Fearless Rick's 2016 College Football Picks - Week 14 early games

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WEEK 14 NCAA Football Picks

All times Eastern

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Week 13 Results: Coin: 9-5 Rick: 6-8
Cumulative: Coin: 83-92-3 Rick: 94-81-3

Note on this week's Coin Flip picks: the coin came up tails for all games, making the visiting team the choice in each of this week's games. That's been the standard practice (heads is home team, tails is visiting team) all season. While flipping heads or tails six straight times is not normal, it does happen, and probably happened at some point this season. It just so happens that the coin came up tails for the six games this week. What does that mean? Probably something along the lines of how you should do your own analysis and picking, rather than commit to the vagaries of chance.

Friday, December 2

9:00 pm Colorado at Washington (-7, 58 1/2) - PAC-12 Championship with the winner possibly advancing to the final four and a crack at the national championship in January. Washington is more poised for that possibility than Colorado, since the Huskies are 11-1 and the Buffaloes are not quite elite, checking in with a record of 10-2, though a win by the Buffs could land them in the playoffs. The teams that beat them were Michigan (45-28) and USC (21-17), two pretty good squads, so a case could be made for the Buffs if they do indeed beat the Huskies.

Washington's lone loss was also to the USC Trojans, a 26-13 whipping at home. Maybe neither of these teams are ready for the prime time playoffs and the real power in the PAC-12 is USC, a team that began the season 1-3, including a huge, 52-6 loss to Alabama in their opener, which has now run up eight straight wins for a 9-3 record overall.

As for the Huskies and Buffaloes, the tale of the tape is thus: Points per game: Washington: 44.8 (3rd nationally); Colorado: 34.8 (36th). Points allowed per game: Washington: 17.8 (10th); Colorado: 18.8 (13th). There really isn't much separation there and the Buffaloes have proven themselves to be adaptable to any kind of game condition. Playing in Washington state isn't going to bother them and they may be poised for an upset or at least keep this game within the assigned point spread.

Coin Flip: Colorado

Rick's Pick: Buffaloes 31 Huskies 28

Saturday, December 3

12:00 pm Temple at Navy (-3, 62) - Maybe the least publicized of the conference championships is this one in the American Athletic, which surprisingly ended up with two teams that may have been written off earlier in the season, particularly Temple.

Navy runs that tricky option offense, the precursor of the read-option so popular in collage and now the pros. It's tough to defend, especially since the Navy linemen and other blockers know their assignments by heart, are committed to running the option 95% of the time and are drilled and coached to a level of perfection not often attained in the collage ranks. The Middies are second nationally in rushing yards per game, averaging a robust 342.0.

What Navy lacks is a consistent defense, which means that the offense has to carry their end of the bargain and maybe then some. The Midshipmen can put up points in a hurry, and when the opponent gets tired in the latter stages of the second half perhaps, long runs from scrimmage become more and more likely. Temple's offense is good but not great and they will score, but the Owl defense is probably going to be overwhelmed by the persistence of the Navy run game.

The Middies have put together a solid season and they should advance to a high-end bowl date.

Coin Flip: Temple

Rick's Pick: Midshipmen 45 Owls 31

12:30 pm Oklahoma State at Oklahoma (-12, 77 1/2) - They call this game "bedlam" and for good reason. It's one of the toughest picks of any season since the rivalry is ferocious and many of the players have been recruited from high schools within the state, meaning that some of the Sooners and Cowboys will be lining up opposite former teammates, which, of course they'll sincerely want to plant into the ground.

Hitting will be violent, the offenses will be monstrous and the scoring will be difficult to keep up with. This game could have more twists and turns than a Harry Potter story.

The 9-2 Sooners haven't lost since being upended by Ohio State, way back on September 17. They've won eight straight, all of them in the Big 12, finishing with a perfect 8-0 mark heading into this one. The rival Cowboys have been nearly a carbon copy, at 9-2 overall and with a 7-1 record in the conference, that due to a 35-24 defeat at Baylor back on September 24. Their other loss was an odd, 30-27 loss to Central Michigan out of the Mid-America conference, in week two.

Oklahoma has a slight edge offensively, scoring 45.3 points per game (tied for the national lead with Louisville) to the Cowboys' 40.4. Defense (not that it matters) goes to the Cowboys, who allow 27.2 (57th) to Oklahoma's 30.5 (81st). It would surprise nobody if there were 90 or more points scored in this track meet for the Big 12 title. Either team might get an invitation to the national championship playoffs, even with two losses. They are both that good, but this could be a last man standing affair, which means only that the points are very generous and the visitors have a real shot at this.

Coin Flip: Oklahoma State

Rick's Pick: Sooners 48 Cowboys 45

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