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TJ’s Pick 3, Championship Week by TJ Chapman

TJ’S THREE: CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK

Last week: 2-1 Straight Up; 2-1 ATS (Against the Spread)

Season: 24-15 Straight Up; 17-21 ATS

SEC CHAMPIONSHIP

Alabama-v-Georgia (Atlanta, GA) Georgia -6.5 per FanDuel

Alabama is 11-1 and ranked #3 in the College Football Playoff Poll. Sophomore QB Bryce Young has thrown for 3,901 yards, 6th in the nation, 40 TD’s, tied for 2nd in the nation and 4 Int’s. Senior RB Brian Robinson, Jr. has 1,016 yards rushing, 14 TD’s, 29 catches, 252 receiving yards and 2 receiving TD’s. Robinson has been hobbled by a leg injury and is questionable for the SEC Championship game. Junior WR Jameson Williams leads the Alabama receivers with 61 catches for 1,261 yards and 13 TD’s. He’s 9th in the country in yards and tied for 2nd in TD’s. Junior WR John Metchie, III has 90 catches for 1,045 yards and 7 TD’s. The 90 catches are tied for 8th most in the country. The defense has been very good, giving up 294.2 yards per game, 19.9 points per game while getting 43 sacks, 13 Int’s and 5 fumble recoveries. Junior LB, and Tennessee transfer, Henry To’oTo’o leads the Crimson Tide with 92 tackles, 41 solo, 4 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Sophomore LB Will Anderson, Jr. has 85 tackles, 49 solo and leads the nation with 14.5 sacks.

Georgia is 12-0 and ranked #1 in the College Football Playoff Poll. Senior QB Stetson Bennett has 1,985 passing yards, 21 TD’s and 5 Int’s. Junior RB Zamir White leads the Bulldogs with 691 yards rushing and 10 TD’s. Senior RB James Cook has 581 rushing yards and 7 TD’s. Monster freshman TE Brock Bowers leads all Dawgs receivers in receptions, with 37, yards with 652 and TD’s with 10. Fellow freshman WR Ladd McConkey is 2nd in all 3 categories with 26 catches for 395 yards and 4 TD’s. The defense, as I’ve said many times this season, is ridiculously good! They only give up 230.6 yards per game, an insane 6.92 points per game while getting 41 sacks, 12 Int’s, 3 TD’s and 4 fumble recoveries. Senior LB Channing Tindall has 57 tackles, 29 solo, 4.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Junior LB Nakobe Dean has 56 tackles, 25 solo, 5 sacks, 2 Int’s and 1 forced fumble. The majority of their 2 deep will be playing in the NFL at some point over the next few years.

Prediction: Alabama showed the world that they can take a punch in the mouth and keep fighting as they were less than 3 minutes away from losing the Iron Bowl to a mediocre Auburn team. They showed resilience and pulled out a double overtime win on the road. Georgia is, well, the best team in the country. In my opinion it’s not even close. Can they be beaten? They sure can, but will they??? I don’t think so. Alabama’s offensive line isn’t as strong as in years past and the Dawgs front 7 are going to have a field day. Georgia: 27 Alabama 14. Take Georgia giving the points.

ACC CHAMPIONSHIP

Pitt-v-Wake Forest (Charlotte, NC) Pitt -2.5

Pitt is 10-2 and ranked #15 in the College Football Playoff Poll. Senior QB Kenny Pickett is 5th in the country with 4,066 passing yards and tied for 2nd in the country with 40 TD’s to go along with 7 Int’s. He also rushed for 221 yards and 4 TD’s. Sophomore RB Israel Abanikanda is the Panthers leading rusher with 580 yards and 5 TD’s but he missed the Syracuse game last week and is questionable for the ACC Championship game. Junior RB Vincent Davis has 511 rushing yards and 4 TD’s. Sophomore WR Jordan Addison is a Biletnikoff Award finalist, given out to the nation’s top WR. He is 13th in the country with 85 catches, 4th in receiving yards with 1,353 and tied for 1st with 17 TD’s. Junior Jared Wayne has chipped in 43 catches for 606 yards and 4 TD’s. The Defense has been ok, giving up 353.8 yards per game, 23.3 points per game while getting 46 sacks, 11 Int’s, 3 TD’s and 6 fumble recoveries. Junior LB Sirvocea Dennis has 64 tackles, 29 solo, 2 sacks, 1 Int that he returned for a TD, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. Sophomore DB Brandon Hill also has 64 tackles, 33 solo, 1 Int, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. Junior DL Habakkuk Baldonado leads the Panther defense with 8 sacks.

Wake Forest is 10-2 and ranked #16 in the College Football Playoff Poll. Sophomore QB Sam Hartman is 9th in the country with 3,711 passing yards and 9th with 34 TD’s, to go along with 10 Int’s. He also rushed for 342 yards and 10 TD’s. Junior RB Christian Beal-Smith has 557 rushing yards and 7 TD’s. Freshman RB Justice Ellison has 477 yards and 6 TD’s. Sophomore WR A.T. Perry leads the Demon Deacons receivers with 56 catches for 1,112 yards and is tied for 2nd in the nation with 13 TD’s. Junior Jaquarii Roberson has 62 catches for 1,024 yards and 8 TD’s. The Deacons’ defense is ATROCIOUS!! They give up 427.1 yards per game, 29.1 points per game while getting 32 sacks, 13 Int’s and 14 fumble recoveries. Junior LB Ryan Smenda, Jr. has 66 tackles, 33 solo and 2 forced fumbles. Sophomore DL Rondell Bothroyd has 59 tackles, 33 solo, 7 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. Senior DB Traveon Redd has 57 tackles, 35 solo, 1.5 sacks, 3 Int’s, 1 TD, 2 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries.

Prediction: This game should be a shootout. Both offenses are lighting it up and both defenses give up a lot of yards. Pitt’s tandem of Pickett and Addison is one of the best in the country. Sam Hartman has played very well this season, but I think Pitt’s defense will make the necessary stops to pull out the win. Pitt: 47 Wake Forest: 30. Take Pitt giving the points.

PAC 12 CHAMPIONSHIP

Oregon-v-Utah (Las Vegas, NV) Utah -3.5

Oregon is 10-2 and ranked #10 in the College Football Playoff Poll. Senior QB Anthony Brown has 2,536 passing yards, 15 TD’s and 4 Int’s to go along with 642 rushing yards and 9 TD’s. Junior RB, and mustachio extraordinaire, Travis Dye has 1,036 yards rushing and 14 TD’s. He also chipped in 37 catches for 347 yards and 2 TD’s. Sophomore WR Devon Williams paces the Ducks receivers with 34 catches for 540 yards and 4 TD’s. Freshman WR Kris Hutson added 24 catches for 358 yards and 1 TD. The defense has been leaky at times with a bend but don’t break mentality. They’ve given up 24.4 points per game, 372.8 yards per game while getting 22 sacks, 15 Int’s and 6 fumble recoveries. Freshman LB Noah Sewell leads the Ducks with 97 tackles, 43 solo, and has 4 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Sophomore safety Verone McKinley III has 67 tackles, 40 solo, 6 passes broken up, 1 forced fumble and is tied for 1st in the nation with 5 Int’s. Sophomore DE Kayvon Thibodeaux has 46 tackles, 32 solo with 6 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Thibodeaux will be a 1st round NFL draft pick if he chooses to leave Oregon after this season.

Utah is 9-3 and ranked #17 in the College Football Playoff Poll. Sophomore QB Cameron Rising has 2,109 passing yards, 17 TD’s, is tied for 3rd nationally with only 3 Int’s while chipping in 346 rushing yards and 5 TD’s. Sophomore RB Tavion Thomas leads the Utes with 978 rushing yards and is tied for 6th nationally with 18 TD’s. Junior RB TJ Pledger has 651 yards and 5 TD’s. Junior TE Brant Kuithe leads the Utah receivers with 43 catches for 522 yards and 6 TD’s. The defense has been pretty good, giving up 323.2 yards per game and 21.5 points per game. They’ve accumulated 37 sacks, 7 Int’s and 5 fumble recoveries. Junior LB Devin Lloyd has been outstanding for the Utes. He has 100 tackles, 58 solo, 7 sacks, 3 Int’s, 1 TD, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. Junior DE Mika Tafua leads Utah with 9.5 sacks.

Prediction: 2 weeks ago, the Utes destroyed Oregon 38-7. Utah has been playing really well in the 2nd half of the season and Oregon has stumbled a bit. I don’t think this game will be another blow out. If Oregon can get the run game going, they will win this game but that’s a big if going against a very confident Utah defense. But it’s also very difficult to beat a team twice in the same season. Oregon: 27 Utah: 24. Take the Ducks getting the points.

BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP

Baylor-v-Oklahoma State (Arlington, TX) Oklahoma State -4.5

Baylor is 10-2 and ranked #9 in the College Football Playoff Poll. Junior QB Gerry Bohanon has 2,175 yards passing, 17 TD’s and 6 Int’s. Bohanon has also rushed for 301 yards and 9 TD’s. Senior RB Abram Smith is 7th in the country with 1,366 rushing yards and 12 TD’s. Senior RB Trestan Ebner has 748 rushing yards and 2 TD’s to go along with 25 catches for 257 yards and 2 receiving TD’s. Senior WR Tyquan Thornton leads the Bears receivers with 55 catches for 875 yards and 8 TD’s. Fellow senior WR R.J. Sneed has 43 catches for 555 yards and 2 TD’s. The defense has been a bit leaky with the yards but not the points. They’ve given up 349 yards per game but only 19.4 points per game while getting 30 sacks, 12 Int’s and 8 fumble recoveries. Senior LB Terrel Bernard leads the Baylor defenders with 76 tackles, 46 solo and 5 sacks. Senior safety J.T. Woods has 46 tackles, 35 solo, with 3 Int’s, 1 TD and 1 fumble recovery.

Oklahoma State is 11-1 and ranked #5 in the College Football Playoff Poll. Junior QB Spencer Sanders has thrown for 2,211 yards, 16 TD’s and 8 Int’s. He added 510 rushing yards and 6 TD’s. Senior RB Jaylen Warren has rushed for 1,134 yards and 11 TD’s. Senior WR Tay Martin has 61 catches for 854 yards and 7 TD’s. Sophomore WR Brennan Presley has 38 catches for 462 yards and 5 TD’s. No other Cowboy receiver has more than 20 catches or 300 yards on the year. The defense has been great! They only give up 281.4 yards per game and 16.4 points per game while getting 47 sacks, 8 Int’s and 8 fumble recoveries. Senior LB Malcom Rodriguez has 106 tackles, 60 solo, 3 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 for a TD. Freshman DE Collin Oliver leads the Pokes with 8.5 sacks.

Prediction: This game will be the opposite of the Pitt-Wake Forest game, it’s going to be a defensive masterpiece. Neither team has lit the world on fire offensively, but their defenses have. Both offenses can score enough to be respectable, but I’d still take the under, which per FanDuel is 46.5. Oklahoma State: 23 Baylor: 17. Take Oklahoma State giving the points.

BIG 10 CHAMPIONSHIP

Michigan-v-Iowa (Indianapolis, IN) Michigan -10.5

Michigan is 11-2 and ranked #2 in the College Football Playoff Poll. Junior QB Cade McNamara has 2,301 passing yards, 14 TD’s and 3 Int’s. Senior RB Hassan Haskins has 1,232 yards and is tied for 5th nationally with 18 rushing TD’s. Sophomore RB Blake Corum has 865 yards and 10 TD’s. Junior WR Cornelius Johnson has 36 catches for 587 yards and 3 TD’s. Junior TE Erick All has 32 catches for 331 yards and 1 TD. The Wolverine defense has been good, giving up 319.2 yards per game, 17.2 points per game while getting 33 sacks, 7 Int’s and 8 fumble recoveries. Senior DE Aidan Hutchinson has 54 tackles, 32 solo, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery and is 3rd nationally with 13 sacks. Junior LB David Ojabo has 11 sacks and is tied for 2nd nationally with 5 forced fumbles.

Iowa is 10-2 and ranked #13 in the College Football Playoff Poll. Junior QB Spencer Petras has thrown for 1,532 yards, 9 TD’s and 6 Int’s. Junior RB Tyler Goodson has rushed for 1,101 yards and 6 TD’s while chipping in 219 receiving yards and 1 TD. Junior TE Sam Laporta has 40 catches for 486 yards and 2 TD’s. Freshman WR Keagan Johnson has 17 catches for 339 yards and 2 TD’s. The defense has been a typical Kirk Farentz defense, very good. The Hawkeyes give up 315.7 yards per game and 17.3 points per game while getting 24 sacks, 22 Int’s, 3 TD’s and 6 fumble recoveries. Junior LB Jack Campbell has 121 tackles, tied for 8th nationally, 51 solo, 1 sack, 1 Int that he returned for a TD, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 of those were for a TD. Junior DB Dane Belton is tied for 1st in the nation with 5 Int’s. Senior DB Riley Moss has 4 Int’s, 2 of which he returned for TD’s.

Prediction: 2 very good defenses in this game. Michigan’s front 7 are great while Iowa’s defense is a bunch of ball hawks. The major difference here is that Iowa’s offense is not built for quick scores or comebacks. Michigan’s offense is also a ground and pound type of offense, but they can score quick, just ask Ohio State. I think Michigan’s offense will score early and often and shortly after halftime this game will be decided. Michigan: 38 Iowa 13. Take Michigan giving the points all day.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

Houston-v-Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH) Cincinnati -10.5

Houston is 11-1 and ranked #21 in the College Football Playoff Poll. Junior QB Clayton Tune has 3,013 passing yards, 26 TD’s and 8 Int’s. Freshman RB Alton McCaskill leads the Cougars with 844 yards rushing and his 16 TD’s are 9th in the country. Junior RB Ta’Zhawn Henry has 492 yards and 7 TD’s. Tune’s favorite target is sophomore WR Nathaniel Dell, who has more than double the catches, yards and TD’s of all of his teammates. Dell has 77 catches for 1,027 yards and 11 TD’s. Junior WR Jeremy Singleton has 26 catches for 470 yards and 5 TD’s. The Cougar defense has been good this year, giving up 288.6 yards per game, 19.8 points per game while getting 41 sacks, 14 Int’s, 2 TD’s and 8 fumble recoveries. Junior LB Donovan Mutin has 65 tackles, 41 solo, 2 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery. Senior CB Marcus Jones is tied for the lead nationally with 5 Int’s. Junior DL D’Anthony Jones has 6 sacks and 4 forced fumbles.

Cincinnati is 12-0 and ranked #4 in the College Football Playoff Poll. Senior QB Desmond Ridder has 3,000 yards passing, 27 TD’s and 8 Int’s to go with 342 rushing yards and 6 TD’s. Junior RB Jerome Ford has 1,055 rushing yards and is 8th nationally with 17 TD’s. Senior WR Alec Pierce leads the Bearcats with 48 receptions for 802 yards and 7 TD’s. Sophomore WR Tyler Scott has 25 catches for 452 yards and 4 TD’s. The defense has been one of the best in the country. They’re 8th nationally with 303.2 yards per game and 3rd nationally with 15.8 points per game while getting 29 sacks, 17 Int’s and 15 fumble recoveries. Senior Joel Dublanko has 99 tackles, 52 solo, 3.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. Junior CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner has an incredible stat. From the start of his collegiate career through week 12 of this season, Sauce has played 1,008 career snaps and has never given up a TD.

Prediction: both offenses are high-flying pass happy offenses and both defenses are stingy. The only Power 5 team Houston has played was in the opener against TCU and that was their only loss of the season. Cincinnati has beaten both of their Power 5 opponents, Indiana and Notre Dame. The QB’s stats are nearly identical but Ridder’s has come against better competition. The Bearcats have more weapons on offense, and I think with what they have riding on this game they step up and get the W. Cincinnati: 28 Houston: 23. Take Houston getting the points but Cincy wins.

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