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College Football Conference Championships: Team of the Week

Conference Championship Week separated the elite from the great teams and brought with it a great College Football Team of the Week.

The final weekend of action in the 2021 college football season brought 10 conference champions. It brought with it a clearer picture of the College Football Playoff. As such, our College Football Team of the Week is a terrific representation of who dominated the action in each conference championship matchup.

College Football Team of the Week | Conference Championships

The College Football Conference Championship Team of the Week dictates who had the biggest impact at their respective position. Each player selected was the pinnacle of excellence at their position this week.

QB: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

Say what you will about the fake slide — the real fact of the matter is that Kenny Pickett played a perfect game against Wake Forest on Saturday night. There were certainly a ton of deserving performances, such as Bryce Young (one of our Players of the Week) and Logan Bonner (demolishing that SDSU defense), but Pickett’s play personified perfection.

He finished the game with 253 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, both paling in comparison to his highs this season. But his down-for-down consistency and ability with his legs earn him the spot here. He was near-perfect across all facets and cemented his legacy in Pittsburgh history in the process by bringing home an ACC Championship.

RB: Sincere McCormick, UTSA

One of the best running backs in the country got his national praise on Friday night when UTSA held on to defeat Western Kentucky for the Conference USA crown. Sincere McCormick led the weekend with 204 yards on the ground as well as 3 touchdowns. He sparked the UTSA offense with his 65-yard touchdown run in the first half and continually ground out first downs throughout the game. McCormick put his name — rightfully so — on the national stage among the game’s best running backs.

RB: Jerome Ford, Cincinnati

Against Houston, Jerome Ford did exactly what Jerome Ford does. He was a force against the Cougars, running the ball just 18 times for 187 yards as he jolted the Cincinnati offense whenever he handled the rock. He finished with touchdown runs of 79 and 42 yards, each of which swung momentum and crushed Houston’s hopes.

WR: Jameson Williams, Alabama

What more can you say about Jameson Williams‘ ascension this season? There isn’t much he can’t do, and the fact that he’s doing it in Year 1 with Alabama is tremendous. Williams finished the SEC Championship Game with 7 receptions, 184 yards, and 2 touchdowns against what was the country’s best defense. He has it all, and he’s realizing it as the Crimson Tide head into the College Football Playoff.

WR: Jordan Addison, Pittsburgh

Jordan Addison gave a Biletnikoff Award-worthy performance against Wake Forest. He hauled in 8 receptions for 126 yards and, despite being held without a touchdown, he displayed terrific skills across the entire course of the game. Addison’s back-shoulder catch along the sidelines where he contorted his body and came down with the ball was a microcosm of how impressive he was in this game — and has been all season.

WR: Jerreth Sterns, Western Kentucky

The Hilltoppers couldn’t quite defeat UTSA, but they made it a remarkable game. Jerreth Sterns did what he has done all year long: put forth video-game-like numbers. Sterns had his ninth 100-yard game and his fifth multi-touchdown performance. He finished with 179 yards and 2 touchdowns in the process and even had a 2-point conversion catch for the ages.

TE: Brock Bowers, Georgia

A man on a mission, Brock Bowers was about the only redeeming player through Georgia’s first three quarters against Alabama. Bowers finished with 10 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown, routinely making first-down receptions over the middle of the field.

FLEX: Brandon Bowling, Utah State

Coming completely full circle, the Utah State trio of head coach Blake Anderson, quarterback Logan Bonner, and wide receiver Brandon Bowling capped their move from Arkansas State to Logan, Utah, with a Mountain West Championship.

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Bowling transferred from ASU to USU with Bonner, following their head coach. And that move paid dividends in 2021. He capped their miraculous season with an 8-catch, 154-yard, 2-touchdown performance against San Diego State.

LT: Bamidele Olaseni, Utah

Taking a look at who it was done against makes it even more impressive, but the fact that Bamidele Olaseni played a near-perfect game against Oregon is impressive enough. Isolating it down, Olaseni kept consensus 2022 NFL Draft No. 1 overall player Kayvon Thibodeaux in check all game long when they met. Olaseni is continually impressive, and this game was a perfect example of his ascension.

LG: Xavier Newman-Johnson, Baylor

The Baylor offensive line ranks as one of the best in the country, and Xavier Newman-Johnson is a huge reason why. Against Oklahoma State, he showcased what makes him and the unit so impressive. Newman-Johnson is headed for the Shrine Bowl after a terrific performance in the passing game, but he was even more notable opening up holes in the run game.

C: Ahofitu Maka, UTSA

It didn’t take long to see Ahofitu Maka in action on Friday night for UTSA. The big man in the middle was routinely paving gaps for McCormick to run through and keeping Frank Harris clean in pass protection. Maka was great at the first and second level in the run game, and he was an integral part of the Roadrunners’ C-USA Championship.

RG: Zak Zinter, Michigan

Against a team known for their offensive line production over the years, Zak Zinter and the Michigan offensive line were dominant. They paved the way for 211 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground, and Zinter was a mauler in the run game. The Wolverines didn’t post the best passing performance overall, but their pass protection was solid, especially on the right side.

RT: Makai Hart, UTSA

Jumping back to Friday night, UTSA utilized a solid game from all five of their offensive linemen. Makai Hart was great on the ground but even better in protecting his quarterback’s blindside. As Harris is a lefty, Hart’s presence along the right side is as important as a typical blindside-protecting left tackle. He was great in both facets and, like Maka, integral in the Roadrunners’ victory.

Kicker: Jadon Redding, Utah

The Utes needed very little help in winning the Pac-12 Championship. But Jadon Redding’s efforts with his leg capped a perfectly executed game in every facet from Utah in defeating Oregon.

Redding nailed all 4 of his kick attempts, including a 50-yard field goal to end the first half. In fact, that 50-yarder came after an ill-advised Anthony Brown throw was intercepted, ultimately sealing the deal for the Utes. Not in the nature of the final score, but in the sense that Oregon couldn’t do anything right, and Utah couldn’t do anything wrong.

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. He is also the co-host of Between the Hashes, a college football and NFL draft podcast. You can find his writing here. Follow him on Twitter @CamMellor

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