NCAA College Football Week 16 Picks - Early Games

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NCAA College Football Week 16 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Week 15 results: Rick: 5-5; Coin: 7-3
Cumulative: Rick: 94-94-1; Coin: 79-109-1

Friday, December 18

7:30 pm Purdue at #7 Indiana (-10 1/2, 54) - Indiana should cap off their sensational Big Ten campaign (6-1) with another victory, fittingly, at home, over the 2-4 Boilermakers, whose season went straight into the dumpster after losing to Northwestern on November 14, 27-20.

Purdue lost the next three straight but weren't blown out by Minnesota, Rutgers, or Nebraska. Bear in mind that the Hoosiers only loss was at Ohio State, and the margin was just seven points.

Coin Flip: Indiana

Prediction: Hoosiers 34 Boilermakers 14

8:00 pm Oregon at #13 USC (-3, 62 1/2) - PAC-12 Championship on the line, though neither team has proven much of anything other than their players are somewhat impervious to the mystery virus. Washington, which finished 3-1 was replaced on Monday by 3-2 Oregon, when the Huskies turned up too many positive virus cases.

The Trojans came from behind in three of their five victories, and finished a solid 5-0, the latest a rousing rally over UCLA for a 43-38 win. QB Kedon Slovis was excellent in his starts, hitting his receivers when needed in crunch time. The least USC scored in any game was 28 points, making the case that any defense the Ducks throw at them, they will overcome.

Oregon is truly undeserving of the PAC-12 title, losing their final two games at Oregon State, 41-38, and at Cal, 21-17.

Coin Flip: USC

Prediction: Trojans 35 Ducks 20

Saturday, December 19

12:00 pm #15 Northwestern at #3 Ohio State (-20 1/2, 57 1/2) - As Big Ten championships go, this may not be as bad as the line indicates. Ohio State is undefeated and likely headed to the national championship playoff, but they've only played five games and the one against a ranked opponent was a seven point win over Indiana, 42-35. The Buckeye offense is deadly, though the defense still seems shaky at times.

Northwestern managed to get seven games played, winning six of them. Their only loss was a surprising, 29-20 defeat at Michigan State. Their defense does most of the talking, allowing opponents just 17.1 points per game. If the Wildcats can contain the Ohio State offense somewhat, they may find a way to keep this close until crunch time. Still looks like a Buckeye win, however.

Coin Flip: Northwestern

Prediction: Buckeyes 38 Wildcats 24

12:00 pm #5 Texas A&M (-14, 51 1/2) at Tennessee - After handling Auburn, 31-20 on the road, December 5, the Aggies' game against Ole Miss was cancelled, so they decided to make up this meeting at Tennessee. 7-1 A&M is in a position to snatch away a national champion seeding if one of the top four stumbles, but it's still a long shot. The only loss suffered by the Aggies was a 52-24 defeat at Alabama, giving the impression they wouldn't add much to the championship allure.

The Vols struggled to a 3-6 record, dropping six straight before getting things going against Vanderbilt last week in a 42-17 victory. Their last two losses - 30-17 at Auburn, 31-19 vs. Florida - indicate the team is making progress and some home field pride may keep them within striking distance of their visiting opponent.

Coin Flip: Texas A&M

Prediction: Aggies 30 Volunteers 24

12:00 pm #12 Oklahoma (-5 1/2, 58) at #8 Iowa State - Actually somewhat of a surprise to see Oklahoma favored on the road in the Big 12 championship because Iowa State has been nearly perfect all season and realistically should win this game. The Cyclones actually beat the Sooners, 37-30, back on October 3rd.

Oklahoma will have to stop Breece Hall, who has rushed for 100 yards in each of the first eight games this season and finished with 91 and 97 in the final two wins over Texas and West Virginia.

Iowa State's defense has been rugged as well, allowing just 26 points over the last three games. They'll be put to the test against Oklahoma's offense, which averaged 43.4 ppg (7th). The winner will claim the Big 12 title outright.

Coin Flip: Iowa State

Prediction: Cyclones 34 Sooners 30

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