NCAA Preview: Week 12
After last week’s slew of upsets, it’s difficult to imagine this coming Saturday raising heart rates nationally to the same degree as last, especially with draft darlings Myles Garrett and Jonathan Allen facing lackluster Week 12 competition as their squads tune-up for their final games of the year. Luckily, our draft hearts are big and our draft crushes are many - here are a few matchups and players to watch:
(21) Florida at (16) LSU (10:00 AM PST - SECN)
This much discussed rescheduled game has the Gators heading to Louisiana to play a Tigers team that has turned things around since firing of Les Miles. The obvious name to watch here is Leonard Fournette, and he’s been the name to watch for a couple of years now. He’s questionable for the game, but the junior running back is averaging 6.9 yards every time he touches the ball. If his ankle’s right, so too will LSU’s offense be.
Florida’s obvious goal will be stopping Fournette if he plays - unfortunately they’ll do so without injured linebacker Jarrad Davis. Add that to the loss of safety Marcus Maye and the Gators’ terrible QB play and things look good for the Tigers.
(12) Western Michigan vs. Buffalo (12:30 PM PST- ESPN U)
If you’re thinking the undefeated hosts of College Gameday are receiving too much attention for a small school, take this opportunity to familiarize yourself with Corey Davis. The 6’3” receiver has been turning heads across the country from quaint Kalamazoo for as long as Fournette’s done so from Baton Rouge - even earning a visit from our friend Trent Baalke earlier this year. While I can’t say I’d want Trent back in Santa Clara next year, I’d be happy to see Corey in red and gold.
Virginia Tech at Notre Dame (12:30 PM PST - NBC)
After Notre Dame’s opening weekend loss to Texas, the draft buzz surrounding Deshone Kizer was deafening, and despite quieting to a volume more appropriate for a dinner party, he continues to play well. Statistically, he’s on par with his sophomore debut - somewhat impressive given the team around him. Is he a first round talent? In a draft class weak at the position some GM will give him a seat at the table on draft night.
Across the field, keep an eye on wide receiver Isaiah Ford - not only has he put together a solid season as the most reliable Hokie on the field, but it’ll distract you from the abysmal Notre Dame defense.
(7) Washington vs. Arizona State (4:30 PM PST - Fox)
Coming off a loss to the Trojans at home, Washington will look to bounce back against a middling Arizona State squad in Seattle. Wide receiver John Ross has quite a few admirers here at the Hub, and while the Sun Devils won’t offer the same marquee matchup that John Ross v. Adoree Jackson did, Ross will no doubt be a big part of the Huskies’ bounceback.
On the other side of the ball, the Huskies’ secondary is loaded with talent - safety Budda Baker and cornerback Sidney Jones are both Sunday talents. The front seven is continually disruptive, and even with Azeem Victor lost for the year, keep an eye on linebacker Keishawn Bierria to contain the Sun Devils’ run game this Saturday.