North Team vs. South Team
|Date & Time||Saturday January 26, 2019, 2:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: South Team +2.5 -- Over/Under: 40.5
The North Team and South Team will meet Saturday in the college football Senior Bowl at Ladd–Peebles Stadium.
The North Team will be coached by the Oakland Raiders Jon Gruden, and they look for their first Senior Bowl victory since 2015. The North Team will feature quarterbacks Drew Lock (Missouri), Trace McSorley (Penn State), Ryan Finley (NC State) and Daniel Jones (Duke). The offensive skill position players for the North Team include running backs Dexter Williams (Notre Dame) and Tony Pollard (Memphis), while Terry McLaurin (Ohio State) and Jaylen Smith (Louisville) are the two notable wide receivers. Defensively, the North Team will be led by linebacker Cameron Smith (USC), defensive end Charles Omenihu (Texas) and safety Marquise Blair (Utah). The key for the North Team to break the losing streak to the South is the quarterback play, as all four players had highly productive careers and Lock is arguably a first round pick with high upside. The North Team should be able to move the ball a lot in this contest, giving this side a chance to get a rare victory over their opponent.
The South Team will be coached by the San Francisco 49ers Kyle Shanahan and have a shot at their fourth straight victory. The South Team will be quarterbacked by Will Grier (West Virginia), Tyree Jackson (Buffalo), Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) and Gardner Minshew II (Washington State). The key skill position players for the South Team include running backs Darrin Hall (Pittsburgh) and Ryquell Armstead (Temple), while Gary Jennings (West Virginia), Hunter Renfrow (Clemson) and David Sills V (West Virginia) provide a very deep wide receiving core. Defensively, the South Team will include defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter (Georgia), linebacker Deshaun Davis (Auburn) and safety Jaquan Johnson (Miami). The South Team is loaded at the skill positions and have a lot of physical defenders who will be looking to improve their draft stock with an impressive showing here. Defense has been key for the South over the years, as they’ve held the North to 16 or less points in five of the last six years and are allowing an average of 15.6 points during their three-game winning streak.
The South Team should probably be the favorites based on reputation, but I'd give the North Team the edge based on quarterback play. All four guys for the North can takeover a game and a couple of those players are very intriguing come draft day. Lock has a chance to be a first round pick and it wasn't that long ago when McSorley was considered an elite quarterback in the country. By looking at the rosters, I'd be leaning toward the North. In a game where both teams are obviously loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, I usually give the team with better QB play the advantage, and that's the North this year.
Update: I was leaning toward the North Team in this contest because of the quarterback play, but we're getting free points in a meaningless exhibition game, and the South has owned this event over the years. Unless the talent is completely one-sided, getting free points in an all-star event is the side I usually like to be on. I'll back the side of history and take the free points with the South based on the value.