Friends, we have arrived at the end of the road. After two really poor weeks, I find myself four games below .500 going into our last set of matchups for this year. In order to get above the .500 mark, I’ll need to go undefeated this time around. Last week, I massively misread the Oregon-Utah game that saw the Utes cover the spread by a massive 26 points. The only game I got right was the Virginia-Pitt game, where the Cavaliers covered, but did not win. It has been a fun ride this season and stay tuned for my CBB picks starting soon!
Stratton’s Record: 23-27 (.460); 1-4 last week
No. 10 Oregon vs No. 17 Utah (-3.0) (Friday at 8:00 p.m. on ABC):
Let’s start this off with a rematch from my worst game last week. As the old saying goes, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” With that in mind, I will not be fooled twice by Oregon. With two losses, the Ducks have very little to play for, as compared to their lofty College Football Playoff expectations that they came into the season with. Although they have projected No. 1 pick Kayvon Thibodeaux on defense, I’m just not convinced the team will have the heart to play this one all out. Utah sweeping the series with the help of RB Tavion Thomas seems like a much surer bet.
The pick: Utah
No. 9 Baylor vs No. 5 Oklahoma State (-5.5) (Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on ABC):
Plain and simple, Oklahoma State has just been good this year. At the wide receiver position, Tay Martin has just been phenomenal for the Cowboys, with 854 receiving yards and seven touchdown catches. The Cowboys already beat the Bears in a tight matchup that saw running back Jaylen Warren score twice on the ground. In this contest, all that Baylor is playing for is to ruin Oklahoma State’s playoff chances, while the Cowboys are hoping for a potential playoff berth. The difference in motivation will be the driving force behind an Oklahoma State victory and, if the cards fall right, will lead them into the CFP.
The pick: Oklahoma State
No. 1 Georgia (-6.5) vs No. 3 Alabama (Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on CBS):
Finding a team capable of challenging Georgia this year has been tough. The Bulldogs are far and away the best team in the country, beating every team they’ve played by more than 20 except Clemson, against whom they won by just seven. Alabama, on the other hand, has struggled to pick up victories against middling SEC competition such as Texas A&M, Arkansas and Auburn. As good as Bryce Young is when things are clicking, I’m concerned about his inability to turn it on sometimes, namely for the vast majority of last week’s struggle against Auburn. Give me Georgia by at least two scores.
The pick: Georgia
No. 21 Houston at No. 4 Cincinnati(-10.5) (Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on ABC):
I got the chance to see Houston in person last week playing against UConn, and, needless to say, I was not impressed. The Cougars made a series of silly errors against the downtrodden Huskies in a game where Houston should have had full control the entire time. Although they still won, it wasn’t as pretty as it could have been. Cincinnati on the other hand will be playing for a chance to get to the playoffs for the first time ever. The motivation will be there and they should be able to secure a slot if they are able to effectively stomp on the Cougars behind the leadership of star QB Desmond Ridder.
The pick: Cincinnati
No. 2 Michigan (-10.5) at No. 13 Iowa (Saturday at 8:00 p.m. on FOX)
After last week’s statement win against rival Ohio State, we can say that Michigan is the real deal with full confidence. After losing to Michigan State, the Wolverines have picked up four straight wins and are poised for a playoff run behind RB Hassan Haskins’ brilliance. For Iowa, this will be their first game against a ranked team in seven weeks. They lost the first two of those games but have won the last four. Michigan should pose too much of a problem for the Hawkeyes, which is why they’ll win by more than two scores with the incentive of a playoff berth with a win.
The pick: Michigan