NFL Draft prospects to watch: Rivalry week brings Ohio State-Michigan and the Iron Bowl
There is a little more than a month of college football remaining so enjoy it while it lasts
Rivalry week has finally arrived. The final week of the regular season brings some of the year's most anticipated matchups of the year in addition to conference championship implications. College football fans are anxiously waiting to learn how formidable the Crimson Tide will be without Tua Tagovailoa. Can John Harbaugh and Michigan finally knock off the Buckeyes?
CBS Sports has a viewer's guide to the week's best games and the NFL Draft prospects to know on each sideline.
No. 19 Cincinnati (10-1) at No. 18 Memphis (10-1)
Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
One sits atop the American Athletic Conference East and the other atop the West. It is a battle for conference supremacy between the two ranked teams. Neither presents the type of elite talent visible in some of these other games but this game is important to them. Fans should keep an eye on Cincinnati tight end Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati running back Michael Warren II and Memphis wide receiver Damonte Coxie -- they will be playing on Sundays soon enough.
No. 2 Ohio State (11-0) at No. 13 Michigan (9-2)
12 p.m. ET on FOX (stream on fuboTV, try for free)
The Buckeyes have won 14 of the last 15 regular season meetings including seven straight. Their only loss was a 40-34 defeat at Ann Arbor in 2011. The Wolverines and their fans are tired of hearing about the history between these two teams. A win on Saturday would give them some much-needed bragging rights. Ohio State has been efficient and effective on both sides of the ball this season so it will be a difficult challenge.
Ryan Day's team has a ton of NFL Draft talent on each side of the ball. Cornerback Jeffrey Okudah and edge rusher Chase Young are regarded as the top prospects at their respective positions -- likely top-10 picks overall. Sophomore cornerback Shaun Wade would likely be taken on Day 2 if he entered the 2020 NFL Draft. Running back J.K. Dobbins, cornerback Damon Arnette and wide receiver Chris Olave are some of the other names to know.
For the Wolverines, it is simple -- the wide receivers. Ronnie Bell, Tarik Black, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins all possess NFL talent. They will need some help from the quarterback position though.
Jim Harbaugh's squad will be looking to spoil Ohio State's College Football Playoff hopes.
No. 5 Alabama (10-1) at No. 15 Auburn (8-3)
3:30 p.m. ET on CBS (stream on CBS All Access)
It will be odd hearing this but...Alabama is underrated. Yes, the loss of Tua Tagovailoa was huge but let's not pretend that Nick Saban does not have former four and five-star recruits waiting in the wings at every position. Every starting wide receiver gets open easily and the offensive line is talented enough to provide Mac Jones with ample time to distribute the ball. A win over rival Auburn in the Iron Bowl would help re-establish their reputation. A loss would entirely knock the Crimson Tide out of the College Football Playoff picture.
Alabama has a lot of talent as usual. Offensives tackle Isaiah Wilson and Jedrick Wills will grade highly. On defense, defensive tackle Raekwon Davis, linebacker Terrell Lewis, cornerback Shyheim Carter, cornerback Trevon Diggs, and defensive back Xavier McKinney are all NFL prospects.
The Tigers are no slouch at the offensive tackle position either. Both Prince Tega Wanogho and Jack Driscoll should be gone by the end of Day 2. Defensive linemen Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson are gifted prospects as well.
No. 12 Wisconsin (9-2) at No. 10 Minnesota (10-1)
3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
The Big Ten West division comes down to this game. Winner gets a shot at Ohio State in the conference championship. The Golden Gophers have the second-best point differential (+151) -- behind the Buckeyes (+291) -- within the Big Ten. Minnesota has not had a 10-win season since 2003. Historians would have to go back to 1905 to find another.
The Badgers have a trio of prospects that could be taken in the first round: running back Jonathan Taylor, center Tyler Biadasz and outside linebacker Zack Baun. The Golden Gophers are led by safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and wide receiver Tyler Johnson. Wide receiver Rashod Bateman is ineligible to enter the 2020 NFL Draft but has already caught the attention of talent evaluators.
No. 9 Oklahoma (10-1) at No. 21 Oklahoma State (8-3)
8 p.m. ET on FOX (stream on fuboTV, try for free)
The Sooners are still apart of the College Football Playoff conversation. They can ill afford to lose this week, however. Oklahoma has won eight of the last ten meetings between the two teams, including the most recent four. The Cowboys are hoping to bring a bit of Bedlam to the rivalry this season.
Oklahoma State's star wide receiver Tylan Wallace is done for the season so their top prospects are running back Chuba Hubbard and cornerback A.J. Green.
Oklahoma is loaded with draft prospects as usual. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb is the cream of the crop but linebacker Kenneth Murray, defensive tackle Neville Gallimore, and center Creed Humphrey should receive first-round consideration as well.
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