Fearless Rick's 2016 College Football Picks - Week 12 early games

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WEEK 12 NCAA Football Picks

All times Eastern

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Week 11 Results: Coin: 7-8 Rick: 8-7
Cumulative: Coin: 68-79-3 Rick: 79-68-3

Thursday, November 17

8:00 pm Louisville (-14, 68) at Houston - Crackerjack of a game for Thursday night. Louisville actually holds a 12-game lead over Clemson in the ACC Atlantic division, as they are 7-1 in the conference, while Clemson is 6-1. Both teams are 9-1 overall.

Houston is 1/2-game behind Navy in the American Athletic West with a 5-2 conference mark (8-2 overall), so both teams are looking at this non-conference game with high hopes. Literally, only Louisville has a chance to reach the final four playoff, as they come from a power conference, but Houston has plenty of mettle, the third-best scoring defense in their conference and home field.

The Cardinals' sole defeat of the season was a road trip to Clemson, suffering a 42-36 defeat. Houston is 6-0 at home, including the 33-23 win over Oklahoma in the opening week of play. Expect a hard-fought struggle which the Cougars can win. Houston is 10th in yards allowed nationally and 25th in points given up, at 21.3 per game, while the Tigers are #1 in points scored per game at 49.6. The Cardinals are also 16th in points allowed (20.3). This does not look like a rout.

Coin Flip: Louisville

Rick's Pick: Cardinals 31 Cougars 27

Friday, November 18

8:00 pm Memphis (-7, 57 1/2) at Cincinnati - Not much has been heard from the Bearcats this year, likely because they are ranked 122 in offense, scoring just 18.8 ppg. Memphis, meanwhile is #16, at 39.2. The teams are fairly close on defense, though Cincinnati may be a bit better, considering the time they have to be on the field due to the ineptitude of the offense.

Having lost five of their last six and scoring only six points in their last two games - losses to BYU and Central Florida - the season for Cincinnati may be lost. at 4-6 they need to win this and next week at Tulsa for a bowl bid. Doubtful.

Coin Flip: Memphis

Rick's Pick: Tigers 30 Bearcats 13

9:00 pm UNLV at Boise State (-28, 66 1/2) - This looks like your basic Mountain West mismatch, as Boise State is 9-1 and en route to bowl glory, while the Rebels are 4-6 and in need of a win to even consider post-season play. However, nobody has beaten UNLV by more than 21 points except Central Michigan, a 44-21 victor back in September. The Rebels may actually be on the mend, having split their last six games and last week defeated Wyoming, 69-66 in triple overtime.

Boise State has beaten exactly one Mountain West team by more than this week's spread, that being Hawaii, last week, in a 52-16 romp.

With this one under the lights, look for UNLV to light it up a few times for the cover, but that's all.

Coin Flip: Boise State

Rick's Pick: Broncos 42 Rebels 24

Saturday, November 19

12:00 pm Oklahoma State at TCU (-4 1/2, 70 1/2) - The Cowboys have had the bejeezus scared out of them the past two weeks, winning 43-37 at Kansas State and then squeaking by Texas Tech last week, 45-44, so they head out across the border not entirely confident, especially on their defense.

5-4 TCU has had an up-and-down year, but everything was looking positive in their last game, a 62-22 romp at Baylor. They've had an extra week off and should be well-prepared for this. A win makes them bowl eligible, thought they still have two games remaining after this, at texas and home vs. K-State. Last season the Cowboys stopped TCU, 49-29, ending an 8-0 run for the Horned Frogs, so there are surely seniors with revenge on their resumes.

Coin Flip: TCU

Rick's Pick: Horned Frogs 42 Cowboys 35

12:00 pm Ohio State (-21 1/2, 53) at Michigan State - This may not be the Spartans' year, but don't tell that to Rutgers, who were handed a 49-0 defeat by Michigan State last week. Despite their 3-7 mark, the Spartans have plenty of game, as evidenced by their narrow, 32-23 loss to Michigan and their Nov. 5 31-27 loss at Illinois.

Thanks to Iowa's win over Michigan and Clemson falling to Pitt last week, Ohio State is back in the national playoff #2 spot behind Alabama, so they're going to be on their best behavior, which, for the Buckeyes, is playing great defense. In their last two games, back to back 62-3 wins over Nebraska and Maryland, the Buckeyes have been dominant. Dithering points of view lead one to consider taking the Spartans and the generous spread. Michigan State stunned the then 10-0 Buckeyes last season, 17-14.

Coin Flip: Ohio State

Rick's Pick: Buckeyes 38 Spartans 26

1:00 pm Florida at LSU (-13 1/2, 38 1/2) - Bought to figure how #16 LSU is nearly a two TD favorite over #23 Florida, especially since the Tigers are 6-3 and the Gators 7-2. LSU's defense comes to play every game. The Tigers have allowed just 58 points in their last five games, including a 10-0 loss to Alabama.

Florida cannot be faulted either. Outside their two losses (38-28 at Tennessee, 31-10 at Arkansas), the gators have only allowed 51 points in seven wins. That's tough to beat. Despite home field edge for the Tigers, the Gators should keep this one close and possibly win it.

Coin Flip: Florida

Rick's Pick: Gators 19 Tigers 16

3:00 pm Duke at Pittsburgh (-7 1/2, 63 1/2) - Here are two teams that are coming off emotional, one-point, upset wins, Duke defeating North Carolina, 28-27, and Pitt sending Clemson to its first loss of the season, in a 43-42 thriller. How much emotion will be remaining in the tank for either team is a good question, but Duke has had a few extra days of recovery, since their win was on Thursday night. Pitt is, however, at home, which is an advantage.

Both teams are highly competitive, but Duke, at 4-6, needs wins here and next week at Miami to secure a bowl bid. Beware of the Blue Devils on a mission.

Coin Flip: Pittsburgh

Rick's Pick: Blue Devils 34 Panthers 31

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