NCAA College Football Bowl Week 1 Picks - Early Games

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NCAA College Football Bowl Week 1 Early Games

All times Eastern

Click here for late games.

Week 16: Rick: 1-0; Coin: 1-0
Cumulative: Rick: 107-99-2; Coin: 109-97-2

Friday, December 20

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
2:00 pm Buffalo (-6 1/2, 51 1/2) vs. Charlotte - These two share identical records, 5-3 in conference, 7-5 overall. The Charlotte 49ers play in conference USA, from which we'll see eight teams competing in bowl games prior to the 31st of December. The 49ers finished a distant fourth in the East division of their conference and hold a points differential of minus-11. The Bulls, from the Mid-Americas conference have a differential of +110 and were the top defensive team in the MAC.

Not difficult to see where this is headed. Buffalo, if on their game, can shut down the 49ers offense and overpower them on defense.

Coin Flip: Buffalo

Prediction: Bulls 38 49ers 17

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl
7:30 pm Utah State (-6 1/2, 67 1/2) vs. Kent State - One should not be too quick to dismiss Kent State in this battle of Mid-America vs. Mountain West. The Aggies of Utah State finished third in their division of the MWC, but of their five losses (7 wins), four of them were absolute blowouts. LSU, Air Force, Boise State, and BYU absolutely smothered them.

Kent State, the 6-6 entrant from the MAC, were also torn up by the likes of Auburn (55-16), Wisconsin (48-0), and Arizona State (30-7). Both teams share mediocrity, making for a lively contest. The Golden Flashes ride a three-game win streak into battle.

Coin Flip: Kent State

Prediction: Golden Flashes 35 Aggies 31

Saturday, December 21

New Mexico Bowl
2:00 pm Central Michigan vs. San Diego State (-3 1/2, 40 1/2) - If the 9-3 Aztecs are to win this game, they'll have to rely on their defense, which was the best of the Mountain Wet conference. Also, in four non-conference games, San Diego State allowed a mere 27 points, including wins over UCLA and BYU, a 13-3 victory to close out their regular season.

Central Michigan won the MAC West division, but failed in the championship game, losing to Miami (OH), 26-21. The Chippewas went 8-5 and boast a prolific offense which scored 38 points or more in all of their wins. Since they're unlikely to put up that many points here, a losing effort can be predicted. Not quite so bad as the 61-0 whipping Wisconsin put on them, but a significant defeat is possible.

Coin Flip: Central Michigan

Prediction: Aztecs 27 Chippewas 13

FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl
2:30 pm Liberty vs. Georgia Southern (-4, 58 1/2) - The independent (why?) Liberty Flames survived their first season as a Division-1A team and managed to make it to bowl season by beating up on some average teams, though their efforts against the likes of BYU, Virginia, and Louisiana were not embarrassing. Their seven victories are mainly the work of an explosive offense, featuring the duo of QB Stephen Calvert and Antonio Gandy-Golden, who caught balls for more than 100 yards in seven different games.

Georgia Southern finished 7-5 as well, though they predicate winning on defense, ball control and an aggressive ground game. After a 1-3 start, they went 6-2 against Sun Belt opposition, but have not had a receiver crack the 100-yard mark this season. If Liberty gets an early lead, it could be lights out for the Eagles.

Coin Flip: Liberty

Prediction: Flames 41 Eagles 21

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl
3:30 pm SMU (-3, 70) vs. Florida Atlantic - The Owls, champions of Conference-USA, decimated the opposition as the season progressed, culminating in a 49-6 crushing of UAB in the conference championship game, their sixth straight win. Possessing a solid balance between offense and defense, the Owls have various ways to get to the winners circle. They rank 16th overall in scoring nationally, at 35.2 points per game.

The Owls' defenders will have their hands full with the 10-2 Mustangs, coming out of the loaded AAC, where they went 6-2. SMU was ranked for parts of the season, losing a couple of big games down the stretch to Memphis and Navy, that cost them a chance at the conference title. They were tied with UCF as the sixth-highest-scoring team in the country, putting down an impressive 43 points per game. This sets up to be a wild one.

Coin Flip: Florida Atlantic

Prediction: Owls 45 Mustangs 42

Click here for late games.

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