Fearless Rick's 2016 College Football Picks - National Semi-Final early game

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WEEK 3 NCAA Football Bowl Game Picks

All times Eastern

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Saturday, December 31

College Football Playoff semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
#4 Washington vs. #1 Alabama (-16, 54 1/2), 3:00 pM, ESPN, Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
- It's difficult to dislike the chances for the Crimson Tide in this semi-final meeting with PAC-12 champion Washington.

Many of the Alabama players have experience in bowl and championship games, while the Huskies emerged from obscurity and a 7-6 record in 2015 (and a Heart of Dallas Bowl win over Southern Miss, 44-31) to go 12-1 this year, culminating in a 41-10 rout over a solid Colorado team.

Thus, the Huskies are making their first appearance on the national championship scene, hoping to upend the overwhelming favorites to win the whole shooting match.

Washington's only loss was to USC, a team that steamrolled through most of the PAC-12, winning their last eight straight, something they can hang their collective helmets upon.

The Crimson Tide is still an opponent to be feared and/or respected, and it's likely the Huskies will get plenty of reminders of the greatness of Alabama and head coach, Nick Saban. From a coaching standpoint, Hukies' head coach, Chris Petersen, doesn't take a back to many, as he is notable for having brought Boise State into prominence, having been the head coach of the Broncos from 2006 to 2013. Let's not forget that Petersen has brought the Huskies to a national championship level in just three years, making the Huskies one of the more dangerous teams Alabama has faced this season.

In case a 16-point spread doesn't seem appropriate for a game of this magnitude, it's probably because Washington is quite impressive and is probably not going to be intimidated by the football machine from the SEC.

Alabama is an awesome collection of athletes, but they do have a freshman QB, and Washington's secondary is one of the best in the nation.

The teams match up very well and it's likely that the pro line-setters in Las Vegas have set the massive Alabama base up for a sucker punch. Can the Huskies pull off what may look like the biggest upset of the season in the most important game for both teams? Sure. Upsets happen all the time.

Can they at least cover the enormous line? Absolutely. Laying against the Tide and Nick Saban in the post-season may seem imprudent, but considering that the Tide won the national championship last season with a 45-40 win over Clemson, they did not cover the spread in that game.

Coin Flip: Washington

Rick's Pick: Huskies 31 Crimson Tide 30

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