NCAA College Football Bowl Week 1 Picks - Early Games

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NCAA College Football Bowl Week 1 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Week 16 results: Rick: 5-4; Coin: 6-3
Cumulative: Rick: 99-98-1; Coin: 85-112-1

Monday, December 21

Myrtle Beach Bowl
2:30 pm Appalachian State (-20 1/2, 65 1/2) vs. North Texas - In a normal year, North Texas would not have even qualified for a bowl appearance, as they finished their regular season with a 4-5 record. Every now and then the Mean Green played a decent team and either won or didn't lose by much, like Middle Tennessee, who they beat, 52-35, or their season finale at UTEP, a 45-43 win. Then again, it's hard to overlook losses to SMU (65-35) Charlotte (49-21), and UTSA (49-17).

The Mountaineers, on the other hand, probably deserve a better opponent, as they finished 8-3, with losses to some respectable teams: Marshall, 17-7; Coastal Carolina (34-23); and Louisiana (24-21), the later two playing for the Sun Belt championship, of which Appalachian State fell just short. Looks to be a blowout.

Coin Flip: North Texas

Prediction: Mountaineers 48 Mean Green 14

Tuesday, December 22

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
3:30 pm Tulane (-5, 58) vs. Nevada - At 6-5, Tulane's record may be a little misleading, especially since four of their wins came at the end of their season when they went 4-1 and closed out with a 35-21 win over Memphis. The offense was solid all season, but the defense really stepped up as the season progressed, even in their sole loss in the latter part of the campaign, a 30-24 2OT loss at Tulsa.

Nevada's Wolf Pack looks to be a solid match for the Green Wave. Going 6-2 in the Mountain West, they are primarily a passing team, but they have trouble scoring in the red zone. Losses to Hawaii, 24-21, and San Jose State, 30-20, don't diminish their effectiveness. Like Tulane, their strength is in their defense. In what should be a close game, take the points and hope the Wolf Pack doesn't stall out near the end zone. QB Carson Strong may be the difference for Nevada

Coin Flip: Tulane

Prediction: Wolf Pack 31 Green Wave 30

Boca Raton Bowl
7:00 pm UCF vs. #17 BYU (-5, 72 1/2) - A 6-3 mark is not what the UCF Knights had in mind for 2020, though they had been brought down to earth in 2019 with a 10-3 record after going 12-1 in 2018 and 13-0 in 2017. The offense was cranked up just fine, averaging 44.3 points per game, but the defense left much to be desired in losses to Cincinnati, Tulsa, and Memphis.

Not to be outdone, BYU averaged 43.0 points per game but played a somewhat questionable schedule, with teams like Houston, Western Kentucky, and North Alabama on the resume. However, they did damage Boise State, 51-17, and the only blemish on their 10-1 record was a December 5 loss to Coastal Carolina, 22-17, so they are a solid bunch. The Cougar defense was also top-notch, allowing 14.6 points per game, 3rd in the nation, making this a tough spot for the Knights.

Coin Flip: UCF

Prediction: Cougars 45 Knights 31

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