CFB Week 10: Player Matchup Preview

The College Football Playoff race is beginning to crystalise. Week 10 offers a compelling slate of games ahead of the Playoff Committee meeting for the second time next Tuesday. Most of the focus will be on the SEC as four of the conference’s biggest brands face off to give us a clearer picture of who may line up in the Conference Title game only a few weeks later.

Here are a few of the critical battles of note this week:

Kelee Ringo v Jalin Hyatt

At the start of the year, the expectation would have been Ringo vs Cedric Tillman would be the matchup to watch. However, Hyatt has been the breakout receiver on the Vols, with an impressive 14 touchdowns to date. 

His speed will test perhaps Ringo’s biggest weakness. The Georgia corner is powerfully built, and while he possesses good long speed, it will be interesting to see if he has the twitch to hang with Hyatt’s explosion out of the blocks. Ringo will want to play press and get physical, but if Hyatt can get in behind, Ringo could struggle to recover.

Part of this battle will also include the support safety Christopher Smith can provide for Ringo. Smith will look to mop up any coverage busts on Saturday. According to PFF, Smith has a coverage grade of 86.8 so far in 2022, with two picks and pass breakup. Hendon Hooker must be alert to where Smith is lurking in the backfield.

Audric Estime v Bryan Bresee

The Notre Dame offense depends on it’s physical running game. They were dominant vs Syracuse even when the passing game continued to stall. Estime is a physical bully of a running back whose size often dwarfs that of linebackers. He is averaging over 5 yards a run and will likely be the bell cow when the Fighting Irish face Clemson.

On the opposite side of the field, Bryan Bresee has had one of the toughest years imaginable, losing his sister to cancer. That said, he has shown determination to be the top defensive tackle in the 2023 Draft Class and stopping the Notre Dame rushing attack will bolster his credentials. He has five stops on the year but could sharpen his tackling with a miss percentage of 41.5% through 8 weeks.

Eli Ricks v Kayshon Boutte

Eli Ricks returns to his old home when Alabama face off against LSU this week. There have certainly been teething problems for Ricks, but he looked impressive in his first start of the year against Mississippi State.

We saw the stickiness and speed we had expected from the transfer, who has been readily tagged with a first-round grade. He now needs a consistent end to the season if he wishes to declare in 2023.

Shutting down former teammate Kayshon Boutte will further boost Ricks’ stock. Boutte has also started the new season slowly, only logging one touchdown on the year. His 115 receiving-yard performance vs Florida offered some hope, and he will be desperate to show NFL teams what he can do in the biggest game of his season so far. He will look to target the slender Ricks with his aggressive play style. Both he and Malik Nabers hope to get on top of Crimson Tide’s secondary, which was exposed at the hands of Hendon Hooker and Tennessee.

Mock Draft

Rory-Joe Daniels

Cfb contributor

formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at