This week went pretty well, with my picks hitting our goal of three out of five correct. The University of Connecticut’s debacle against Middle Tennessee gave me my first loss of the week and Spanos’ first loss against the spread in his time as a head coach. My other loss came in Indiana’s defeat at home versus Ohio State, where I picked them to lose by less than 20. Instead they were lit up and took a 47-point beatdown. Yikes. I picked three other games correctly, including the Oregon-UCLA game, where the Ducks won straight up, despite being projected to lose by two, while wearing what can only be described as the greatest jerseys to ever grace a college football field. With that, let’s look into this week’s action and hope to keep up the good work.
Stratton’s Record: 16-14 (.533); 3-2 last week
No. 6 Michigan (-4.5) at No. 8 Michigan State (Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on FOX):
Two undefeated teams line up this Saturday for the Paul Bunyan Trophy in a contest that is sure to excite. Michigan is undefeated but has yet to see any ranked opposition thus far. They’re led by electric RB Blake Corum, who has 10 touchdowns in just seven games. The Spartans on the other hand have one ranked win, but it’s against a Miami team no longer getting votes. QB Payton Thorne and RB Kenneth Walker III have been an electric duo thus far, combining for 24 scores on the season. Both teams look similar on paper with no losses to their records, but I just have more faith in the Wolverines.
The pick: Michigan
No. 9 Iowa at Wisconsin (-3) (Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on ESPN):
Similar to last week’s Iowa State-Oklahoma State game, this one feels a bit weird. Even though Wisconsin is at home, there is little reason they should be favored against a one loss, top ten team like Iowa. Wisconsin just got their first ranked win of the year on the road against an overrated Purdue team and has lost all three of their games against teams who currently sit in the top 11. Iowa is proven, though, and had one flukey loss to Purdue. I’m not a big believer in the transitive property, so I’ll take QB Spencer Petras and the Hawkeyes to get a big win away here.
The pick: Iowa
No. 10 Ole Miss at No. 18 Auburn (-2.5) (Saturday at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN):
This is a super fascinating matchup, with two SEC teams right in the mix go at it. Auburn has been in and out of the rankings all year, while Ole Miss has kept a bit more stable. Rebels QB Matt Corral is having a Heisman-caliber type of season, tossing 15 touchdowns on 1,913 yards. Amusingly enough, he also leads the team in rushing yards, with 474 and nine touchdowns to make it 24 combined. This guy is a stud. Auburn is led by QB Bo Nix, who is having a good but not great season, scoring eight touchdowns with 1,488 yards. I think Ole Miss picks up the win on the road here. Corral is just too good.
The pick: Ole Miss
No. 20 Penn State at No. 5 Ohio State (-18.5) (Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ABC):
Since starting the season 5-0 and reaching a No. 4 ranking in the polls, Penn State has skidded as of late. They lost to current No. 9 Iowa and then participated in the longest game in FBS history, picking up the defeat to a poor Illinois team in nine overtimes. Ohio State is led by QB Stroud, who is having a great season in a very potent offense, throwing for 22 touchdowns on 1,965 yards. Ohio State’s only loss came at home to a very good Oregon team in a tight game. Expect this one to get ugly early with the teams trending in much different directions.
The pick: Ohio State
Virginia at No. 25 BYU (-2.5) (Saturday at 10:15 p.m. on ESPN2):
A pair of two loss teams face off here in a contest that will be super intriguing. Virginia has one of the best offenses in the nation, spearheaded by QB Brennan Armstrong (who’s name tells the story), collecting 23 touchdowns through the air on 3,220 yards. These numbers are insane, but he has been unable to perform that well against ranked competition. BYU has had their fair share of ranked games, winning both. RB Tyler Allgeier has been effective for the Cougars, scoring 11 times on 866 yards. Virginia looks good on paper, but I like BYU coming out on top here.
The pick: BYU
BYE Week (-17.5) at UConn (Saturday all day, probably on CBSSN):
I just don’t trust the Huskies here. They haven’t demonstrated much of an ability to beat their real opponents and I don’t think the BYE Week will be any different. Expect the BYE Week to win big.
The pick: BYE Week