Thank goodness I had an above .500 week last time around because if not, I would be in some serious trouble down the stretch. Fortunately, we now sit at an even 20-20 after eight weeks of picking. In the only inner-ranked game last week, Texas A&M covered and beat Auburn at home, which I got right. Another solid pick was Ole Miss’s game against Liberty, where the Rebels covered by about four points. UConn football returns this week in a scary game against Clemson. Tigers coach Dabo Swinney noted, “if we lose this game, there will be a new head coach here,” alluding to the massacre that is about to happen. There are tons of great contests this week, so let’s get to it!
Stratton’s Record: 20-20 (.500); 3-2 last week
No. 8 Oklahoma (-5.5) at No. 13 Baylor (Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on FOX):
This is a super tough pick. Both of these teams are really solid and could win. The undefeated Sooners are led by freshman QB Caleb Williams, who took over the role from disappointment Spencer Rattler earlier this year. Baylor lost last week against TCU but have had an otherwise successful season, with a 7-2 record. QB Jerry Bohannon has been great this season, throwing for 15 touchdowns on 1,967 yards. After going to TCU and picking up the close loss, the Bears will be angry. Expect a high scoring ballgame and keep in mind that Oklahoma has no away ranked wins.
The pick: Baylor
No. Mississippi State at No. 17 Auburn (-5.5) (Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on ESPN):
Both of these teams have not lived up to their expectations this year, but will hope to make a statement in this one. Mississippi State’s season can best be described as a tale of two teams, one that is capable of beating multiple ranked teams, but also losing to a trio of unranked teams. There is no saying which team will emerge on Saturday. Auburn’s losses are all to ranked teams and their worst one came last week at Texas A&M that saw the Tigers score just three points. Bo Nix will take Auburn to victory here in a must-win game for the Tigers.
The pick: Auburn
No. 11 Texas A&M (-2.5) at No. 15 Ole Miss (Saturday at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN):
Texas A&M is a revived squad that has been completely rejuvenated since their consecutive two losses that were followed by a win at home versus Alabama. They just beat a good Auburn team at home, a squad that beat Ole Miss. The Aggies’s defense has been stupendous as of late and as the old adage says, defense travels. Ole Miss QB Matt Corral has been great this season, leading the Rebels in passing and rushing, making him a Heisman contender. Texas A&M’s defense is just too strong though, grabbing the win and covering on the road.
The pick: Texas A&M
No. 16 NC State at No. 12 Wake Forest (-2.0) (Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ACCN):
Wake Forest had previously been the unbeaten juggernaut of the ACC but can no longer can fill this role after blowing a two score lead at North Carolina on Saturday. This time around, they play a different Tar Heel State foe in NC State, who has been good but not great so far. They have beaten the teams they should, which places them at 7-2. Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman has been really impressive, throwing for 27 touchdowns already. Give me the Demon Deacons here in a shootout.
The pick: Wake Forest
UConn at Clemson (-40.5) (Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on ACCN):
This is the event that everyone has been waiting for. Unfortunately, from an entertainment standpoint, the Tigers are having a down year and are unranked. However, the Huskies have lived up to their expectations with a dreary 1-8 record. This 40.5 point spread is large, but I wouldn’t put it past the Huskies to let Clemson cover. The fun part of this game is that UConn will likely get the chance to see Phommachanh play! Unfortunately, it’s Tyler’s brother Taisun, who is the Tigers’s second string QB and will likely get plenty of play with the blowout. I would have picked the Huskies if they didn’t play like dead fish against Middle Tennessee last time, but they did.
The pick: Clemson