Commentary

Mel's Matchups: Week 14

The SEC title game will be a scout's dream -- loaded with matchups of future pros

Updated: December 4, 2009, 6:01 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

Mel Kiper previews every weekend in college football in terms of prospects going head-to-head.

Not to completely miss the point, the grand meaning of the game in the world of college football, and who actually wins or loses, but ... if you're an NFL scout this weekend, you should care about one game above all, and it won't be about the score. Quite simply, the SEC championship game is loaded with great matchups.

When I do this piece every week, people often ask why I'll ignore this player or that, mainly with the lament of "Mel, but this guy is so good." Well, he probably is. But when Florida played Charleston Southern, did we really get a good look at the kind of pro Joe Haden could be? Can we tell what kind of linebacker Navorro Bowman will be when he's sacking the quarterback of Eastern Kentucky? In most cases, no. What we look for is a pair of guys who'll eventually be playing on Sunday dealing directly with one another on the field. That's where the matchups create value.

Cunningham will need to rush the passer effectively against Alabama.
Cliff Welch/Icon SMICunningham is an effective pass-rusher.

And obviously, this game is loaded with value. Let's start there.


For Mel's take on the key matchups of the SEC championship game, and a number of others, you must be an Insider.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst