Watch NFLPA Collegiate Bowl director of college scouting Dane Vandernat discuss some of the marquee matchups for college football in Week nine, along with some prospects that the NFLPA Bowl will be keeping tabs on, as he joined Lorenz Leinweber during ‘The State of Football’ show on Sports Illustrated.
Below are some of the highly contested games that NFL scouts will be sure to pay close attention to this weekend:
Featured Game: #6 Michigan at #8 Michigan State, Saturday, October 30th, 12:00 pm
What a matchup as the battle of Michigan is kicking off at noon with playoff implications on the line. The Spartans are looking to get their prolific offense back on track after a struggle against Indiana. The key to that happening will be the right side of their offensive line around veteran players AJ Arcuri and Kevin Jarvis. On the other side, the Wolverines have one of the best defensive lines in the country around future first-round pick Aidan Hutchinson, Donovan Jeter and Jordan Whittley. Both teams are unbeaten for a reason and the trenches may decide this exciting matchup.
Featured Game: Texas at #16 Baylor, Saturday, Saturday, October 30th, 12:00 pm
Staying with the theme of in-state battles, the Baylor Bears must be one of the surprises of the season. A huge part of their 6-1 record has been workhorse running back Abram Smith who started four games at linebacker at the end of last season, leading the team in tackles over that span. Through the air, matchups between Baylor receivers Tyquan Thornton and RJ Sneed against Texas defensive backs Josh Thompson and D’Shawn Jamison will be scrutinized by scouts around the country.
Featured Game: Duke at #13 Wake Forest, Saturday, October 30th, 4:00 pm
Coming fresh off a 70 point scoring day against Army, the Demon Deacons offense will try to stay hot against a Duke defense led by feisty cornerbacks Leonard Johnson and Joshua Blackwell. Top target Jaquarii Roberson will have his work cut out against those two. In the trenches, the battle between Jack Wohlabaugh for Duke and Miles Fox for Wake Forest is shaping up to be a good one.
Featured Game: #19 SMU at Houston, Saturday, October 30th, 7:00 pm
The SMU Mustangs rode their explosive offense to their 7-0 record. A 6-1 Houston team is their biggest test to date and will show how good they really are. The Cougars have star cornerback Damarion Williams to try and limit receivers Danny Gray and Reggie Roberson while defensive lineman Logan Hall has to bring pressure and force quick throws early and often.
*For more insight on the 2022 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl process, including players who have caught our attention, be sure to tune in to ‘The State of Football’ every Thursday at 9:00 am eastern time, as executive director Dane Vandernat joins Lorenz Leinweber on Sports Illustrated!