has solid sized (6-foot, 215 pounds) and seems to have improved in each of his three years as both a runner and receiver. James Patterson is the twin brother of Jaret Patterson, and has the reputation of being a high-motor, downhill linebacker. He’ll need to prove his ability to play in space at the next level, but he could be a sleeper to watch.
SERVPRO First Responders Bowl
Memphis (6-6) at Utah State (6-6)
ESPN - 3:15 p.m.
Our second game of the day features another pair of (relatively) small-school 6-6 teams, but this game will likely draw the eye of Joe Schoen and Wink Martindale.
Both Memphis and Utah State feature intriguing safeties who could help bolster the back end of the Giants’ defense.
On the Utah State side of things is Hunter Reynolds, who has spent the last two years at Utah State after playing at Michigan for three years prior to transferring. Reynolds is coming off of a breakout season at free safety, racking up 88 tackles, seven passes defensed, three interceptions, and a 55-yard fumble recovery touchdown.
Memphis senior Quindell Johnson is a versatile safety who can play the deep center, deep half, or even line up in man coverage. He’s physical, aggressive, and a smooth athlete who has been a playmaker for Memphis since his freshman year year. A strong Combine could see Johnson drafted as early as the second day, if not early on Day 3.
Ticketmaster Birmingham Bowl
Coastal Carolina (9-3) at East Carolina (7-5)
ESPN - 6:45 p.m.
The player to watch this game is undoubtedly Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall. McCall owns pretty much all of Coastal’s records and been one of the most productive — and winningest — players in all of college football since 2019. Over the last four years he’s racked up a combined 9,072 yards and 96 touchdowns to just 16 turnovers (eight fumbles, eight interceptions).
While he won’t be going to the NFL this year, this will be McCall’s last game at Coastal, as he’s entered the transfer portal. Coastal runs a triple-option offense, and McCall likely needs to prove to NFL scouts that he can play in a more Pro Style offense.
Coastal receiver Sam Pinckney could also draw the eye of Giants’ fans as a big-bodied (6-foot-4, 210 pound) receiver with the ability expand his catch radius and make plays around defensive backs.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Wisconsin (6-6) at Oklahoma State (7-5)
ESPN - 10:15 p.m.
Neither of these teams will be at full strength, as both have a number of players who have entered the transfer portal and won’t be suiting up for this game.
Of the draft-eligible players who will be playing, the Giants might (once again) find themselves drawn to the safety position.
We’ll start with Wisconsin safety John Torchio. In addition to being an All Name Team candidate, Torchio is a big (6-foot-1, 210 pound) safety with the versatility to stop the run as a box defender as well as play in space as a coverage safety. Torchio’s character could also stand out to teams who made the most of his opportunity as a walk-on and has emerged as a leader for Wisconsin.
Oklahoma State’s Jason Taylor II is similarly sized (6-foot, 215 pounds), and is coming off a true breakout season with 87 tackles (72 solo), seven passes defensed, and six interceptions. Taylor might not have the range to be a middle-fielding single-high safety, but his instincts would play well in Cover 2 or Cover 4 shells, while his size and physicality will let him play strong safety in Cover 1 or Cover 3.