In less than two weeks, Michigan and Alabama will kick off their seasons on a national stage in front of millions. Between all the pomp and circumstance and the eyes that will be watching, between the storylines and the celebrity leading into the game, sometimes it’s hard to remember what’s actually at the root of it all.
But there will be at least one person in the stadium that doesn't care about anything other than the 60 minutes of football -- 2014 cornerback Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne).
"I just want to see football," Watkins said. "I want to see what they can do."
The Dallas native hold offers from Alabama and Michigan and is taking a vested interest in the game that’s happening just up the highway from his house. To be fair, he said he would sport neutral colors at the game and try and take in as much as he can from both sides.
But the cornerback admits he's most excited to see how the Crimson Tide tries to defend Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. He has already thought about what he would do if he were to play against a quarterback like Robinson.
"I would tell the ends to keep him contained, because if he gets outside the pocket, he'll make plays," Watkins said. "I'd tell the secondary to stay in coverage. He can extend plays."
The game will be another step in Watkins' recruitment, something he has put on hold recently to focus more on preparing his high school team for its upcoming season. This summer he only took one visit (Texas) and he doesn’t have too many planned this season because he wants to make sure he prioritizes Bishop Dunne High School football.
His high school team is important to him and keeping it a priority is something his family has made a point of. Watkins' older brother, who plays football at Central Arkansas also went through the recruiting process, but not to the level that Nick is at.
With more than 15 offers from the likes of Texas, Oregon, Oklahoma, LSU and Arkansas, the rising junior is one of the most sought-after 2014 defensive back prospects in the nation. But Watkins knows that if he focuses on making himself the best player for his high school team, that the rest will take care of itself.
"I worked really hard during the summers with my brother and dad, just going over everything from the playbooks," Watkins said. "Now, I just need to go out and show that last year wasn't a one-year thing. I just have to come out and impress, be consistent."
But with college football season around the corner, it's hard to ignore what's happening on Saturday afternoons. Or in Alabama and Michigan's case, Saturday evening.
And with two schools he has really been impressed by facing off in week one, he's excited to see what they can do against one another.
But he wouldn't go as far as to make a prediction regarding the game. That, he'll just wait for.
"No, no, no predictions," Watkins said. "But it'll be an exciting game."