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TJ’s Picks Week 2 by T.J. Chapman

TJ’S PICK 3 OF 2022 WEEK 2

Week 1: 3-0 Overall 3-0 ATS

Rankings are from sportsvivaldraft.com Top 25 and point spreads are from FanDuel

GAME 1

#21 Tennessee @ #16 Pitt (Pittsburgh, PA) Tennessee -6.5 O/U 66.5

Tennessee opened the 2022 season with a thumping of Ball State, 59-10. Senior quarterback Hendon Hooker completed 72% of his passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns. Hooker added two rushing touchdowns as well, all while only playing in the first half. Sophomore running back Jaylen Wright paced the Volunteer rushing attack with 88 yards and one touchdown. Ten different Vols caught a pass with senior Cedric Tillman leading with six catches for 68 yards. The Vol defense gave up 343 yards to Ball State, getting two interceptions and one fumble recovery. The troubling stat for Tennessee’s defense was they had zero sacks and only two tackles for loss. That must be cleaned up if the Vols hope to come into Heinz Field…er um Acrisure Stadium and get a win and improve on last season’s 7-6 record.

Pitt opened the 2022 season with the first Backyard Brawl in 11 years and beat rival West Virginia 38-31. Senior quarterback Kedon Slovis threw for 308 yards and one touchdown. Seven different Panthers rushed the ball for a combined 96 yards. The team total was only 76 yards after accounting for Slovis’ sack yardage as he was sacked five times. Sophomore running back Rodney Hammond, Jr. led the Panthers’ rushing attack with 74 yards and two touchdowns while chipping in 55 receiving yards. Senior wide receiver Jared Wayne led the receivers with 89 yards. The Panther defense surrendered 404 total yards to WVU while getting one fumble recovery, one interception and three sacks. Senior SirVocea Dennis had seven tackles and one sack. If the Panthers hope to slow down the Tennessee high powered, high-speed offense they need to do much better than they did against the Mountaineers.

Prediction: Tennessee’s starters only played in the first half of the Ball State game while Pitt’s players played an emotional, down to the wire tilt with a renewed rival. Pitt’s offense was pedestrian in the first half but when WVU went up offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti opened the offense up some and Slovis showed what he can do…when he wasn’t getting sacked. The five sacks are uncharacteristic of the Pitt offensive line. Tennessee’s lightning-fast offense is much better than WVU’s offense and should put up more yards and points. If Tennessee’s defense can get a few stops the Vols should cruise to a W.

Tennessee-44 Pitt-31. Lay the points with Tennessee and take that over.

GAME 2

#20 Kentucky @ #13 Florida (Gainesville, FL) Florida -5.5 O/U 52.5 

Kentucky started 2022 by beating Miami OH 37-13. Senior quarterback Will Levis threw for 303 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The Wildcat run game was bad, only getting 50 yards after accounting for Levis’ sack yardage. Senior Kavosiey Smoke ran seven times for 32 yards as the Wildcats’ leading rusher. Senior wide receiver Tayvion Robinson led the Kentucky receivers with six catches for 136 yards and nine different Wildcats caught a pass. The Kentucky defense only gave up 290 yards to the Red Hawks while getting three sacks and only one turnover. Senior linebacker Deandre Square led the Kentucky defenders with seven tackles.

Florida defeated #7 Utah 29-26 at the Swamp in week one. Super sophomore quarterback Anthony Richardson completed 71% of his passes, but only had 168 passing yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. However, Richardson led the Gators in rushing yards with 106 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore running back Montrell Johnson, Jr. added 12 carries for 75 yards and one touchdown. Junior wide receiver Ricky Pearsall led Florida with 67 yards receiving. The Gator defense gave up 446 yards to the Utes and did not get a sack. However, they did get a turnover at the most opportune time, an interception in the endzone on the final play of the game to seal the victory over Utah.

Prediction: Kentucky struggled with a mid-level MAC team while Florida beat a team that I believe is going to be in the college football playoff discussion when the season is over. Kentucky very well may have used a vanilla scheme on offense and defense but if they want to be considered one of the top teams, they need to destroy the lesser teams on their schedule, not struggle with them. New Florida head coach Billy Napier doesn’t get any favors from the schedule makers as his first two games as the Gator head coach are against Utah and a surging Kentucky team. Lucky for him both games are at home in the Swamp. I just can’t see Florida losing this game. 

Florida-34 Kentucky-20. Lay the points with Florida and again take the over.

GAME 3

#8 Baylor @ #19 BYU (Provo, UT) BYU -3.5 O/U 53.5

Baylor began the 2022 season by crushing FCS Albany 69-10. Sophomore quarterback Blake Shapen had 214 passing yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and added one rushing touchdown. Freshman quarterback Kyron Drones added 100 passing yards and one rushing touchdown in mop up duty. The Bears rushed for 259 yards and seven touchdowns against the Great Danes. Freshman running back Richard Reese led the way with 62 yards and two touchdowns while junior Qualan Jones added 59 yards and one touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Monaray Baldwin led the Bear receivers with four catches for 84 yards and one touchdown. Baldwin also added 46 rushing yards and one touchdown. The stingy Baylor defense only surrendered 237 yards while getting one turnover and two sacks. An amazing 24 Bears recorded a tackle against Albany. The Bears’ secondary had nine passes broken up.

BYU had a two-and-a-half-hour weather delay but when the game got going the Cougars crushed South Florida 50-21 in their opener. Junior quarterback Jaren Hall had 261 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Senior running back Christopher Brooks rushed for 135 yards and one touchdown. 12 different Cougars caught a pass with freshman wide receiver Chase Roberts leading the way with 41 yards. Junior wide receiver Puka Nacua only had one catch for 22 yards but added three rushes for 76 yards and two rushing touchdowns. The Cougar defense only gave up 279 total yards to South Florida while getting two sacks and one interception that was returned for a touchdown. Junior defensive back Jacob Boren led the Cougar defense with six tackles and a sack. 

Prediction: This should be a GOOD game! Baylor has a tough defense and very good rushing attack. BYU has a decent defense and a very good offense. I think this game will be slow in the first half and pick up in the second half. If BYU has corrected their defensive problems from last season and can get the Bears off the field, they should win this game. That question will be answered Saturday and I think that Baylor will show BYU they still have some work to do with their defense.

Baylor-27 BYU-23 Take Baylor getting the points and the under.

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