This week's slate of games doesn't really boast too many big matchups, so I wanted to take the time to highlight two smaller schools outperforming the expectations of many so far this season. #16 SMU (5-0) and #9 Cincinnati (3-0) are both undefeated at this point and playing some great football. It'll be a clash of two strengths this week, as Cincinnati has been fueled by their high powered pass rush and SMU has relied on their offense mostly, averaging 42.6 points per game so far this season.
Here are the key players from each team I'll be watching in this matchup:
Game of the Week: Cincinnati vs SMU (10/24, 9:00PM)
Cincinnati - EDGE Myjai Sanders
Cincinnati's pass rush has been elite this season and is ranked first overall in the nation, according to Pro Football Focus' team grades. Sanders and defensive lineman Elijah Ponder are the main reasons behind that. Sanders has already recorded 12 pressures in three games and has a sack in each of his last two games. He's done this by being very quick off the snap and will face one of his toughest matchups this season against a strong offensive line. Expect to hear his name rise up draft boards if he keeps playing at this level.
SMU - QB Shane Buechele
Buechele is off to a hot start this season. He has 12 TDs and just 2 INTs through his first five games. He's gone over 340 passing yards in 4 of those 5 games. Buechele lost his biggest offensive weapon, Reggie Roberson, in week four against Memphis but still looked impressive last week without him. The Bearcats' pass rush will be the biggest test he's faced so far this season. Buechele ranks tenth amongst all college football quarterbacks in ESPN's QBR rating and was listed by Matt Miller as his 7th best QB prospect entering the draft currently.