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:
OT GREG LITTLE VS DE MONTEZ SWEAT
Consensus on Little's stock is a little all over the place, with some having him as their top offensive tackle in the class over Jonah Williams and others having him as a day two guy. This week's Egg Bowl should provide a little clarity on where Little should end up on the final spectrum, as he will be going against a couple of really good edge rushers in Montez Sweat and Gerri Green. Sweat usually lines up at LDE where he would be going up against the RT of Ole Miss, but I would expect him to flip flop this week and try to get some quality reps against one of the best at his position in Little. Personally, I have little as a second half of round one guy and I would be surprised if he slides past the Houston Texans, who are in dire need of a franchise left tackle since trading away Duane Brown to the Seahawks.
OG HJALTE FROHOLDT VS DT TERRY BECKNER JR.
You may have read a little bit about Froholdt and his curious route to college football from Svendborg, Denmark. Froholdt had a baptism by fire going up against Quinnen Williams of Alabama, and life won't get much easier against Terry Beckner Jr. of Mizzou this week. Beckner isn't the most explosive pass rusher, but he is extremely stout at the point of attack and difficult to move off his spot in the run game. This is another big game for both player's tape portfolio heading in the offseason evaluation period.
QB KYLER MURRAY VS LB DAVID LONG JR.
Usually I match up quarterbacks against ball-hawking safeties (which the Mountaineers have in Kenny Robinson, by the way), but in the case of Heisman candidate Kyler Murray who is a special runner in space, David Long Jr. is going to be the guy tasked with slowing him down. Long is under-sized and his lack of length may impact his NFL draft stock, but his mental processing, coverage ability, and effectiveness as a blitzer make him a very complete linebacker who seemingly is always in position to make crucial plays when it counts. This game should have Big 12 championship ramifications, and if the Mountaineers were smart, they would assign Long as a spy on Murray for the entire game and hope their other players could win their match ups on defense.
QB GARDNER MINSHEW VS FS TAYLOR RAPP
Is there any quarterback in the country hotter than the mustachioed Minshew right now? Minshew's hot start out of the gate may have been attributed to being in the Pirate's Air Raid offense which has traditionally failed to produce quality NFL quarterbacks, but Minshew's leadership, decision-making, and accuracy have been on display week-in and week-out this season. In the Apple Cup this week, one player who will be hoping to slam the brakes on the Minshew hype wagon is junior free safety Taylor Rapp. Rapp is a player who we've had written down since he was a true freshman starter in the impressive NFL-caliber Huskies defense and while he may not break any NFL Combine records in Indy, his rare mental processing and leadership qualities have made him a ballhawking playmaker in college. If Minshew can pull out another W and look good doing it, his stock rocketship will continue to rise faster than SpaceX.
RB KARAN HIGDON VS LB TUF BORLAND
It always seems like Michigan RBs always seem to get into hot water in this ultimate Big 10 rivalry dating all the way back to Mike Hart. Higdon has been one of the most underrated running backs in the NFL this year and finds a way to get the tough yards with outstanding awareness of the first down markers. Higdon's effectiveness in the run game has taken a lot of pressure off of transfer QB Shea Patterson, who is reportedly leaning towards declaring for the draft. The guy who will be responsible for cutting down Higdon's production after allowing Maryland freshman Anthony McFarland to run for almost 300 yards last week is Tuf Borland. Borland is a gritty, reliable tackler but has not displayed adequate foot speed to prove he can be an NFL starter.
WR DEEBO SAMUEL/BRYAN EDWARDS VS CB TRAYVON MULLEN/AJ TERRELL
One of the best rivalries in sports right here. While the Gamecocks have no shot of upsetting their rivals in life in Clemson, there are a lot of great NFL-caliber match ups to watch in this game, and the best ones will be on the perimeters. The Gamecocks have two receivers in Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards that should warrant day two selections in the draft and can boost their stock going against a couple of four-star Top 100 cornerbacks in Trayvon Mullen and AJ Terrell. Edwards and Samuel haven't had quite the production they were hoping for with only two 100-yard receiving games each on the year, but they are big time talents who will have big grades from the scouting community.