Every Friday, we take a look at the games within the games of college football and try to shine a spotlight on some of the elite positional matchups for the upcoming weekend.
Here are some battles that are on tap for the upcoming weekend:
TE JACE STERNBERGER VS LB DESHAUN DAVIS
After transferring from Kansas, Jace Sternberger has become a star pass catching tight end under Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M. Sternberger already has over 500 yards and 6 TDs for the Aggies one the season and the problem is Auburn doesn't really have the horses to cover Sternberger. If middle linebacker Deshaun Davis or Darrell Williams line up on him, Sternberger will probably win with his speed. If they put nickel cornerback Javaris Davis on him, Sternberger will probably box him out with his six inch height and length advantage. On the flip side, if Davis can show off his coverage skills and stay in-phase against a tight end as athletic as Sternberger, it could go a long way in boosting his stock.
WR AJ BROWN VS CB JAYCEE HORN
AJ Brown is one of, if not the, best slot receivers in college football. At 6'1 230-pounds, Brown is not your usual twitchy, shifty smaller slot guy and is almost a suped-up version of Evan Engram in the Rebels offense based on his size alone. Brown is a polished receiver who has the potential to be a faster Anquan Boldin at the next level, but there's a freshman defensive back who may try to exploit him this weekend. Jaycee Horn has been a revelation this year for the Gamecocks featuring inside in the slot and has been their most dominant defender. Two years away from being draft-eligible, he can have NFL GMs and scouts highlighting his name in their programs and bookmarking him for the future.
OC GARRETT BRADBURY VS DT DEMARCUS CHRISTMAS
Likely a top-two senior center in this class, Bradbury is going to have a tremendous opportunity to show he can anchor against power, which has been one of his bigger question marks holding him back. Bradbury is an exceptional athlete who can pull into space quickly and help spring stretch and zone runs, but it's the functional strength that he needs to showcase this week against a powerful nose tackle like Demarcus Christmas. Any zone blocking team that has an aging center (cough, Eagles/Panthers, cough) should be taking a hard look at Bradbury in this game.
OT DALTON RISNER VS DE BEN BANOGU
Staying in the trenches, Dalton Risner has been making a strong case to be the top senior right tackle in the draft, and the fact that he can play all five positions along the offensive line makes him all the more attractive. Risner has shown a good ability to anchor against the bull rush and shepherd rushers along their rushing lanes, but has had some issues against pure speed/finesse rushers. Enter Ben Banogu. Banogu is starting to heat up lately with four sacks in his last three games for the Horned Frogs. If Banogu can add another sack and some pressures against a lineman as talented as Risner, he will stand out a little bit in a loaded edge class.
RB MILES SANDERS VS ILB DEVIN BUSH
Michigan-Penn State is always must-see TV in the Big Ten, and the match up to watch in this one is Miles Sanders vs. Devin Bush. Sanders has been impressive filling big shoes in Saquon Barkley this season and his good size, urgency in getting up-field, and lateral change of direction ability has allowed him to rush for 6.1 yards per carry and 8 rushing TDs in 2018. Bush is one of the rangiest linebackers in college football, and while he may not be physically imposing (will likely measure in around or just under 6'0"), he makes up for it with attitude, effort and violence. I expect a ten tackle performance from Bush this week.
TE IRV SMITH JR. VS SS GRANT DELPIT
Literally almost every single positional match up in this game could qualify for this article, but the one I want to see is between two underclassmen. Grant Delpit may not be eligible for the 2019 draft, but he has been a revelation in the LSU defense and could very well be the best player on a secondary that consists of Greedy Williams and Kristian Fulton. Delpit can do everything - cover, blitz, tackle, intercept passes - you name it, he does it. Irv Smith is one of the more intriguing tight ends that may declare for the upcoming draft, but this will likely be the first tape scouts pop in to see how he fares against NFL caliber talent.