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Saturday, 5 December 2015

College Football Week 14 Picks (December 5th)

The final week of the College Football regular season is mainly reserved for the Championship Games in most of the Conferences while others like the Big 12 complete their schedule for the season.

It is the last chance to impress the voters in a bid to get into the National Championship Play Offs while others look to get into position to make a Bowl Game, all of which will be revealed next week ahead of the start of the Bowl season on December 19th.

Last week we got separation in terms of teams that can potentially make the National Championship Play Off and the picture looks clear now. These are the order in which I think the teams will go in:

1) Alabama Crimson Tide- expect them to win the SEC Championship in dominant style.

2) Clemson Tigers- still believe they get in as the only unbeaten team in the top four.

3) Michigan State Spartans- wins over previously unbeaten Iowa and Ohio State should see them finish ahead of the Big 12 Champion.

4) Oklahoma Sooners- won the Big 12 and arguably the team in best form. However lack of a Championship Game might give the three Championship winners on Saturday a chance to overtake them in the votes.

Looking In- Stanford Cardinal (if they win Pac 12 and Clemson and Alabama lose, will be put in to National Championship Play Off).

Iowa State Hawkeyes (should be in if they win the Big Ten Championship Game).

Ohio State Buckeyes (if Alabama, Clemson and Stanford lose, would be hard to leave the defending Champions out but that is a long shot).



Week 14 Picks
I described Week 12 as the worst of the College Football season and demanded an immediate bounce back from that week.

Eight of the eleven picks made in Week 13 returned in the winner's enclosure which was exactly what I would have been looking for as a little bit of luck came my way. The Texas Tech and TCU wins could easily have gone against me, but then again Troy made too many mistakes in their loss.

The worst pick was easily thinking the Oklahoma State Cowboys would give the Oklahoma Sooners something to think about, but overall it was the week I wanted to get the picks in a strong position heading into this final week of the regular season and heading into the Bowls.

Talking about the Bowls, I have decided I will split the picks into three threads this time around than having one post for all the Bowl Picks. Those threads can be lost in the mix and the first will cover the Bowl Games that are played between December 19th and December 24th.

Georgia State Panthers @ Georgia Southern Eagles Pick: There is a significant gap in class between these two teams, although you have to be careful backing favourites in a College Football weekend when there is a limited number of games on offer.

However, the Georgia Southern Eagles look like a team who will be able to dominate this game on the ground and they might be able to give the Georgia State Panthers little time to stay with them.

The Eagles Defensive unit is under-rated to say the least and they showed when taking on SEC Georgia Bulldogs that they are a team on the up. Georgia State won't be able to establish the run and passing the ball hasn't been easy against the Eagles Secondary and it might be a similar kind of game to when these teams met last season.

Georgia Southern won convincingly behind a huge day on the ground when they racked up over 600 rushing yards and I think the home team covers a big spread on Saturday.


West Virginia Mountaineers @ Kansas State Wildcats Pick: The Kansas State Wildcats might have needed one more win in recent years to become Bowl eligible. However, they are going to be invited in with five wins this year because of a lack of teams making it to six wins and already having one of the better academic results.

That shouldn't take away their motivation for a final home game and Bill Snyder has always had the Wildcats up for games where they are the underdog. Unfortunately they are not that good this season and face a West Virginia Mountaineers team that is playing as hot as any in the Big 12 in recent weeks.

Kansas State have won three in a row against the Mountaineers which can't be ignored, but West Virginia have won four straight coming into this final regular season game. They are also facing a Kansas State team that has been far too inconsistent all season and I really do think West Virginia have the edge on both sides of the ball.

The public having a slight lean on the home underdog isn't a bad thing and I like the road team to cover here and go into the Bowl Game with a lot of momentum behind them.


Alabama Crimson Tide v Florida Gators Pick: The SEC Championship is decided in Atlanta on Saturday and the overriding feeling has been that Nick Saban won't want to run up the score on his friend Jim McElwain.

Saban has also been implying that the SEC Championship Game in 2014 took something out of his team ahead of the National Championship Play Off when they were beaten by the Ohio State Buckeyes. That seems strange to me considering Alabama crushed Missouri and perhaps he will ease off his players if they get in a big lead in this one.

I fully expect Alabama to get into that lead against a Florida Gators team that have struggled Offensively since Will Grier was suspended. That means the Defensive unit spend too much time on the field and they have begun to be worn down when teams run the ball against them and that is a big problem when getting ready to face Derrick Henry.

The Crimson Tide have covered in four straight games against Florida and they have won all four games by at least 19 points per game. A backdoor cover concerns me, but Florida have been so bad the last two weeks that I can't see how they can keep up with Alabama in this one. Look for a first back to back SEC Champion in almost twenty years and I expect the Crimson Tide to do that behind another big Championship win.


Appalachian State Mountaineers @ South Alabama Jaguars Pick: The Appalachian State Mountaineers were blown out by the South Alabama Jaguars last season, but I think they can get revenge in a big way.

This is a team that has been amongst the best in the Sun Belt Conference and would have seen the Georgia Southern Eagles crush the Jaguars on the ground. I fully expect Appalachian State to do the same and show enough passing the ball to keep their hosts off balance.

While South Alabama will have some success when moving the ball Offensively, it will be a lot more erratic than Appalachian State and I think that is going to play a huge part in this game. With revenge on their minds, the Mountaineers won't be worried about running up the score if they get an opportunity to do that and I like the road team to cover.


Stanford Cardinal v USC Trojans Pick: The Pac-12 Champion is unlikely to be invited into the National Championship Play Off, but that doesn't mean this game is meaningless. Winning a Conference Championship is the first goal of any team in the College Football ranks so both Stanford Cardinal and USC Trojans should be ready for this game in San Francisco.

Stanford beat USC by ten points earlier in the season, but the Trojans have since changed their Head Coach and Clay Helton has been given the permanent Head Coaching role. The Trojans have responded to Helton with five wins in their last six games and they have an Offensive unit that matches up well with Stanford.

The Cardinal also had a tough win last weekend which could have sapped some energy and they should be challenged by the USC Defense. The blow out loss to Oregon worries me about USC, especially as Stanford played them a lot closer in a defeat recently, but I still think the underdog can keep this close.

USC were beaten as the favourite earlier in the season, but the underdog has now improved to 4-0 against the spread in the series and I'll take the points.


Clemson Tigers v North Carolina Tar Heels Pick: I can't think there would have been too many people who thought the Clemson Tigers would be the only unbeaten team left in the FBS at this stage of the season. The Tigers will book a place in the National Championship Play Off by winning the ACC Championship Game and there is the pressure of knowing they would be out with a loss.

They are playing a North Carolina Tar Heels team that has also surprised reaching this Championship Game, especially after losing to South Carolina to open the season. North Carolina have won eleven in a row since that opening week loss, but they are still unlikely to make the Play Off even with a win with their one loss not looking a great one.

There is a good balance to the Tar Heels Offensively that should give Clemson a problem or two to deal with. However, the Tigers Defense has been very good all season and I am not going to read too much into their close win over rivals South Carolina last weekend as the latter had nothing to lose and could give that game their all.

In recent games, North Carolina have won games where the yards gained have been pretty close, whereas Clemson are outgaining teams by triple digits in each game. That should lead to wider wins more often than not and I think they can make enough plays Defensively to win this game and cover the spread and also move Clemson into the National Championship Play Off.


Iowa Hawkeyes v Michigan State Spartans Pick: The Michigan State Spartans have been a great team in recent years under Mark Dantonio and they can underline their status by winning the Big Ten Championship. That would send the Spartans into the National Championship Play Off, although they face the unbeaten Iowa Hawkeyes who have surprised by reaching this Championship Game and can make the Play Off by winning this game too.

There is no doubting that the Michigan State Spartans have had the better wins this season, although they might be more known for their wins as the underdog. They won't be the underdog this week, but Michigan State look a team on a mission to reach the final four.

The Hawkeyes have been outgained the last two weeks in terms of yardage but found their way to wins anyway, but Michigan State have looked better and achieved better performances in games against the same opponents.

Iowa do have a strong recent record against Michigan State, especially against the spread, but I think the Spartans have a lot of momentum behind them. I was expecting this spread to perhaps be closer to a Touchdown margin, so I do like Michigan State to win and cover.

MY PICKS: Georgia Southern Eagles - 21 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
West Virginia Mountaineers - 5.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Alabama Crimson Tide - 17.5 Points @ 2.00 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Appalachian State Mountaineers - 18 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
USC Trojans + 4 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Clemson Tigers - 4.5 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Michigan State Spartans - 3.5 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit)


Week 13: 8-3, + 4.72 Units (11 Units Staked, + 42.91% Yield
Week 123-7, - 4.10 Units (10 Units Staked, - 41% Yield)
Week 11: 7-4, + 2.33 Units (11 Units Staked, + 21.18% Yield)
Week 10: 4-5, - 1.36 Units (9 Units Staked, - 15.11% Yield)
Week 9: 3-6, - 3.29 Units (9 Units Staked, - 36.56% Yield)
Week 85-6, - 1.33 Units (11 Units Staked, - 12.09% Yield)
Week 711-3, + 7.10 Units (14 Units Staked, + 50.71% Yield
Week 68-5, + 2.49 Units (13 Units Staked, + 19.15% Yield)
Week 56-7, - 1.50 Units (13 Units Staked, - 11.54% Yield)
Week 48-4-1, + 3.26 Units (13 Units Staked, + 25.08% Yield)
Week 36-4, + 1.57 Units (10 Units Staked, + 15.70% Yield)
Week 25-4-1, + 0.68 Units (10 Units Staked, + 6.80% Yield)
Week 17-6, + 0.48 Units (13 Units Staked, + 3.69% Yield

Season 201581-64-2, + 11.05 Units (147 Units Staked, + 7.52% Yield)
Season 201475-82-2, - 13.39 Units (172 Units Staked, - 7.78% Yield)
Season 201365-49-2, + 8.49 Units (124 Units Staked, + 6.85% Yield)
Season 201254-59-1 - 7.11 Units (114 Units Staked, - 6.24% Yield)
Season 201163-36, + 23.25 Units (99 Units Staked, + 23.5% Yield)

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