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Fearless Rick's 2016 College Football Picks - Bowl Games Week 1 late games

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Bowl Games WEEK 1 NCAA Footall Picks - late games

All times Eastern

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Monday, December 19

Miami Beach Bowl
Central Michigan vs. Tulsa (-11, 68), 2:30 pm, ESPN, Marlins Park, Miami, FL
- Coming out of the Mid-American conference, Central Michigan has an uphill battle against the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa, out of the American Athletic conference.

The Chippewas barely made it to bowl paradise with a 6-6 record, including a 3-5 mark in conference. Somehow, they managed to defeat Oklahoma State on the road, 30-27, back on September 10, en route to a 3-0 start, but things quickly went downhill from there. Central Michigan was 3-6 the remainder of the regular season and 1-4 their final four games.

Tulsa had a more balanced season, twice winning three straight, finishing with a 40-37 OT win over Cincinnati that left them with a 9-3 mark on the year. They were 6-2 in conference play and boast one of the most prolific offenses in the country, averaging 41.4 points per contest, 11th overall nationally. While the Golden Hurricane defense often gives up points in bunches, it's doubtful the trending downward Chippewas can score enough to keep up with Tulsa's fast-paced offense.

Coin Flip: Central Michigan

Rick's Pick: Golden Hurricane 52 Chippewas 23


Tuesday, December 20

Boca Raton Bowl
Memphis vs. Western Kentucky (-5, 78), 7:00 pm, ESPN, FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
- If you like your college football wide open with just a smattering of defense, this is the game for you. Western Kentucky was 2nd nationally in points scored, at 45.1 per game (behind Louisville, 45.3), and the Memphis Tigers were not far behind, checking in at #17, scoring an average of 39.5.

Defensively, both teams are not that bad, as they were each on the cusp of national rankings. Memphis allowed 27.0 ppg,, with the Hilltoppers giving up an average score of just 24.1, but both teams had difficulties with high-powered offenses, as evidenced by Western Kentucky struggles against Louisiana Tech, who beat them, 55-52 in the regular season, only to have the Hilltoppers return the favor in the Conference USA championship, 58-44, securing their 10-3 record.

Memphis contended in the American Athletic, finishing with a 5-3 record in conference, and an 8-4 mark overall. But their four losses were generally the fault of the defense, averaging 49.5 points allowed. Since Western Kentucky has a superior offense, it's unlikely the Tigers can stop them enough times to keep this game within the spread. Advantage Hilltoppers.

Coin Flip: Memphis

Rick's Pick: Hilltoppers 48 Tigers 35



Wednesday, December 21

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
BYU (-8 1/2, 55 1/2) vs. Wyoming, 9:00 pm, ESPN, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
- With heavyweights such as Utah, UCLA, West Virginia, Michigan State, and Boise State, it's arguable that the BYU Cougars faced one of the toughest college schedules in years, but they managed to win some against the tough teams and pounded weaker opponents in the latter part of the year, finishing up with an 8-4 mark by going 7-1 from September 30 forward. As an independent, the Cougars are tough, intelligent and hard line defensively. In a three game stretch against Cincinnati, Southern Utah and UMass, the Cougars allowed a total of just 19 points, winning by wide margins in each affair.

That's what makes them such an overwhelming favorite here. Ranked 15th nationally, BYU allowed just 19.4 points per game. By contrast, the Cowboys of Wyoming were seemingly unable to rope in any offensive squad, allowing a whopping 34.8 points per game, 108th overall in a 128-team sample.

While Wyoming was able to reach the championship game in the Mountain West conference - which they lost, 27-24, to san Diego State, it was primarily due to their offense, which averaged 37.1 points per game. While the Cowboys may not have much in the way of defense, this still could be interesting, as a common opponent, Boise State may hold the key. BYU lost at the Broncos, 28-27, on October 20, while the Cowboys defeated Boise, 30-28 at home. By that standard, the Cowboys should make a game of this after all.

Coin Flip: Wyoming

Rick's Pick: Cougars 31 Cowboys 26

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