ESPN championship game ‘Megacast’ to feature ex-Clemson QB Tajh Boyd on Homer Telecast (copy)

Former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd goes with three underdogs this week as the Pigskin Picks VIP picker. File/AP

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables agrees with ESPN analyst Greg McElroy and others who say Jamie Newman is a promising NFL draft prospect.

“No question,” Venables said of the Wake Forest quarterback this week. “Terrific quarterback. He’s got great poise, accuracy. He’s got great arm strength, a really live arm, can run, doesn’t get rattled, really good disposition about him, excellent skill. He understands their system very well and he’s hard to handle.”

The 6-4, 230-pound junior goes into Saturday’s game at Clemson with 22 touchdown passes, seven interceptions, 2,297 yards passing and 301 yards rushing with five TDs.

Good for the Tigers, who need better quarterback tests before facing the likes of Ohio State’s Justin Fields in a College Football Playoff semifinal and then maybe drawing LSU’s Joe Burrow in a championship game.

On the way to a 15-0 record in 2018, Clemson faced two quarterbacks who have already started in the NFL, Duke’s Daniel Jones and N.C. State’s Ryan Finley, plus South Carolina’s Jake Bentley (five touchdown passes at Death Valley).

Clemson played against Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond in 2018 and 2019. Otherwise, the best opposing quarterback so far this year is …

Louisville’s Micale Cunningham?

Charlotte’s Chris Reynolds?

North Carolina’s Sam Howell?

And speaking of quarterbacks, former Clemson star Tajh Boyd is the Pigskin Picks VIP picker this week. Boyd beat Auburn (twice), Florida State, Georgia, LSU and Ohio State during his 2011-13 tenure.

This week, he throws deep with three underdog picks: Auburn, Missouri and Baylor.

Week 12, and a quarterback theme:

Wake Forest at Clemson

Hello, Newman. Hello, Trevor Lawrence, gaining confidence by the Saturday.

Tajh Boyd pick: Clemson

Gene Sapakoff pick: Clemson

South Carolina at Texas A&M

Two games with negative rushing yards for the Gamecocks: 24 carries for 16 yards at Missouri, 27 for 21 vs. Appalachian State.

Tajh Boyd pick: Texas A&M

Gene Sapakoff pick: Texas A&M

The Citadel at Chattanooga

Willie Eubanks III, a three-sport guy at Augusta’s Laney High School, had 11 tackles last week in the win at East Tennessee State.

Tajh Boyd pick: Chattanooga

Gene Sapakoff pick: The Citadel

CSU at Presbyterian

Before a 24-14 win last week over Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian was 0-9 and dead last among the 256 NCAA Division I teams in the Sagarin computer rankings. Up to 252 this week.

Tajh Boyd pick: Charleston Southern

Gene Sapakoff pick: Charleston Southern

S.C. State at N.C. Central

A school-record seven touchdown passes for redshirt freshman Corey Fields (Baptist Hill High School) in last week’s 62-21 win over Howard.

Tajh Boyd pick: S.C. State

Gene Sapakoff pick: S.C. State

Georgia at Auburn

Look for a close, low-scoring game that comes down to Jake Fromm’s experience on a few critical Georgia throws.

Tajh Boyd pick: Auburn

Gene Sapakoff pick: Georgia

Florida at Missouri

The Tigers get Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant back at quarterback after he missed a 27-0 loss to Georgia with a hamstring injury.

Tajh Boyd pick: Missouri

Gene Sapakoff pick: Florida

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech

Building toward that Virginia Tech-Virginia game for the ACC Coastal Division title the Friday after Thanksgiving. But the Hokies still have the Ramblin’ Wreck. And pesky Pittsburgh next week.

Tajh Boyd pick: Virginia Tech

Gene Sapakoff pick: Virginia Tech

Louisville at N.C. State

This is where Louisville (5-4) gets bowl eligible under first-year head coach Scott Satterfield.

Tajh Boyd pick: Louisville

Gene Sapakoff pick: Louisville

Oklahoma at Baylor

It sure would be hard to keep undefeated Baylor out of the College Football Playoff, even if the Bears are only No. 13 now. They need two wins over Oklahoma, this one and the Big 12 Championship Game.

Tajh Boyd pick: Baylor

Gene Sapakoff pick: Oklahoma

VIP picker Debbie Antonelli last week: 7-3

Gene Sapakoff last week: 8-2

Gene Sapakoff season record: 79-31

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff

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