Connect with us

Sports

Ranking college football’s best September nonconference games of 2021

Published

on

Ranking college football's best September nonconference games of 2021

The long-winding 2020 college football season ended with Alabama winning another College Football Playoff championship.  

The Crimson Tide defeated Ohio State 52-24, which completed a schedule that was impacted by COVID-19 from start to finish. Several of those nonconference matchups in the regular season that make September special were canceled. We’re not talking about the traditional matchups like Iowa-Iowa State, which will be good, too. We’re talking about the game we don’t normaly get to see. 

MORE: SN’s Way-Too-Early 2021 Top 25

Here’s hoping that changes in 2021. Here are 10 nonconference matchups we’re looking forward to next September.  

Best 2021 September nonconference matchups 

1. Clemson vs. Georgia (Sept. 4)  

The Tigers and Bulldogs meet at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., in what should be the first top-five matchup of the season. D.J. Uiagalelei takes over for Trevor Lawrence at Clemson, and that experience from this season should pay off against another loaded Bulldogs’ defense. It is the first sizable piece of the College Football Playoff puzzle.  

2. Oregon at Ohio State (Sept. 11)  

This was one of the best nonconference matchups that was wiped out in 2020. The Ducks are the two-time defending Pac-12 champions and return a tough defense led by Kayvon Thibodeaux and Noah Sewell. Ryan Day, a former Ducks assistant, will have another loaded offense in Columbus.  

3. Miami vs. Alabama (Sept. 4)  

Hopefully D’Eriq King, who suffered a torn ACL in the Cheez-It Bowl, is recovered for this matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide remain perfect in neutral-site openers under Nick Saban, and Bryce Young likely will be the starting quarterback for the defending national champions.  

4. Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame (Sept. 25)  

The Badgers and Irish were supposed to meet at Lambeau Field last season. The matchup at Soldier Field in 2021 should be just as good between two schools that are built around their offensive lines. Graham Mertz leads the Badgers’ offense, and it will be even more intriguing if Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan starts for the Irish.  

5. Auburn at Penn State (Sept. 18) 

Big Ten-SEC matchups always draw interest, and first-year coach Bryan Harsin faces a challenge on the road at Happy Valley. Veteran quarterbacks Bo Nix and Sean Clifford have enjoyed measured success the past two seasons, and this one will determine who might be serious about making a run in their conference.  

6. Cincinnati at Indiana (Sept. 18)  

The Bearcats also face Notre Dame, but that matchup is on Oct. 2. The matchup against Indiana will set the table for that either way. Tom Allen and Luke Fickell have made significant breakthroughs to put their programs on this stage. Michael Penix Jr. should be back, and receiver Ty Fryfogle is returning for the Hoosiers. Desmond Ridder announced he’s returning to Cincinnati, too.  

7. Texas at Arkansas (Sept. 11)  

This classic Southwest Conference rivalry comes back to life in Fayetteville. Sam Pittman made progress in his first year with the Razorbacks, and Steve Sarkisian will have a potent offense in his first season with the Longhorns. These schools have not played since 2014.  

8. Washington at Michigan (Sept. 11)  

This was another home-and-home altered by COVID-19 this season. The Wolverines are sticking with Jim Harbaugh, and the quarterback competition will be a focus in Ann Arbor this offseason. Washington should be ranked for this game under second-year coach Jimmy Lake.  

9. LSU at UCLA (Sept. 4)  

The Tigers take a rare nonconference trip to the Rose Bowl, where a young roster led by quarterback Max Johnson and cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. will be expected to lead a turnaround in 2021. The Bruins are entering Chip Kelly’s fourth season, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson will look for a signature victory in his senior season.  

10. Nebraska at Oklahoma (Sept. 18)  

There was a time when this was the marquee game in all of college football. The Sooners should be ranked in the top five with an offense that features quarterback Spencer Rattler. It’s business as usual with Lincoln Riley. Scott Frost enters his fourth season still looking to put Nebraska back on the national stage. A win here would do the trick.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sports

Divisional Round Sunday DraftKings Picks: NFL DFS lineup advice for daily fantasy football playoff tournaments

Published

on

Divisional Round Sunday DraftKings Picks: NFL DFS lineup advice for daily fantasy football playoff tournaments

You know it’s going to be tough to build a DFS playoff lineup when your first choice is between three future Hall-of-Fame QBs and another one who was a top overall pick just a few years ago. That’s what daily fantasy football players are dealing with on Sunday’s two-game divisional round slate, as Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Baker Mayfield are all viable QB plays when factoring in prices and matchups. From there, things only get tougher, as the defenses for each team present unique challenges and lineup-building opportunities for DraftKings tournaments.

As always, DraftKings pricing is tight, forcing you to take at least a few chances. Our big risks come at WR/flex, where we’re counting on two boom-or-bust pass-catchers, but with a strong foundation that’s tailored to DraftKings scoring, we feel like this lineup has a great opportunity to cash. 

MORE DIVISIONAL ROUND DFS: Top values | Lineup Builder

Divisional Round Sunday DraftKings Picks: NFL DFS tournament playoff lineup

QB Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs vs. Browns ($7,900). Mahomes is $1,700 more expensive than Tom Brady, $2,400 more than Drew Brees, and $2,700 more than Baker Mayfield, so all of those QBs offer more value. But none offer the same type of ceiling as Mahomes, who absolutely tore up the playoffs last year with at least 286 passing yards, 29 rushing yards, and three total TDs in every game. Given the highly favorable matchup and the Chiefs issues at RB, you can bet he’ll be asked to do a lot once again.

RB Kareem Hunt, Browns @ Chiefs ($4,800). Hunt is priced as the RB7 this week, which seems low considering Cleveland could be forced to pass more in the second half. Either way, Hunt should make the most of his seven-to-10 carries and three-to-five targets against Kansas City’s lackluster run defense, and he’s just as likely to score as teammate Nick Chubb. Take the value here.

SATURDAY PLAYOFF DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel

RB Alvin Kamara, Saints vs. Buccaneers ($7,600). There are plusses and minuses to using Kamara on DraftKings. The main plus is that he gets a full point per reception; the biggest minus is he’s unlikely to hit 100 yards as a runner (just once all year) or receiver (once). Of course, he’s one of the few backs in the league who could hit 100 yards as both a runner and receiver in the same game, but given Tampa’s strong run defense, we’re not betting on that. Either way, he has a high floor thanks to his receiving ability (at least five catches in both games against Tampa this year) and touchdown potential (league-leading 21 scores). With so many questions in both Kansas City’s and Tampa’s backfields, Kamara is a safe “chalk” pick, even at his high price.

WR Chris Godwin, Buccaneers @ Saints ($5,700). Mike Evans led the Bucs in catches (6) and yards (119) last week, but it was Godwin who led in targets (12) and scored one of two passing touchdowns. Godwin has now scored in four straight games and caught five passes in three straight. Even with his drops last week, you can expect him to be targeted often, and he’s a safe bet for a solid floor.

SUNDAY PLAYOFF DFS LINEUPS: FanDuel

WR Michael Thomas, Saints vs. Buccaneers ($6,600). It’s tough to pass on Thomas on DraftKings because of the full-point PPR scoring. He hasn’t had a 2019-like game yet this year, at least not one that included a touchdown, but he does have two nine-catch, 100-plus-yard performancese and he scored his first TD last week. New Orleans will have to throw more in this game because of Tampa’s tough run defense, so Thomas could finally have an explosive performance like we saw so often last season. 

WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Browns @ Chiefs ($3,000). Because we paid up at so many other positions, we have to look for extreme values at others. Enter DPJ, who’s played at least 56 percent of snaps in four of the past five games, including a season-high 69 percent last week. Cleveland could be forced to pass more in the second half this week, and while that actually hasn’t helped WRs against Kansas City most of the season, DPJ is the kind of big-play guy who only needs one to pay off this remarkably cheap price. 

FULL-SLATE PLAYOFF DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel

TE Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. Browns ($7,700). It’s tempting to pay down for one of the other tight ends, all of whom cost at least $3,900 less than Kelce and many of whom also have favorable matchups, but it really doesn’t make sense given DraftKings scoring. With a full point per perception and a bonus for 100-yard games (Kelce had six of this year), Kelce has a significantly higher floor and ceiling than everyone else. 

FLEX Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs vs. Browns ($3,600). It was tough finding a flex for this lineup, but Robinson makes sense with Sammy Watkins (calf) ailing. He always plays a significant amount of snaps, and that was especially true in Weeks 6-11 when Watkins was out. Robinson averaged 3.8 catches, 4.6 targets, and 42.8 yards with two total TDs in that span, which isn’t great, but we know any Chiefs receiver has big-time upside in a must-win game. Going with Deonte Harris ($3,500) and hoping for a second straight seven-catch game or taking a chance with a TD-or-bust guy like Rob Gronkowski ($3,500) or Cameron Brate ($2,900) are other options, but we like Robinson to pick up the slack for Watkins.

D/ST New Orleans Saints vs. Buccaneers ($3,100). The Saints defensive numbers in two games against Tampa this year are staggering: Six sacks, six takeaways, one defensive TD, 26 total offensive points allowed. It might be a trap to expect a third good performance, but it’s tough to feel great about the Browns or Bucs, and Kansas City is too expensive for this lineup, so let’s hope for a hat trick.

Continue Reading

Sports

Broncos linebacker Von Miller under criminal investigation

Published

on

Broncos linebacker Von Miller under criminal investigation

Broncos All-Pro linebacker Von Miller is reportedly under a criminal investigation.

Mike Klis of Denver TV station K-USA reported Friday that Miller is under investigation by the Parker (Colo.) Police Department. The department declined to comment on the nature of the investigation, which is still underway. Per multiple reports, whatever allegations Miller faces surfaced only recently.

MORE: NFL mock draft for 2021

The Parker investigation into Miller further clouds his future with the Broncos. The club has yet to decide whether it will pick up the 2021 option for the eight-time Pro Bowler, three-time First-Team All-Pro and Super Bowl 50 MVP. Miller, 31, is due $17.5 million in 2021 in the final year of his contract with the Broncos (per Spotrac).

The Broncos — who are aware of the investigation — have till mid-March to make their decision; letting him go would result in a $4.23 million dead cap hit.

Miller missed the entire 2020 season after dislocating his peroneal tendon in early September. That came a season after he tallied eight sacks in 2019, his second-lowest season total after a five-sack season in 2013. For his career, Miller has totaled 490 tackles, 106 sacks, nine fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

Continue Reading

Sports

Divisional Round Sunday FanDuel Picks: NFL DFS lineup advice for daily fantasy football playoff tournaments

Published

on

Divisional Round Sunday FanDuel Picks: NFL DFS lineup advice for daily fantasy football playoff tournaments

Sunday’s two-game divisional round slate features some of the biggest stars in the NFL, as the Browns-Chiefs and Buccaneers-Saints are settle to battle it out. Building DFS lineups on short playoff slates is never easy, but when you factor in tough defenses and worrisome injuries, it gets even more difficult. We’re opting for a few “sure things” in our FanDuel tournament lineup, but our picks are also relying on more than a few value sleepers.

Our central stack will likely be pretty chalky, as we’re paying up for the Chiefs trio of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. From there, we have one more bonafide “star” and a bunch of boom-or-bust sleepers. We’ll be the first to admit this lineup has questions, but those types of lineups can easily cash in the playoffs, so let’s get weird!

MORE DIVISIONAL ROUND DFS: Top values | Lineup Builder

Divisional Round Sunday FanDuel Picks: NFL DFS tournament playoff lineup

QB Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs vs. Browns ($9,200). You could pick any of the four starting QBs this week and be fine, but we’re going with the best — and most expensive. Mahomes has the best matchup of the four, and while he might be chalky and/or limit your potential at other positions, he simply has the highest ceiling. Kansas City will not lean on its lackluster running game, so you know Mahomes will have to be a do-it-all force.

RB Kareem Hunt, Browns @ Chiefs ($6,200). It’s easy to play up the “revenge” factor here, but the bottom line is Kansas City struggles against the run and Hunt can put up yards in a variety of ways. He usually sees at least eight touches, and in a game where Cleveland figures to try to run early and might be forced to pass more late, Hunt has a realistic chance of outperforming teammate Nick Chubb. Regardless, he’s a relative value compared to Chubb ($8,200) and Alvin Kamara ($9,000), so if you’re willing to take the risk of fading Chubb, Hunt makes sense.

SATURDAY PLAYOFF DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel

RB Taysom Hill, Saints vs. Buccaneers ($5,100). Hill’s knee injury has us worried, but if he plays, he’s a tremendous value. In two games against Tampa this year, he posted 86 passing yards, 67 rushing yards, and 35 receiving yards. He figures to get at least six touches, and given his extreme efficiency and the way in which New Orleans uses him, that can be enough for him to pay off. If something were to happen to Drew Brees, Hill would really outperform his price. There’s a low floor here, but at this price, it makes sense to take a chance on Hill.

WR Tyreek Hill, Chiefs vs. Browns ($8,800). This T. Hill isn’t a risk, as the Chiefs’ speedster is basically guaranteed production. He has the best matchup for any WR on Sunday, and you know he’ll be targeted all over the field. Pay up and enjoy.

WR Michael Thomas, Saints vs. Buccaneers ($7,200). Thomas has averaged six catches and 70.6 yards per game since initially returning from injury in Week 9. He’s been dinged up again since then, but in his first game back last week, he caught five passes for 73 yards and a score. In a game where New Orleans figures to have a tough time running, Thomas should see significant targets, putting him in position for his best game of the year. Don’t miss out, especially at this price. 

WR Rashard Higgins, Browns @ Chiefs ($5,300). The popular narrative with teams against the Chiefs is that they fall behind big and are forced to pass a lot in the second half, thus benefitting receivers. That sounds good, but it didn’t really happen this year, as Kansas City allowed the third-fewest FanDuel points to WRs. So, our use of Higgins isn’t necessarily based on that narrative; it’s more due to his consistent targets (6.8 over the past five games) and his ability to get loose for both big plays and intermediate gains. Also, we needed to pay down after paying up for Mahomes, Hill, Thomas, and Travis Kelce, and unless we wanted to add another Chiefs pass-catcher, we didn’t have many viable options. If you don’t like Higgins, Emmanuel Sanders ($5,700) makes the most sense.

FULL-SLATE PLAYOFF DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel

TE Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. Browns ($8,500). Jared Cook ($5,600) and Austin Hooper ($5,500) have favorable matchups and are much cheaper, but Kelce’s is actually the most favorable, as the Browns give up the third-most FanDuel points to TEs. More than that, Kelce is basically like playing a WR2 at TE, so even though he costs a lot, you know you’re getting elite production.

FLEX Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers @ Saints ($5,600). This one is a gut feeling, and there are plenty of other options to consider if you don’t like Gronk. He was shut out on just one target last week, so we don’t expect many to be on him, especially with Cook and Hooper in better matchups at similar prices. Still, we can’t shake the feeling that Gronk is due for a big play or touchdown, and we know Tampa will be throwing often. Again, there are plenty of other options, including the aforementioned TEs, WRs like Sanders, or whoever starts at RB for the Chiefs, but we’re taking a chance and hoping for some differentiation here.

D/ST Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Saints ($3,500). Admittedly, this play doesn’t make a ton of sense when looking at the rest of our lineup, but it’s the only defense other than the Browns we could afford. We could make some tweaks to get the Chiefs or Saints, but we’re fine with the Bucs, who generally make teams one-dimensional, which creates more opportunities for sacks and INTs. New Orleans can score a few TDs and the Bucs can still pay off, so we’re hoping for some big plays.

Continue Reading

Trending