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NCAA College Football 2015-16 Week 14 Picks

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Fearless Rick's 2015-16 College Football Week 14 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | December 5, 2015

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Friday, December 4

MAC Championship

8:00 pm Bowling Green (-12, 70 1/2) vs. Northern Illinois - Kicking off what should be one of the most challenging weeks of choosing winners this season, the Mid-American begins a series of eight conference championships.

Playing on a Friday night is a great promotional tool for the MAC, which has evolved in recent years into a hotly-competitive environment.

Strange to see Northern Illinois as such a decided underdog, being that they've dominated the conference for most of the past seven years. The obvious reason is that Bowling Green had a sensational 71 mark in the MAC, their only loss a few weeks ago to Toledo, 44-28. The Falcons are tied with Western Kentucky for fourth in scoring in Division-1, putting up 44.2 points per outing.

The Huskies seek their fourth MAC championship in the past five years. They are the reigning champs and also captured the title in 2011 and 2012. At 8-4, Northern Illinois losses were to Ohio State (20-13) and Boston College (17-14) out of conference and Central Michigan and Ohio within the MAC. The 29-19 loss to Central Michigan produced the largest margin of defeat, 10 points. They have an excellent chance of taking home the trophy once again.

Prediction: Huskies 34 Falcons 31


Saturday, December 5

American Athletic Championship

12:00 pm Temple vs. Houston (-7, 57) - A match-up made in heaven for the up-and-coming American Athletic, pitting defensive-minded Owls against the high-flying Cougars, who score 42 points per game, 8th in the country.

Temple will counter with the 16th-ranked defense, which allowed 18.8 points per game. Those who believe defense wins championship will certainly be backing the Owls, who went 10-2 overall and were 7-1 in the conference. Their 24-20 loss to Notre Dame dropped them from the unbeaten ranks on Halloween. Two weeks later, the Owls suffered their only conference defeat, stunned at South Florida, 44-23.

Houston also went 7-1 in conference and are 11-1 coming in. They too were shocked, when they lost 20-17 at UConn on November 21. They followed that up with a signature, 52-31 win over Navy. Their defense is also pretty good. During a three-game, mid-season stretch they allowed 17 points to Tulane, UCF and Vanderbilt, all wins. Temple should be able to slow down the Cougars for a while, but, if Houston plays there game, there are few teams in the country that can keep up with them.

Prediction: Cougars 48 Owls 23


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Conference USA Championship

12:00 pm Southern Mississippi vs. Western Kentucky (-7 1/2, 72 1/2) - Both teams come in primed for battle in the often-overlooked Conference USA. Southern Miss has won six straight and has scored 179 points its last three games. The Golden Eagles average 41.9 points per game, ranked 9th in Division-1.

Amazingly, the Hilltoppers do even better, winners of four straight and unbeaten in conference play, their last loss a 48-20 beating at LSU. Their other loss was a 38-35 defeat at Indiana, in September. They score an average of 44.2 ppg., tied with Bowling Green for 4th nationally.

Defense is optional in this track meet type of environment, but each team isn't actually too bad on stopping opponents. Western Kentucky allows 25 points per game; the Golden Eagles give up 22.4. This one looks like it could be a heck of a lot closer than predicted, but the Hilltoppers should eventually prevail, possibly in overtime.

Prediction: Hilltoppers 49 Golen Eagles 42


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SEC Championship

4:00 pm Florida vs. Alabama (-17 1/2, 40) - This could be the easiest win for the Crimson Tide this season.

Florida, representing the SEC East, struggled through its final two conference games, barely slipping by with wins over Vanderbilt (9-7) and South Carolina (24-14) before having to go to overtime for a 20-14 win over Florida Atlantic. In Week 13, the Gators lost to Florida State, 27-2, as the Seminole defense collapsed on Florida's offense.

Alabama's defense is arguably as good, if not better, than that of Florida State, so it's conceivable that the Gators will not score at all in this championship meeting. When the Tide has the ball, they most certainly will roll. Alabama puts up 34.5 points per game, 34th nationally. The Gators? 25.3 ppg., ranked 92nd.

Prediction: Crimson Tide 31 Gators 6

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2015, 2016, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.

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