Fearless Rick's 2016 College Football Picks - Bowl Games Week 3 late games

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Bowl Games WEEK 3 NCAA Footall Picks - late games

All times Eastern

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Saturday, December 31

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
#19 LSU (-3 1/2, 60) vs. #15 Louisville, 11:00 am, ABC, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
- After going 9-1 overall and 7-1 in the ACC (only loss was to Clemson, 42-36), the Cardinals ended the season on a down note, losing their final two games, at Houston, 36-10, and home against in-state rival Kentucky, 41-38. Louisville did get a boost when their quarterback, Lamar Jackson, became the youngest player ever to capture the Heismann Trophy. With the pressure off, Jackson should lead the Cardinals to a win over the Tigers, despite the fact that LSU has a solid history in bowl games.

The Tigers won't be able to keep Jackson and his teammates out of the end zone often enough to keep this one within shouting distance. Minor upset in the making.

Coin Flip: LSU

Rick's Pick: Cardinals 34 Tigers 27

TaxSlayer Bowl
Georgia Tech (-3 1/2, 60 1/2) vs. Kentucky, 11:00 am, ESPN, EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
- Best of luck picking the winner here as there are many crosscurrents which can fall either way.

The Wildcats were just 4-4 in the SEC, which isn't actually that bad, especially when they finished with a pair of wins, a 49-13 romp over Austin Peay, and a surprise, 41-38 victory over Louisville.

Georgia Tech is also hard to read. They went 4-4 in the ACC, but won their last three, including a 30-20 win over Virginia Tech and a 28-27 win Georgia to close out the season 8-4. None of that means much with kids on break and both teams looking ahead.

Coin Flip: Kentucky

Rick's Pick: Wildcats 30 Yellow Jackets 28

Monday, January 2

Outback Bowl
#20 Florida (-2 1/2, 40 1/2) vs. #21 Iowa, 1:00 pm, ABC, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
- Both teams come into the game ranked and in good shape, though Florida has to shake off rust and the stench of their final two games, a 31-13 loss at Florida State followed by a 54-16 demolition by Alabama in the SEC championship.

Iowa can play with anybody and often comes out on the right side of the scoreboard, such as their 14-13 win over Michigan and a 40-10 victory over Nebraska to close out the regular season. Unlike the Gators, 8-4 Iowa did not get to a championship game and their three straight wins to end the season give them a leg up against a team that has an outstanding defense, but often struggles offensively.

Coin Flip: Florida

Rick's Pick: Hawkeyes 24 Gators 20

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
#12 Western Michigan vs. #8 Wisconsin (-7 1/2, 54), 1:00 pm, ESPN, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
- In case one was considering going with the power conference team against the upstarts from the Mid-America, consider that Western Michigan has not lost a game this season (13-0) and most of their wins were not even close. While the Badgers have one of the premiere defensive units in the country, ranked #4 in points allowed (15.5), the Broncos put up 43.5 points per outing, ranked #8 in the country.

Some will yammer on about the Big Ten and the smaller conferences, but this Western Michigan team is not your ordinary Mid-America squad. They were not bad defensively, allowing 19.5 ppg (16th). Big upset possible.

Coin Flip: Wisconsin

Rick's Pick: Broncos 26 Badgers 23

Rose Bowl
#9 USC (-6 1/2, 62 1/2) vs. #5 Penn State, 5:00 pm, ESPN, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
- There are those who believe the USC Trojans - if not for a poor start and a couple of unlucky breaks - could have been in the national championship conversation. USC lost three of their first four games - to Alabama, Stanford, and Utah - but then won their last eight straight, ending with a 9-3 mark.

While there is plenty to like about USC, Penn State also has a compelling story. Specifically, the Nittany Lions were 11-2, beat Ohio State, 24-21, during the regular season, qualified for the Big Ten championship game with an 8-1 conference mark and won the title game, 38-31, over Wisconsin. Somehow, that made not Penn State, but Ohio State, the choice for the national championship four-team playoff. If Penn State players, coaches, fans and even unconnected observers feel that the Nittany Lions were shortchanged by the NCAA, here's their chance to prove it.

Coin Flip: Penn State

Rick's Pick: Nittany Lions 31 Trojans 28

Allstate Sugar Bowl
#17 Auburn vs. #7 Oklahoma (-3 1/2, 62 1/2), 8:30 pm, ESPN, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
- Is Oklahoma really just a field goal better than Auburn on a neutral site? Who knows?

The Sooners were champions of the Big 12, but, because their conference does not have a championship game, teams are punished by the often-arbitrary polling and seeding system of the college elite. Oklahoma lost two early games, to Houston and Ohio State, not exactly doormats, and won their last nine straight for a 10-2 mark, including an undefeated 9-0 in conference play.

With an 8-4 record, Auburn cannot make similar claims against the system, but, consider their losses - Clemson, Texas A&M, Georgia, Alabama - were all against ranked opposition except for the 13-7 Georgia mishap. They are as solid a squad as can be found in the college ranks, and they may show up in a big way to stand up for their conference.

Coin Flip: Oklahoma

Rick's Pick: Tigers 35 Sooners 27

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