2020 NFL Draft prospects to watch in conference championship week: Georgia-LSU offers major intrigue
Fans get a College Football Playoff caliber matchup early in December
The latest College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings were released earlier this week but the final order will not be determined until this weekend's slate of conference championships. College football fans will be overwhelmed with competitive, exciting games this weekend and they should be enjoyed. In two months, everyone will be going through football withdrawals because the season will be complete and the new season will be several months away.
Fear not, CBS Sports will have fans covered with creative, in-depth content that will carry them through the 2020 NFL Draft and the offseason. Some of those 2020 NFL Draft prospects will be featured this weekend:
No. 5 Utah (11-1) vs. No. 13 Oregon (10-2)
Friday, 8 p.m. ET on ABC
If Utah wins and there is a shakeup among the top four teams, the Utes stand to benefit. They have been one of the most underappreciated teams this season. Kyle Whittingham's team has received great production from quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss. The defense has a lot of NFL Draft talent as well, including safety Terrell Burgess and cornerback Jaylon Johnson.
In regards to Oregon, fans are familiar with quarterback Justin Herbert, who has the potential to be a first-round pick. His offensive line, including seniors Calvin Throckmorton and Shane Lemieux, is also loaded with prospects. Two of the team's sophomores -- safety Jevon Holland and left tackle Penei Sewell -- are potential first-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
No. 7 Baylor (11-1) vs. No. 6 Oklahoma (11-1)
Saturday, 12 p.m. ET on ABC
Baylor could potentially complete their first 12-win season in program history. Head coach Matt Rhule is validating the NFL coaching consideration he received last year. Teams will likely come calling again this offseason. For now, the Bears are on the doorstep of a potential Big XII championship without the amount of elite-level talent present elsewhere, including Norman. Wide receiver Denzel Mims is likely their top prospect.
Lincoln Riley has the Sooners playing at a high level again. He has taken yet another quarterback transfer to the highest level but it appears his Heisman winner streak will end at two. Oklahoma's draft prospects are led by wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. Defensive tackle Neville Gallimore, center Creed Humphrey and linebacker Kenneth Murray will also receive first-round consideration.
When these teams met earlier in the season, Oklahoma won 34-31 on the road.
No. 20 Cincinnati (10-2) vs. No. 17 Memphis (11-1)
3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
These two teams literally played last week in Memphis. The Tigers pulled away late with a 34-24 decision. Cincinnati's only other loss on the season was an assault at the hands of Ohio State. Memphis' only loss was by two points at Temple. It is worth noting that these head coaches -- Luke Fickell and Mike Norvell -- will hear their names mentioned often in coaching searches across the country. Norvell has already been mentioned as a candidate at Florida State, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Missouri. This game could theoretically be the last for either of these coaches at their respective programs. Based on the culture that has been built, it would be a surprise if they did not coach their respective teams in a bowl game even if they were hired by another program tomorrow.
Memphis wide receiver Damonte Coxie has nine touchdowns and averaged 16.6 yards per reception this season. He is a big play waiting to happen. Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner has been one of the most effective players at his position this season. Tight end Josiah Deguara also has intriuging upside.
No. 4 Georgia (11-1) vs. No. 2 LSU (12-0)
4 p.m. ET on CBS (stream on CBS All Access)
One of the four teams currently projected to play in the CFP will lose in this game. The selection committee will be forced into a unique conversation. If the Bulldogs lose, they will have two losses and it becomes difficult to justify putting them in the CFP over potential one-loss teams like Utah, Baylor, and Oklahoma. At least one, but no more than two of those teams will only have one defeat. If Georgia wins, then it becomes likely two SEC teams will land in the CFP again.
Georgia's draft prospects are headlined by quarterback Jake Fromm, running back D'Andre Swift and offensive tackles Andrew Thomas, Alex Leatherwood.
LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has improved his draft stock this year. The Tigers' new pass-happy attack has also allowed quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Justin Jefferson to elevate their profiles. On the defensive side of the ball, the focus will be on defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence, linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson, cornerback Kristian Fulton and safety Grant Delpit.
No. 1 Ohio State (12-0) vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (10-2)
8 p.m. ET on FOX (stream on fuboTV, try for free)
The Buckeyes have been efficient on both sides of the ball this season. Quarterback Justin Fields is likely to be one of the first two quarterbacks taken in the 2021 NFL Draft. Running back J.K. Dobbins has averaged 138.1 rushing yards per game this season. Ohio State's secondary is loaded with playmakers: cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, cornerback Shaun Wade, cornerback Damon Arnette, and safety Jordan Fuller. Edge rusher Chase Young is the cream of the crop.
Wisconsin may have an argument to appear in the CFP with a win over the No. 1 overall team but it is unlikely. The Badgers lost to Illinois and were blown out by Ohio State earlier this season. With that being said, do not be surprised if the margin of victory is not a little tighter Saturday.
Running back Jonathan Taylor is the most well-known NFL Draft prospect for the Badgers. He has the most rushing yards through a junior season in NCAA history. Outside linebacker Zack Baun and center Tyler Biadasz are worthy of first-round consideration too.
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