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2022 College football Week 2: A quarterback duel in the swamp?

Your college football Saturday open thread

Syndication: The Courier-Journal Matt Stone/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Good morning, New York Giants fans!

Happy Saturday and welcome to Week 2 of the 2022 college football regular season. The start of college’s regular season always leads to a slate of games that’s “uneven” to say the least. Some teams schedule relatively easy matchups against small-school opponents to ease into their schedule. Other teams, meanwhile, schedule tough games in a bid to improve their resume for Bowl games or the College Football Playoffs.

Giants’ GM Joe Schoen will be on the scouting trail again this week. He told Art Stapleton that he has a “double header” planned for today, personally scouting two games before flying to Tennessee for tomorrow’s season opener against the Tennessee Titans.

This week we have three games between ranked teams, and one of them could feature a duel between future first round quarterbacks.

Let’s get to the games.

Kickoff to watch

Texas vs. (1) Alabama

Fox - noon

Update: Giants’ GM Joe Schoen was spotted in attendance at the game.

Nick Saban’s Alabama team is stacked — that’s pretty much an evergreen statement right there.

They have NFL caliber players at just about every position, and my usual advice to just watch them, enjoy the game, and take note of whoever steps up stands. That said, it’s worth paying special attention to Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.

Young is knocked for having less than ideal size, but he’s still one of the best passers in the country and is in a tight battle for QB1 in upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. Young is athletic, has enough arm strength, great accuracy and anticipation, and processes the game at lightning speed. He’s also shown the ability to be “clutch” and rise to the occasion in big moments.

On the other side of the field, the Texas Longhorns have a lot of talent for an unranked team and could give Alabama a real early-season test. At the very least, if everyone plays as well as their preseason projections, we could hear a lot more players from Texas announced at the Draft than in recent years.

Spotlight game

(12) Florida vs. (20) Kentucky

ESPN - 7 p.m.

There are three games between ranked opponents this weekend, but this is the one everyone suddenly circled on their calendar. Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson was the talk of the scouting community after his Week 1 performance in Florida’s surprise upset of seventh-ranked Utah. It’s probably an over-reaction and recency bias, but Richardson has garnered so much attention that Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network vaulted him all the way up to QB1 in his latest mock draft.

Personally, I think moving Richardson over proven passers C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young on the strength of one game is an interesting move for a player about whom the chief criticism is a small sample size. But maybe this is the start of a Burrow-esque season and rise up draft boards.

But Richardson isn’t the only quarterback in this game that scouts are eager to watch. Kentucky’s Will Levis has been a favorite among “Way-Too-Early” mock drafters since back in May. Levis’ size, athleticism, and arm strength have been compared to Buffalo’s Josh Allen, so it’s little surprise that he’s been one of the most common early picks for the Giants in mock drafts. There’s more tape on Levis than on Richardson, but he still only has one year under his belt. It’s rare that we get to see a game featuring two (potential) first round quarterbacks, each going against a ranked opponent in the regular season. That makes this a game worth watching for that reason alone.

As of this writing we don’t know which two games Joe Schoen will be scouting, but it’s a fair guess that this is one of them.

He was at the Week 1 game between Ohio State and Notre Dame, two ranked opponents with a top QB on the field. This is another game between ranked opponents and potential top quarterbacks.

Update: Schoen was indeed scouting this game in person after scouting the match-up between Alabama and Texas earlier in the day. As it so happens, three of the Giants’ brass are in attendance.

Players to watch


  • QB Anthony Richardson
  • G O’Cyrus Torrence
  • WR Justin Shorter
  • EDGE Brenton Cox Jr.
  • iDL Gervon Dexter
  • S Trey Dean III
  • S Rashad Torrence II


  • QB Will Levis
  • RB Chris Rodriguez
  • WR Tayvion Robinson
  • G Tashawn Manning
  • EDGE J.J. Weaver
  • LB DeAndre Square
  • LB Jaquez Jones

Sleeper game

(16) Arkansas vs. South Carolina

ESPN - noon

If, for some reason, you don’t want to watch Alabama take on Texas, this game could make for valuable scouting tape once the 2023 draft process gets going.

South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler didn’t get off to a good start in his season-opening win over Georgia State. He completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 227 yards and a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions. Now he’ll face a much better defense and a ranked opponent.

Rattler will have to watch out for Arkansas safety Jalen Catalon, who could be a first-rounder by the time April 2023 rolls around.

South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith also have a good opponent in WR Jaden Haselwood. The Oklahoma transfer is big and physical, which will match strength and against strength. The Giants might be in need of an outside corner for 2023 and beyond, and Smith could catch Wink Martindale’s eye.

Other games to watch

(17) Pittsburgh vs. (24) Tennessee
3:30 p.m. - ABC

(19) Wisconsin vs. Washington State
3:30 p.m. - Fox

Stanford vs. (10) USC
7:30 p.m. - ABC

(21) BYU vs. (9) Baylor
10:15 p.m. - ESPN