Wild Card Preview…Another Common Cowboys L? – DraftID Podcast
Bama Leans on Stars, Clings on For Dear Hope
This is not your typical Alabama Crimson Tide team. Entering the season, almost everyone (myself included) had another playoff run chalked up for Nick Saban due to the fact that they had two of the top 5 prospects in the entire nation. Despite production from both, the Tide is far from a playoff contender largely due to their thinest roster in years. As hard as we can be on Alabama, they took care of business on the road against #11 Ole Miss and now improve to 8-2….they are still a very good team…just not “Bama Good”.
Despite having a much downgraded arsenal of weapons, QB Bryce Young continues to show that he has “IT”. This week, he threw for 209 yards and 3 TDs to 3 different targets. On the defensive side of the ball, Edge Will Anderson Jr. continues his hot streak and added another 5 pressures and a sack, which now gives him 49 and 12 respectively. I’ve seen Anderson knocked for his “dip in production”, but I don’t think there is a scout on this planet that expected him to have another season with 82 pressures, 15 sacks and 53 run stops. Anderson currently leads the nation in sacks and is one pressure shy of Tyree Wilson, who leads the nation in the category.
Slow Start but Big Win for UGA
The Mississippi State matchup was starting to feel like a repeat of the Missouri game, as the lesser-Bulldogs went into halftime down 5, with a 17-12 score. However, UGA bounced back with back-to-back Ladd McConkey TDs to extend the lead to 31-12. UGA’s rostered is littered with NFL talent and continues to find a new star every week. TE Darnell Washington is starting to look like a guy that could break into the late 1st round and even contend to be the TE1 of the class with Michael Maher. DL Jalen Carter continues to stay hot and added 4 pressures, 4 tackles, a sack, and a batted pass to his totals. QB Stetson Bennett has become one of the most victorious QBs in the SEC, as his 26-2 record continues to boost his draft stock. He may not have the most upside or traits, but he has shown extreme poise and is a guy who can bring a lot to a QB room and compete for a roster spot. Mississippi State QB Will Rogers had a much improved performance than he did a year ago against Georgia, but it wasn’t enough to keep this game close in the second half.
Stroud Shines Once Again
CJ Stroud is looking more and more like the Heisman winner every week, as he added another 300 yards and 5 TDs to his season totals. WR Marvin Harrison Jr. dominated once again and took 7 receptions for 135 yards and a TD. Harrison not only looks like the top receiver in the 2024 class, but I am ready to say that he is in contention for being the top rater receiver prospect EVER. RB Miyan Williams got going early and often and took his 15 carries for 147 yards and a TD before being carted off with a lower body injury. The early indication is that this was out of precaution, but it is worth noting Williams left in a walking boot. The Ohio State-Michigan matchup is starting to look like it could be the game of the year and a potential make-or-break for the CFP.
Corum Carries Michigan…Again
I feel like I have to re-write this paragraph every week. Michigan RB Blake Corum dominated once again, this time taking a heavy workload of 29 touches for 166 yards and a TD. Corum has been one of the most efficient bell-cows in the nation and is doing everything necessary to earn his invite to the Heisman Trophy Ceremony. Michigan has faced just one ranked opponent this year (Penn State), but now faces #21 Illinois and #2 Ohio State to finish the regular season. On the defensive side of the ball, DL Mike Morris continues to dominate Big10 offensive lineman and now has 36 pressures and 9 sacks for the season.
TCU Wins in Most Boring Game of Year
In a weird game, Texas vs TCU became a defensive matchup, which is something extremely rare in the Big12. TCU RB Kendre Miller was held in check for most of the game before breaking off a big time 75 yard TD run where he showed off his agility and breakaway speed. Miller has been one of the biggest gainers this season and is becoming a Day 2 prospect. WR Quintin Johnston had another solid performance with his 5th straight game with a TD.
Tennessee Blows the Breaks Off Missouri
The Vols bounced back from their loss with a 66 point performance and a reminder why their offense deserves a second chance. QB Hendon Hooker added 3 TD passes and now has at least passing 2 TDs in every game except for their loss Georgia. WR Jalin Hyatt continues his insane rise and showcased his blazing speed once again with a 68 yard TD. The big play ability has pushed Hyatt into the 1st round category of WR prospects. Tennessee decided to sit WR Cedric Tillman, despite playing last week against Georgia. The 1st round WR prospect has been nursing a high ankle sprain that required tight-rope surgery in September.
Bo Nix Falls Short; Ducks Season in Jeopardy
The Oregon Ducks lost their second game of the season, this time to PAC12 rival #25 Washington. All hopes for a CFP push are likely dead for the Ducks, but they still remain active to win the conference. QB Bo Nix played a phenomenal game where he made big time throws and continued to boost his soaring draft stock. I would go as far to say that Nix has a legitimate shot to break into the 1st round discussion and even contend for the wide open QB3 spot. Despite the valiant effort by Nix, Head Coach Dan Lanning showed why he is not a worthy CFP program following a choked coaching decision. In a tie game with just 1:41 remaining, Lanning elected to go for a 4th and 1 at their own 34 yard line with backup QB Ty Thompson in the game due to a late ankle injury to Nix. Following a failed conversion, the Huskies kicked the game winning field goal to upset the Ducks. This was as poor of a coaching decision that I have ever seen, especially given the stakes.
Drake Maye Continues to Shine
UNC QB Drake Maye continues to go off, this time combining for 4 TDs and 520 yards to upset Wake Forest in Winston. #15 UNC now is set to face #10 Clemson in the ACC Championship, which further strengthens Maye’s push for Heisman. WR Josh Downs was a major reason why the Tar Heels connected for the big win, as he took 11 receptions for 154 yards and 3 TDs. Downs has been a consistent producer throughout his career and a guy that I have graded as a top 50 prospect. Drake Maye has been the best QB in college football and a guy that I have graded potentially as high as Trevor Lawrence. If Maye was eligible for the 2023 Draft, he would be the #1 overall pick. Maybe he makes teams re-consider taking a shot at QB this year? Maybe his hometown Panthers hold off?
When evaluating a QB, production should not be a huge factor. Scouts are much more interest in upside, traits and intangibles. Levis certainly possesses passing grades in those three categories, but he has seriously struggled on the field at times this year. A switch seemed to flip early in the year following a “minor” foot injury that Levis encountered before sitting out against South Carolina. The prior week, Levis turned the ball over twice in the red zone during the 4th quarter against #14 Ole Miss. Since then, Levis has thrown just 4 TDs and 5 INTs with a 2-2 record. I am not sure if Levis is playing injured or is just cold as ice, but putting together horrible tape against Vandy is going to concern some scouts at the next level. Levis is on a horrible Kentucky team with one of the most outmatched offensive lines in the country, but there have been clear inefficiencies with Levis’s game this season.
Best of the Rest
Here’s a crazy stat…Edge Tyree Wilson was limited to just 3 pressures which ties his season low. Indiana didn’t even target lockdown CB Joey Porter Jr. once in their loss. RB Bijan Robinson is in fact human and was limited to just 29 yards rushing against TCU…maybe the Horned Frogs D can compete in the CFP? QB Michael Penix Jr. threw for 408 yards in the win over Oregon…he now has just one game with under 300 yards which was 298 against #23 Oregon State. UCLA RB Zach Charbonnette returned from injury with a 181 yards and 3 TDs against Arizona. Oregon WR Troy Franklin pulled in 5 receptions for 139 yards and 1 TD…he is a name to watch for 2024 WR class.
If I were to rank the CFP, I’d go with…
2. Ohio State
I like USC over LSU, despite the strength of victory.
1. CJ Stroud
2. Drake Maye
3. Blake Corum
4. Bo Nix
5. Stetson Bennett