College football championship weekend is here. Today, the best teams and players in the country take the field as they contend for top honors in their conferences and vie for the playoffs. Here are players to watch today.
Terrel Bernard, Linebacker, Baylor v. Oklahoma State (12 PM ET on ABC)
Terrel Bernard has been a leader on Baylor’s impressive defense all season. He is an experienced, physical player whose awareness on the field helps key the action for the Bears. Oklahoma State comes into this game with a dynamic offense that pass and run the ball in a variety of ways. Bernard will get a great opportunity to show what he can do as an every down back.
Steven Jones, Safety, Appalachian State v. Louisiana (3:30 PM ET on ESPN)
Steven Jones is one of the most prolific defensive playmakers in the country. The Mountaineers safety has five interceptions on the year and is constantly making plays around the ball. App State will be facing off against a ranked Louisiana team today, and Jones play could determine the outcome of this match up.
Nakobe Dean, Linebacker, Georgia v. Alabama (4 PM ET on CBS)
The SEC championship will feature a lot of guys who will be making big plays on Sundays as soon as next year. However, it feels like Nakobe Dean’s play is as big an X-Factor in this game as there is for any NFL prospect. The Alabama offense is easily the best, most explosive group Georgia has faced this year. The Bulldogs defense has been a meat grinder for every opponent they’ve faced, but the Crimson Tide could pose a legitimate challenge. Expect Georgia to deploy Dean in a variety of ways to get pressure on Bryce Young, slow up the run game, and let him work in coverage. He will need a sound game in order to keep Alabama at bay and Georgia unbeaten.
Darrian Beavers, Linebacker, Cincinnati v. Houston (4 PM ET on ABC)
While Ahmad Gardner gets the shine, Darrian Beavers deserves credit for how well Cincinnati has played on defense this year. The fifth year linebacker is an intelligent and physical player who also brings great speed to the position. Houston will be another great challenge for Beavers and the Bearcats, and expect the linebacker to put up his best game to maintain Cincinnati’s playoff hopes.
Tyler Linderbaum, Center, Iowa v. Michigan (8 PM ET on Fox)
A week after Michigan’s defensive line demolished Ohio State, Tyler Linderbaum will suit up to help Iowa take on that very same group of pass rusher and run stoppers. Linderbaum, who may be the best lineman in the country, will have his hands full for four quarters. Michigan will test the Hawkeyes and their star center, and Linderbaum will need a great game to keep Iowa in the game.
Kenny Pickett, Quarterback, Pitt v. Wake Forest (8 PM ET on ABC)
Pitt versus Wake Forest is not exactly the ACC championship anyone thought we would get this year, but it is shaping up to be quite a game. Wake Forest and Pitt both have explosive offenses with very productive quarterbacks. Of the two, Kenny Pickett is a legit NFL prospect who is playing some of the best football of any quarterback in the country right now. This game is almost destined to be a shoot out, so the record breaking Pitt passer will be slinging it for four quarters.