TJ’S THREE: WEEK 12
Last week: 1-2 Straight Up; 1-2 ATS (Against the Spread)
Season: 20-13 Straight Up; 15-17 ATS
Michigan State @ Ohio State (Columbus, OH) OSU -19.5
Michigan State is 9-1 and ranked #7 in this week’s College Football Playoff Poll. Sophomore QB Payton Thorne has thrown for 2,460 yards, 21 TD’s and 8 Int’s. He’s also rushed for 147 yards and 3 TD’s. The rushing attack is led by Heisman Hopeful junior RB Kenneth Walker, III. Walker leads the nation in rushing yards with 1,473 and is tied for 1st with 17 TD’s. Junior WR Jayden Reed leads with 45 catches for 829 yards and 7 TD’s while fellow junior WR Jalen Nailor has 31 receptions, 587 yards and 6 TD’s. The defense has given up a lot of yards, 443.8 per game, but not a lot of points, 22.5 per game. They have 32 sacks, 8 Int’s and 8 fumble recoveries. Senior safety Xavier Henderson has 82 tackles, 52 solo, 3 sacks, 1 Int and 1 forced fumble. Junior LB, and Tennessee transfer, Quavaris Crouch has 72 tackles, 36 solo, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery.
Ohio State is 9-1 and ranked #4 in this week’s CFP Poll. Freshman QB CJ Stroud is 11th in the country in passing yards with 3,036, 5th with 30 TD’s and has thrown 5 Int’s. Freshman RB Treveyon Henderson has rushed for 1,035 yards, 14 TD’s, which is tied for 6th in the country, and has 223 receiving yards and 3 TD’s. Sophomore WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba has 59 catches for 1,027 yards and 5 TDs. Junior WR Garrett Wilson has 53 receptions for 813 yards and 9 TD’s while senior WR Chris Olave has 51 grabs for 708 yards and 11 TD’s. The defense has been much better than the start of the season. The Buckeyes give up 368 yards per game, 20.2 points per game. They have sacked the opposing QB 33 times, gotten 11 Int’s, returned 4 for TD’s and recovered 5 fumbles. Sophomore safety Ronnie Hickman leads with 80 tackles, his 47 solo tackles are more than the next highest player in total tackles. He also has 1 sack, 2 Int’s and 1 TD. Senior K Noah Ruggles has made all 16 field goals and all 57 extra points.
Prediction: While I don’t like previewing the same team in consecutive weeks, I just couldn’t pass up this game. Michigan State’s weakness is their passing defense and Ohio State can throw the ball. Kenneth Walker, III is worth the price of admission and Ohio State’s defensive weakness has been their run defense. While it could be a back-and-forth slugfest, I think Ohio State’s defense makes enough plays to get that high powered offense the ball late to win the game. Ohio State: 43 Michigan State: 33. Take Michigan State getting the points, but the Buckeyes will win.
Oregon @ Utah (Salt Lake City, UT) Utah -3.5
Oregon is 9-1 and ranked #3 in this week’s CFP Poll. Senior QB Anthony Brown has thrown for 2,030 yards, 12 TD’s and 4 Int’s while chipping in 551 rushing yards and 8 TD’s. Junior RB Travis Dye leads the Ducks in rushing with 908 yards and 12 TD’s. The all-purpose back also has 32 catches for 302 yards and 2 TD’s. Sophomore WR Devin Williams has 23 receptions for 349 yards and 2 TD’s. Senior Johnny Johnson, III has 25 catches for 311 yards and 1 TD but has been banged up and is listed as questionable for the game at Utah. The defense has given up 367.9 yards per game and 22.6 points per game while getting 21 sacks, 14 Int’s, and 6 fumble recoveries. Freshman LB Noah Sewell has 79 tackles, 34 solo, 3 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Sophomore safety Verone McKinley, III is 2nd on the team with 58 tackles, 34 solo, has 1 forced fumble, and is tied for 1st in the nation with 5 Int’s.
Utah is 7-3 and ranked #23 in this week’s CFP Poll. Sophomore QB Cameron Rising has thrown for 1,752 yards, 14 TD’s and only 2 Int’s while rushing for 321 yards and 4 TD’s. Sophomore RB Tavion Thomas leads the Utes with 742 rushing yards and is tied for 6th in the nation with 14 TD’s. Thomas missed Utah’s last game with an undisclosed injury and is questionable for this week’s game with Oregon. Junior RB TJ Pledger and freshman RB Micah Bernard will split the carries. Pledger has 502 rushing yards and 5 TD’s while Bernard has 428 yards and 2 TD’s. Bernard also has 21 catches for 211 yards and 1 receiving TD. Junior TE’s Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid have combined for 60 catches, 714 yards and 10 TD’s. Freshman WR Devaughn Vele has 19 receptions for 346 yards and 1 TD. Nobody, aside from Kuithe and Kincaid, has more than 1 receiving TD. The defense has given up 340.6 yards per game and 23.8 points per game while getting 30 sacks, 7 Int’s, 2 TD’s and 5 fumble recoveries. Junior LB Devin Lloyd has to be the front-runner for the Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Lloyd has 85 tackles, 48 solo, 6 sacks, 3 Int’s, 1 TD, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. Junior DE Mika Tafua leads the Utes with 7.5 sacks and has added 40 tackles, 25 solo, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery.
Prediction: Our friends in Vegas know a thing or two about point spreads but this is a head scratcher for me. Oregon is #3 in the country and started off as a 2.5- point underdog and that line has now moved to 3.5. Statistically these defenses are very similar, but I think the difference will be Oregon’s offense. Utah will miss Tavion Thomas if he can’t go a lot more than Oregon will miss Johnny Johnson, III if he can’t go. This will be a tight game and I think it will come down to a last minute/second field goal. And honestly, how can I pick against Travis Dye and that Magnum PI Stache!! Oregon: 31 Utah: 28, take the Ducks getting the points.
Arkansas @ Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL) Alabama -21.5
Arkansas is 7-3 and ranked #21 in this week’s CFP Poll. Sophomore QB KJ Jefferson has 1,990 yards passing with 17 TD’s and only 3 Int’s. Jefferson leads the team in rushing attempts with 107 rushes and is 2nd both with 474 rushing yards and 5 rushing TD’s. The Razorbacks use multiple players in their rushing attack. Junior RB Trelon Smith has 513 yards and 4 TD’s, Freshman RB Raheim Sanders has 460 yards rushing and 1 TD while sophomore Dominique Johnson has 456 yards and 6 TD’s. Jefferson’s primary target has been junior WR Treylon Burks who has 51 catches for 796 yards and 8 TD’s, each of these numbers are more than double the next player on the Hogs roster. The defense has been a bit leaky but respectable. They give up 346.9 yards per game but only 22.9 points per game and have gotten 18 sacks, 10 Int’s and 2 fumble recoveries. Senior LB Bumper Pool leads with 100 tackles, 33 solo. Senior DB Montaric Brown has 4 Int’s and 44 tackles, 20 solo. Senior DL Tre Williams has 6 sacks and 23 tackles.
Alabama is 9-1 and ranked #2 in the CFP Poll. Sophomore QB Bryce Young is 12th in the nation with 3,025 passing yards, 3rd with 33 passing TD’s and has only thrown 3 Int’s. Senior RB Brian Robinson, Jr. has rushed for 823 yards and 14 TD’s, tied for 6th in the nation. He also has 23 catches for 205 yards and 2 TD’s. An incredible pair of junior WR’s lead the Bama receivers as Jameson Williams has 51 catches for 1,028 yards and 10 TD’s while John Metchie, III has 67 catches for 722 yards and 6 TD’s. The Tide defense has been good, giving up 288.3 yards per game and only 18.2 points per game while racking up 34 sacks, 12 Int’s and 4 fumble recoveries. The leading tackler is Tennessee transfer Henry To’oTo’o. The junior LB has 71 tackles, 27 solo, 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Sophomore LB Will Anderson, Jr. leads the nation with 12 sacks, and he also has 67 tackles, 35 solo.
Prediction: Arkansas is mostly a one-dimensional team, focused primarily on the run game so if they get down big early this will turn into a beat down. Alabama’s secondary is vulnerable, but I don’t think Arkansas has the passing game to exploit this weakness. Bryce Young is one of the Heisman Trophy front-runners and will do some major damage to that Razorback secondary. Alabama: 45 Arkansas: 17 Take Bama giving the points.