Big-time players play big in big games.
I've been hearing that since I started playing football when I was 7 years old. Though the phrase seems simplistic by nature, its meaning holds true in the minds of coaches and evaluators.
Astute football observers want to see how well players perform when the pressure rises, and this week's round of conference championship games will provide an opportunity for many to see some of college's biggest stars perform on a big stage.
With the SEC, Big 12 and ACC having their title games this weekend, the scouting community will flood the press boxes to witness a host of prospects playing in intense, pressurized situations. These games carry added significance in the minds of evaluators for several reasons.
Championship games give scouts the opportunity to see the best teams square off in a battle for conference supremacy, and the added intensity is comparable to the weekly display in the NFL. How well a player performs under these circumstances provides an indicator as to how he will handle the rigors of being a professional.
Additionally, these title games allow scouts to see the best players in matchups against other immensely talented players. These competitive battles rarely occur on a weekly basis, so evaluators pay close attention to how well a prospect plays against another highly touted player. While the results of the individual battles play a significant role in the evaluation process, scouts closely scrutinize the hidden intangibles displayed in these games.
Toughness, poise and resiliency are critical to achieving success as a pro, and scouts want to see that these potential pros have the requisite traits to make it on the next level. Moreover, scouts from elite teams want to see if a prospect has the moxie to contribute to a team with serious championship aspirations.
This weekend has long been circled on the calendar of players looking to secure a championship ring, but it should also have special meaning for prospects looking to cement their status among the ranks of the elite.