TJ’S THREE: WEEK 3
Last week: 1-2 Straight Up; 1-2 ATS (Against the Spread)
Season: 2-4 Straight Up; 3-3 ATS
Alabama-Florida (Gainesville, FL) Alabama -14.5 per FanDuel
Alabama is rolling right along. You would never know they had to replace the majority of their offense this season. They’ve destroyed Miami and Mercer in the first two games of the 2021 season. QB Bryce Young has thrown for 551 yards and 7TD’s with 0 Int’s. His top two WR targets are a pair of juniors, James Williams who has 7 catches for 157 yards and 2 TD’s and John Metchie, III who has 11 catches for 146 yards and 1 TD. The running game has been by committee with senior Brian Robinson, Jr. getting the bulk of the work. He amassed 130 yards on 22 carries with 1 TD. Bama’s defense is as stingy as ever, led by sophomore LB Will Anderson, Jr. who leads the team with 9 tackles. The defense has only given up 506 yards in the first two games. This will be the Tide’s first road game of the season, but c’mon, this is Nick Saban we’re talking about. They will be prepared.
Florida opened the season with wins against Florida Atlantic and South Florida. While neither win was impressive the Gators got the job done. Starting QB Emory Jones got the nod in both games but struggled. Jones has thrown for 264 yards and 2 TD’s but also 4 Int’s in the two games. He also has 155 yards rushing with 1 TD. Jones was replaced in both games by star freshman Anthony Richardson. Richardson has thrown for 192 yards in limited action but has 2 TD’s with 0 Int’s. Richardson’s mainly been effective in the run game. He leads the Gators in rushing with 275 rushing yards and 2 TD’s. Florida outgained FAU 553-360 and USF 666-311. The Gators defense has been tough, led in tackles by redshirt senior Jeremiah Moon who has 11. The Gators defense will be heavily relied upon to slow down the high-powered Bama offense.
Prediction: The game being played at Florida gives you a slight pause on instantly taking Bama and the points. However, with Florida’s ineffectiveness on offense and with the struggles of starter Emory Jones it will be difficult for the Gators to match the Tide offense score for score. Alabama just has too many weapons for Florida to keep up with. The Florida defense may get a few stops early, but the Alabama defense will stifle the Gator offense. As I’ve previously said, until someone proves they can do it you’ve gotta take Bama and the points. Alabama: 43 Florida: 20 The Tide easily cover the 15.5 points.
Virginia Tech-West Virginia (Morgantown, WV) WVU -2.5 per FanDuel
Virginia Tech rolled over North Carolina in their opener then beat Middle Tennessee State. The Hokies started slow against MTSU but then rolled in the 2nd half. Junior RB Raheem Blackshear rushed for 60 yards but he scored 2 TD’s, one late in the 3rd quarter and one early in the 4th. The Tech passing game struggled as QB Braxton Burmeister finished with only 116 yards and 1 TD. Freshman Knox Kadum came in and completed three passes for only 17 yards. The Hokies defense shut down North Carolina Heisman hopeful QB Same Howell and the Tar Heels offense in week one. UNC only passed for 208 yards while gaining 146 on the ground. Howell threw for 1 TD but the Hokies picked him off 3 times. The defense gave up 351 yards against MTSU. They’ll need to tighten up on defense if they want to shut down the WVU offense.
West Virginia opened with a 30-24 loss at Maryland but bounced back with a lopsided win against Long Island University, 66-0. WVU QB Jarret Doege struggled with efficiency in week 1, only hitting on 24-42 passes for 280 yards with 1 TD but also 2 Int’s. The WVU run game was non-existent as they only managed 22 net yards on the ground. Against LIU the offense woke up, gaining 542 yards and Doege threw for 3 TD’s. The Mountaineer defense stuffed LIU, giving up only 95 yards and no points. Much improved after giving up 496 yards to Maryland in week 1. Doege and the offense will need to put some points on the board against the VT defense if they want to win this game.
Prediction: Virginia Tech will be playing its first road game of the season, going into a hostile environment in Morgantown. With the ineffectiveness of the offense the Hokies have a tough task against a very good WVU defense. The WVU offense will have a jump in competition from LIU going up against the Hokies’ lunch pail defense. If they don’t get rolling and into a rhythm it will be a long day for the home team. VT: 31 WVU: 30 Take Virginia Tech getting the 2.5 points.
Arizona State-BYU (Provo, UT) Arizona State -3.5 per FanDuel
Arizona State is coming off two wins against far inferior competition, Southern Utah in week 1 and UNLV in week 2. While the Sun Devils won both games they struggled doing so. Week 1 saw the offense sputtering at times, a horrid special teams effort and terrible discipline as Arizona State was penalized 13 times for 135 yards. Coach Herm Edwards described the effort in his post-game presser, “That’s bad football. Bad. I’m a bad coach. That’s bad football and we’ve got to fix that.” Sophomore QB Jayden Daniels threw for only 132 yards with no TD’s but he did chip in 40 yards rushing. The ASU defense only gave up 219 yards and caused 4 turnovers. Week 2 started off the same way week 1 did for Arizona State as they struggled in the first half against UNLV. The second half was a different story. The offense seemed to gel and outscored the Rebels 23-0 in the second half. Daniels threw for 175 yards, 2 TD’s and 1 Int, but he scorched the UNLV defense with his legs. He finished the game with 125 yards rushing. Junior RB Rachaad White had 90 yards rushing and 2 TD’s. The defense again bailed out the Sun Devils as Arizona State outgained UNLV 462-155.
BYU defeated Arizona 24-16 in week 1. Replacing star QB Zach Wilson, who was chosen #2 overall by the New York Jets in the 2021 NFL Draft, is Jaren Hall. The sophomore signal caller picked his way through the Wildcat defense for 198 yards passing and 2 TD’s while chipping in 36 yards rushing. Sophomore RB Tyler Allgeier rushed for 94 yards and a TD. While BYU was outgained by Arizona 426-368 the Cougar defense was able to make enough plays to get the win. In week 2 BYU faced bitter rival Utah in what is dubbed The Holy War. Hall threw for 150 yards and 3 TD’s and rushed for 92 yards leading the Cougars to their first win against Utah since 2009, 26-17. Allgeier led the rushing attack with 109 yards on 27 rushes. BYU outgained the Utes 387-351 and the defense came up with 2 turnovers.
Prediction: To be perfectly honest I’m not sure how Arizona State is favored in this game. They’ve looked terrible against two teams that, frankly, they should have destroyed. They cleaned up the penalty problem in week 2 but they’re going to need to be firing on all cylinders to win this game. BYU has a great 1-2 punch with QB Hall and RB Allgeier. Their defense has been tested more than ASU’s has and I think the home crowd in Provo will be rocking for this game after getting the Utah monkey off their back. BYU: 27 Arizona State: 21 Take BYU all day getting those points.