TJ’S THREE: WEEK 5
Last week: 2-1 Straight Up; 2-1 ATS (Against the Spread)
Season: 6-6 Straight Up; 6-6 ATS
Arkansas @ Georgia (Athens, GA) UGA -18.5 per FanDuel
Arkansas is 4-0 heading into this week’s matchup with Georgia. They’re led by sophomore QB KJ Jefferson who has 844 passing yards with 6 TD’s and 2 Int’s. He also rushed for 230 yards and 2 TD’s. Junior Trelon Smith leads the Hogs with 298 rushing yards and 3 TD’s. Arkansas has had a balanced attack on offense this season getting 876 yards through the air and 1,044 on the ground. Jefferson’s top target is junior WR Treylon Burks who has 19 catches for 373 yards and 2 TD’s. The defense is only giving up 267.5 yards per game and 14.5 points per game. They have recovered 1 fumble, have 4 Int’s and have sacked opposing QBs 10 times. The leading tackler is senior Bumper Pool (AWESOME name) who has 38 total tackles.
Georgia is also 4-0 heading into this game. Junior QB JT Daniels & senior Stetson Bennett have combined to throw for 1,010 yards with 11 TD’s and 4 Int’s. Typical Georgia teams of recent past have run the ball relentlessly. However, this year the Bulldogs are ranked 51st in the country with 177.25 rushing yards per game. The Dawgs’ top 3 rushers have combined for 648 yards with 7 TD’s. The top receivers are freshman TE Brock Bowers who has 18 catches for 272 yards and 4 TD’s and sophomore WR Jermaine Burton who has 12 catches for 219 yards and 2 TD’s. But the story of the year is the Georgia defense. Georgia has the #1 ranked defense in the country, surrendering a paltry 5.75 points per game (my God!!!) and 181.8 yards per game. They have picked off opposing QB’s 7 times while racking up 14 sacks. If they keep up this pace they will go down as one of the best defenses ever to play, in my opinion.
Prediction: I find it very difficult for many teams to score a lot on this Georgia defense. The Hogs have a good offense, but will they be able to make the plays to get into the endzone? The 18.5 points seem a bit high to me. I like Georgia to win but definitely take Arkansas and those points. UGA: 17 Arkansas: 10
Ole Miss @ Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL) Alabama -14.5 per FanDuel
Ole Miss is 3-0 this season and is ranked #12 in the latest Sportsvivaldraft.com Top 25. The Rebels offense is led by junior QB, and Heisman Trophy frontrunner Matt Corral. If Corral leaves early for the NFL draft, he will be a 1st round pick. He has 997 passing yards with 9 TD’s and 0 Int’s to go along with 158 rushing yards and 5 TD’s. As coach Lane Kiffin likes to do, the running game is by committee. The top two rushers are junior Jerrion Ealy who has 188 yards and 1 TD but he’s averaging 6.1 yards per carry. Sophomore Henry Parrish, Jr. is second with 176 yards & 1 TD while averaging a whopping 7.0 yards per carry! The receiving corps is led by senior Dontario Drummond who has 20 catches for 339 yards and 4 TD’s. Junior Jonathan Mingo has hauled in 15 passes for 290 yards and 3 TD’s. While the Rebels defense has improved over last season, they are still being gashed for 334 yards per game. They have 9 sacks but only 1 Int pass this season. That must improve if they have any hopes of beating Bama.
Alabama is 4-0 and the clear cut #1 team in the country. Sophomore QB Bryce Young has 1,124 passing yards with 15 TD’s and only 1 Int. The running game is led by senior Brian Robinson, Jr. who has 208 yards with 2 TD’s. Sophomore Jase McClelland has 163 rushing yards and 1 TD but he’s been huge in the passing game with 9 catches for 86 yards and 3 TD’s. The Tide’s amazing pair of junior WR’s, Jameson Williams and John Metchie, III, have combined for 36 catches for 739 yards and 4 TD’s. Junior TE Cameron Lata has been a deadly target for Young as 4 of his 8 catches have been for TD’s. The Alabama defense is, as usual, tough. They’re giving up only 283.5 yards per game and have 10 sacks to go along with 6 Int’s.
Prediction: I’ve said all season to take the Crimson Tide until they give you a reason not to. Against the spread 2 weeks ago they gave me reason not to as they didn’t cover against Florida. While I’m picking Bama to win this game, I’m hesitant to give the points. Even though I know Ole Miss has a potent offense I still worry about their defense. Ok, hesitation over, take Alabama giving them 14.5 points. Bama: 47 Ole Miss: 30
Cincinnati @ Notre Dame (South Bend, IN) Cincy -1.5 per FanDuel
Cincinnati is 3-0 coming off a bye week and is ranked #7 in the Sportsvivaldraft.com Top 25 poll. The Bearcats are the top Group of 5 teams and are led by senior QB Desmond Ridder who has 748 yards passing with 7 TD’s and 2 Int’s to go along with 72 rushing yards and 2 rushing TD’s. The work horse in the running game is junior Jerome Ford who has 300 yards rushing and 6 TD’s. Ridder does a good job of spreading the ball around as 14 different Bearcats have caught a pass this season. The leaders are sophomore Tyler Scott with 7 catches for 172 yards and 2 TD’s and senior Alec Pierce who has 9 receptions for 150 yards and 1 TD. While the defense has given up 300 yards per game, they have generated 6 Int’s. This is a huge game for Cincy to make a statement and if they’re going to win this game, they will need to keep generating turnovers.
Notre Dame defeated Wisconsin last week 41-13 but star QB Jack Coan went down with a leg injury in the 3rd quarter. Freshman QB Drew Pyne stepped in and led the Irish to victory, going 6-8 for 81 yards and 1 TD. Coach Brian Kelly said this week that Coan’s injury isn’t serious, and he fully expects Coan to start against Cincinnati on Saturday. Junior WR Kevin Austin, Jr. led the receivers with 6 catches for 76 yards and 2 TD’s. The defense gave up 318 yards to the Badger offense, well below their season average, but picked off QB Graham Mertz 4 times, returning 2 of those for TD’s. The Irish defense will find that the offense they face this Saturday is vastly different than the ground and pound offense of Wisconsin.
Prediction: After the win against Wisconsin last week, I was surprised to see Notre Dame is a home underdog to the Bearcats. Over the past few years Cincy has played in some big-time games so I don’t think the atmosphere at Notre Dame will be too much for them to handle. However, they will have the weight of the Group of 5 world on their shoulders. This game will go a long way to determine if Cincy will be able to lock up one of the 4 coveted playoff spots if they can run the table. No Group of 5 schools has made the College Football Playoffs yet. I’m not sure if Coan’s injury will hamper the Irish offense but I think the Bearcats will make enough plays on defense to put them in position to win. The Irish defense gives up a lot of yards and have played some close games against much lesser opponents. (Holy Toledo!) But I think Cincy pulls it off. Take the Bearcats and the points. Cincinnati: 31 Notre Dame: 24