TJ’S PICK 3 OF 2022 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK
Week 13: 2-1 overall 1-2 ATS Season Record: 27-12 Overall 16-23 ATS
This week the rankings are from the College Football Playoff rankings; point spreads and the over/under amounts from FanDuel
PAC 12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Utah -v- USC (Las Vegas, NV) USC -2.5 O/U 67.5
Utah is 9-3 and ranked #11 in this week’s poll. The Utes are led by junior quarterback Cameron Rising who has completed 66.4% of his passes for 2,629 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Rising is also second on the team with 391 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. Junior running back Tavion Thomas leads with 687 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Senior tight end Dalton Kincaid has hauled in 66 passes for 850 yards and eight touchdowns, while sophomore wide receiver Devaughn Vele has added 50 catches for 595 yards and five touchdowns. The Utah defense has been very good, giving up only 20.1 points per game and 317.5 yards per game while getting 31 sacks, 11 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries. Sophomore safety Cole Bishop has 68 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three pass deflections, one interception and one fumble recovery. Senior safety RJ Hubert has 66 tackles, two pass deflections, two interceptions (one for a pick six), two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Super sophomore cornerback Clark Phillips, III is tied for first in the country with six interceptions, two of which he’s returned for touchdowns.
USC is 11-1 and ranked #4 in the poll. Heisman front-runner Caleb Williams is the Trojans’ leader, completing 65.8% of his passes for 3,712 yards (7th in the nation) with 34 touchdowns (6th in the nation) and three interceptions (tied for eighth in the nation). Williams is also third on the Trojans with 351 rushing yards and leads the team with 10 rushing touchdowns. Senior running back Austin Jones has filled in for injured rushing leader Travis Dye and is second on the team with 609 yards and is third on the team with five touchdowns. Junior wideout Jordan Addison has 54 catches for 810 yards and eight touchdowns. Fellow junior wide receiver Tahj Washington has 39 grabs for 583 yards and five touchdowns. The USC defense has been leaky, but they create a lot of turnovers. The Trojans are giving up 26.3 points per game and 405.3 yards per game and have gotten 35 sacks, 19 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries. Senior linebacker Shane Lee has 69 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one pass deflection and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Sophomore defensive back Calen Bullock is tied for seventh in the country with five interceptions while junior defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu finished the regular season with the most sacks in the country, getting 12.5.
Prediction: The outstanding offense of USC against the incredible defense of Utah! Caleb Williams, according to a lot of media outlets, is in the driver’s seat to win the Heisman Trophy. And Utah’s Clark Phillips, III is widely regarded as one of the top corners in the country. USC’s defense gives up A LOT of yards and points, but they also have A LOT of takeaways, 26 on the season. Utah won the regular season matchup between these two teams, winning at home 43-42 when head coach Kyle Whittingham decided to go for two on the Utes’ touchdown in the final minute. This game is being played at a neutral site and USC is playing championship caliber football.
USC: 41 Utah 31 lay the points with USC and take the over
BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Kansas State -v- TCU (Arlington, TX) TCU -2.5 O/U 61.5
Kansas State is 9-3 and ranked #10 in the poll. Senior quarterback Adrian Martinez has completed 64.1% of his passes for 1,261 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. He is second on the team in rushing with 615 yards and leads the Wildcats with 10 rushing touchdowns. However, Martinez, who has missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury, is questionable for the Big 12 Championship game. Martinez’s injury has opened the door for junior quarterback Will Howard to get some playing time. Howard has completed 62.9% of his passes for 1,224 yards, 13 touchdowns and two interceptions. Junior running back Deuce Vaughn has 1,295 yards and seven touchdowns while chipping in 40 catches for 348 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Malik Knowles has 46 catches for 679 yards and two touchdowns. The Kansas State defense has been very good, giving up 19.4 points per game and 357.3 yards per game while getting 27 sacks, 15 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries. Junior linebacker Austin Moore has 82 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three pass deflections, one interception and two forced fumbles. Junior defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah leads the K-State defense with 7.5 sacks. Junior safety Kobe Savage, senior cornerback Julius Brents and senior safety Cincere Mason each have three interceptions.
TCU is 12-0 and ranked #3 in the poll. Senior quarterback Max Duggan has completed 66.6% of his passes for 3,070 yards, 29 touchdowns and three interceptions. Duggan also has 294 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. Junior running back Kendre Miller has 1,260 yards and is tied for sixth nationally with 16 rushing touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Quentin Johnston, who has 49 catches for 764 yards and five touchdowns, is questionable Saturday with an injured ankle. Senior wideout Taye Barber has 31 grabs for 567 yards and three touchdowns. The TCU defense has been bend-but-don’t-break, giving up 24.5 points per game and 383.5 yards per game while getting 23 sacks, 14 interceptions and four fumble recoveries. Junior linebacker Johnny Hodges has 76 tackles, two sacks and one pass deflection. Senior linebacker Dee Winters leads the Horned Frogs with 6.5 sacks. Junior cornerback Josh Newton has 10 pass deflections and three interceptions, as does senior corner Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson.
Kansas State’s defense has been great this season but in the regular season meeting between these two teams the Wildcats gave up 495 yards to TCU’s offense. The Horned Frogs have been more of a second half team, getting four wins where they were trailing in the second half of the game. Max Duggan has been incredible and is considered a lock to go to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. The game isn’t a far drive for TCU fans so I expect this to be closer to a home game for the Horned Frogs, which could ultimately be the difference.
TCU: 34 Kansas State: 29 lay the points with TCU and the O/U could be tricky in this game, which has come down 1 point already, so cautiously take that over
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
LSU -v- Georgia (Atlanta, GA) Georgia -18.5 O/U 50.5
LSU is 9-3 and ranked #14 this week. Junior quarterback Jayden Daniels has completed an amazing 68.6% of his passes for 2,566 yards, 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. Daniels, who also leads the Tigers in rushing with 824 yards and rushing touchdowns with 11 is questionable this Saturday with an ankle injury. Junior running back Josh Williams is probable for Saturday with a sore knee and has 481 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Sophomore wide receiver Malik Nabers has 58 catches for 726 yards and one touchdown. Junior wideout Kayshon Boutte has been a bit underused this season, only getting 42 catches for 431 yards and one touchdown. The LSU defense has been good, giving up 21.5 points per game and 347.7 yards per game while getting 25 sacks, six interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries. Senior linebacker Micah Bakersville has 74 tackles, one sack, six pass deflections and one pick six. Freshman phenom Harold Perkins, Jr. has 59 tackles, four pass deflections, one interception, two forced fumbles and leads LSU with 7.5 sacks.
Georgia is 12-0 and ranked #1 in the poll. Senior quarterback Stetson Bennett has completed 67.2% of his passes for 3,151 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. Bennett also has 190 rushing yards and is tied for second on the team with seven rushing touchdowns. Senior running back Kenny McIntosh has 654 yards, eight touchdowns and has added 437 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. Junior running backs Daijun Edwards and Kendal Milton have combined for 1,034 yards and 13 touchdowns. Sophomore tight end Brock Bowers has 46 receptions for 645 yards and five touchdowns. Sophomore wide receiver Ladd McConkey has 46 receptions for 606 yards and four touchdowns. The Bulldogs’ defense has been great, giving up only 270.7 yards per game, fourth best in the country, and a nation’s best 11.3 points per game while getting 22 sacks, eight interceptions and five fumble recoveries. Freshman defensive back Malaki Starks is having an incredible season, leading the Dawgs with 60 tackles, has seven pass deflections and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions. Sophomore linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson has 59 tackles, three sacks, two pass deflections and one forced fumble.
Georgia’s defense gets a lot of the attention, RIGHTFULLY SO, but their offense has been just as good, finishing the season eighth overall with 488.8 yards per game. LSU’s offense is run through quarterback Jayden Daniels, which plays into the hands of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart’s defense. Kirby’s defenses usually feast on one dimensional offenses. LSU’s loss last week, to a horrible Texas A&M team, took some of the luster off this game, but no matter if LSU won that game or not, Georgia is going to blow the doors off the Bayou Bengals to capture the SEC Championship.
Georgia: 34 LSU: 10 lay the points with Georgia and take the under
BIG 10 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Purdue -v- Michigan (Indianapolis, IN) Michigan -16.5 O.U 52.5
Purdue is 8-4 and unranked this week. Senior quarterback Aidan O’Connell has completed 63.7% of his passes for 3,124 yards, 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Freshman running back Devin Mockobee led the Boilermakers with 849 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Charlie Jones had a monster season, third in the country with 97 receptions, fifth with 1,199 yards and tied for third with 12 touchdowns. Senior tight end Payne Durham had 54 catches for 550 yards and eight touchdowns. The Purdue defense is decent, giving up 23.1 points per game and 347.1 yards per game while getting 28 sacks, 13 interceptions and five fumble recoveries. Junior safety Sanoussi Kane has 63 tackles, one sack, three pass deflections, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Senior safety Cam Allen has 41 tackles, six pass deflections, three interceptions with one returned for a touchdown and two fumble recoveries. Senior defensive end Jack Sullivan leads the Purdue defense with 5.5 sacks.
Michigan is 12-0 and ranked #2 in this week’s poll. Sophomore quarterback JJ McCarthy has thrown for 2,215 yards while completing 65.3% of his passes for 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions. McCarthy has chipped in 240 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. Junior running back Blake Corum is one of the best backs in the country. Corum is eighth in the country with 1,463 yards and is tied for fourth with 18 rushing touchdowns. But on Thursday Michigan announced that Corum is done for the season as he will have surgery to repair his injured knee. Sophomore running back Donovan Edwards has filled in for the injured Corum and has 687 yards and six touchdowns while adding 188 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Ronnie Bell has 51 receptions for 687 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wideout Cornelius Johnson has 29 catches for 460 yards and six touchdowns. The Michigan defense has been statistically great. Against bad offenses they are dominant but against the only two good offenses they faced this season they’ve given up a lot of yards and points. Overall, the Wolverines are giving up only 12.7 points per game, third in the nation, and 262.2 yards per game, second in the nation, and have gotten 32 sacks, 10 interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Sophomore linebacker Junior Colson has 80 tackles and two sacks. Senior linebacker Michael Barrett has 57 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one pass deflection and two interceptions, one of which was a pick six. Senior linebacker Mike Morris leads the Michigan defense with seven sacks.
Ok, Michigan fans, ok, I WAS WRONG. Michigan is a damn good team, but I’m still not sure about that defense. When they play anyone with a good offense, they seem to have trouble. Purdue is just such a team; their pass offense is very good. And there’s a reason they’ve picked up the moniker the Spoilermakers. Under head coach Jeff Brohm, when the Boilermakers are unranked, they are 3-0 against teams ranked in the top 3. However, Michigan showed they can put up a lot of points last week against a decent defense and I think Brohm gets his first L against a top 3 team, and I don’t think it’s going to be close.
Michigan: 47 Purdue: 27 lay the points with Michigan and take the over
ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Clemson -v- North Carolina (Charlotte, NC) Clemson -7.5 O/U 63.5
Clemson is 10-2 and ranked #9 in the poll this week. Junior quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has struggled this season, completing only 62.4% of his passes for 2,511 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. DJU is second on the team with 545 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns. Sophomore running back Will Shipley has 1,092 yards and 14 touchdowns. Freshman wide receiver Antonio Williams has 50 catches for 523 yards and four touchdowns. Senior wideout Joseph Ngata and senior tight end Davis Allen have combined for 60 catches for 770 yards and six touchdowns. The Clemson defense has been good this season but not as good as the Clemson defenses of the recent past. They’re giving up only 20.9 points per game and 326.7 yards per game while getting 35 sacks, 11 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries. Sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, Jr. has 71 tackles, 2.5 sacks, five pass deflections, two interceptions with one a pick six and one forced fumble. Junior linebacker Trenton Simpson has 65 tackles, 2.5 sacks, three pass deflections and two forced fumbles. Junior defensive end Myles Murphy leads the Tigers with 6.5 sacks.
North Carolina is 9-3 and ranked #23 in this week’s poll. Freshman quarterback Drake Maye has been lighting it up! The frosh is completing 67.7% of his passes, is fourth in the country with 3,847 passing yards, tied for fourth with 35 passing touchdowns and has thrown five interceptions. Maye also leads the Tar Heels in rushing with 629 yards and is tied for second with six rushing touchdowns. Sophomore running back Elijah Green has 443 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Junior wideout Josh Downs has 83 catches for 929 yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Antoine Green has 38 catches for 745 yards and seven touchdowns. The North Carolina defense has just been AWFUL, giving up 30.3 points per game (103rd in the country) and 442.7 yards per game (117th in the country) while getting 16 sacks, eight interceptions and five fumble recoveries. If there’s one bright spot on the UNC defense it’s junior linebacker Cedric Gray, who is eighth in the country with 129 tackles, tied for 2nd with 72 solo tackles, has one sack, five pass deflections, two interceptions, is tied for fourth with three forced fumbles and has two fumble recoveries. Sophomore linebacker Power Echols has 93 tackles, two sacks, one pass deflection and one forced fumble.
UNC quarterback Drake Maye is having a Heisman-type season. He’s shouldered the majority of the Tar Heels workload on offense and UNC is in the ACC Championship game mostly because of him. Clemson’s offense has been well below what they’ve become accustomed to from quarterbacks such as Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence, but they’ve shown some flashes of how good they can be at times this season. The Tigers’ defense also hasn’t lived up to the standard set by defenses of the recent past, but they’ve also been good enough most of the season. While North Carolina’s defense has been pathetic I think they’ll make just enough plays to keep UNC in this game and ultimately pull the upset, getting North Carolina’s first ACC Championship since 1980.
North Carolina: 38 Clemson: 30 take the points with UNC and take the over.