Last week was abysmal to say the least. For the first time this season, I’m under .500 and I’ll really be counting on this week as a bounceback effort. Although it doesn’t count as a win for me, I think it is safe to say that UConn did in fact lose to the BYE week, as demonstrated through being tied to Conference USA expansion. My only other win came in the BYU game that was historically high scoring, with BYU pulling out the victory with 66 points. Let’s hope I do better this week, which happens to be fairly uneventful!
Stratton’s Record: 17-18 (.486); 1-4 last week if you don’t count UConn’s loss to BYE Week
Liberty at No. 16 Ole Miss (-9.5)
(Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on SECN):
Coming off a tough loss at Auburn, Ole Miss will be looking to have a key rebound effort to keep them in SEC championship contention. Rebels QB Matt Corral has been phenomenal on the season, but last week’s no touchdown dud was disappointing to say the least. Given the fact that Corral is such a high-caliber player, there is no doubt in my mind that he will be back and better than ever this time. The Flames of Liberty have had a generally successful campaign, but will have to readjust to a different level of competition for this one after having their way versus UMass. Ole Miss will be mad and will have their way in this one.
The pick: Ole Miss
No. 12 Baylor (-6.5) at TCU
(Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on FOX):
Baylor has been impressive this year so far, led by RB Abram Smith’s 11 touchdowns in eight games. The Bears’ defense has also been stunningly good in a Big 12 conference known for their offense, not allowing 30 points in any games this year. Although they’ve struggled on the road, this is a good chance to break out against a skidding TCU team that has lost their past three games against tough competition. Given their lack of offense as of late, it feels difficult for them to pick up a win here. Baylor wins big away here.
The pick: Baylor
Tulsa at No. 6 Cincinnati (-22.5)
(Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2):
It feels a little curious why ESPN’s College Gameday has elected to travel to Cincinnati for this one. Tulsa is simply not anywhere near the Bearcats’ level, as demonstrated by their dismal 3-5 record and recent 45-10 loss at home versus current No. 20 Houston. Cincinnati on the other hand is going to be absolutely enraged. Their 8-0 start has earned them the No. 2 slot in the AP Poll, but in the first edition of the CFP Rankings, they sit at No. 6. They’ll want to show everyone watching that they are the real deal and won’t spare a struggling Golden Hurricane squad in the process.
The pick: Cincinnati
No. 13 Auburn at No. 14 Texas A&M (-4.5)
(Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on CBS):
Ever since their disappointing start that included two straight losses, the Aggies have felt like a completely different team. They demonstrated their turnaround at first by hosting then No. 1 Alabama and beating them in a statement game and have followed it up with two strong performances. Auburn has also looked strong lately, with their past two games resulting in wins over ranked opponents. This will be a tough, low scoring game, but the factor that will give the Aggies an edge is the electricity of Kyle Field. Home field will be the difference here in a gritty contest.
The pick: Texas A&M
No. 19 NC State (-2.5) at Florida State
(Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on ACCN):
No one expected Florida State to be great this year, but, conversely, no one expected them to be quite this bad. The Seminoles had been able to string together a few quality games in a row against unranked competition, but this run was swiftly snuffed by a disappointing Clemson team. NC State has had a good, but pedestrian season, with no wins against currently ranked competition. The Wolfpack are led by QB Devin Leary, who is having a strong campaign with 21 touchdowns in eight games. Florida State just isn’t good enough to trust, so I’ll take the NC State here.
The pick: NC State