Watch NFLPA Collegiate Bowl director of college scouting Dane Vandernat discusses some of the marquee matchups for college football in conference championship week, along with some prospects that the NFLPA Bowl will be keeping tabs on, as he joined Ric Serritella and 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: Western Kentucky at UTSA, Friday, December 3rd, 7:00 pm
Two very successful programs will face off in the Alamodome on Friday night, in order to determine the Conference USA championship. UTSA had their miraculous season interrupted last week, as they lost against North Texas for their first loss of the season. To bounce back, the Roadrunners will look to rally around athletically gifted cornerback Tariq Woolen, as they look to slow down Western Kentucky’s explosive offense. Quarterback Bailey Zappe leads the country in passing yards and passing touchdowns.
Featured Game: #9 Baylor vs #5 Oklahoma State, Saturday, December 4th, 12:00 pm
Both teams competing in the Big12 championship game have exceeded expectations being ranked in the top ten this late in the season. In his second year at the helm, head coach Dave Aranda has built a squad that wins by running the ball and playing tough defense. Oklahoma State will have to stop the two-headed Baylor rushing attack in the form of Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner. When the Cowboys are on offense at AT&T Stadium, they are going to see plenty of Jalen Pitre, who is an instinctive defensive back who is always around the football.
Playoff hopes are on the line for this one, as the Cincinnati Bearcats look to make history and claim a spot as the first non power five team in the eight-year history of the playoff format. They will be led by quarterback Desmond Ridder, who is a strong-armed passer with outstanding leadership. His favorite target Alec Pierce has finally been healthy and able to show how dominant he can be all season. To slow them down, the Houston Cougars have to rely on their playmakers at cornerback. Damarion Williams and Marcus Jones need to prevail or Houston will have a problem.
*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 Ric Serritella and Lorenz Leinweber on Sports Illustrated!