Leftover Turkey: Top Plays For Black Friday's College Football Picks

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, November 26, 2015 6:27 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015 6:27 PM UTC

While your significant other is out shopping and spending a ridiculous amount of money at those Black Friday sales, there's plenty of college football picks for Friday.

Marshall vs. Western Kentucky
The winner of this game wins Conference USA's East Division and will face the winner of Saturday's Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech showdown in next weekend's conference title game. The Thundering Herd are the defending C-USA champions but lost record-setting quarterback  Rakeem Cato off that year's team. So they aren't quite as dynamic on offense, but they have scored at least 24 points in every game but one. But it has largely been defense why Marshall, trying become the first C-USA team to reach three straight conference championship games since the league expanded with realignment in 2005, is back in contention. The Herd rank No. 1 in CUSA in scoring defense (15.6 ppg), No. 1 against the pass (186.2  ypg) and No. 2 in total defense (357.4 ypg). WKU has the top offense in the conference in averaging 43.7 ppg and tops in passing at 360.9 ypg behind star QB Brandon Doughty. The senior leads the nation in completion percentage (72.8), is second in TD passes (37) and fourth in yards (3,814). WKU's last seven wins have been by at least 16 points. These two played an epic game last season, a 67-66 Western Kentucky upset overtime victory in Huntington that ended Marshall's shot of playing in a New Year's Six bowl. Doughty threw for 491 yards and a conference record eight TDs. A Marshall defense that was the best in the conference then as well allowed a school-record 738 yards.

Won't be quite as crazy as last year but go 'over.' It is 4-1 in WKU's past five conference games. It is 11-5 in Marshall's past 16 following a win of more than 20 points.

College Football Pick: Over 63.5 at Pinnacle

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Western Michigan vs. Toledo 
There were two versions of Toledo we might have seen here. There could have been the one that had nothing to play for if Northern Illinois had beaten Ohio on Tuesday night as expected. However, the Huskies were stunned at home 26-21. Thus the Rockets can now play in the MAC Championship Game against Bowling Green with a win -- and still perhaps earn the Group of Five's New Year's Six bowl spot. NIU wins the West Division if Toledo, which hasn't been to the MAC title game since 2004, loses. The Rockets, No. 24 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, have one of the nation's better running back duos in Terry Swanson and Kareem Hunt -- they are both healthy at the same time finally. Swanson has 801 yards and six scores on 120 carries and Hunt 755 yards and nine scores on 143 rushes. WMU has struggled against the run, allowing 185.3 yards per game. UT ranks No. 1 in the MAC in scoring defense (19.7) and rushing offense (214.4), and is second in scoring offense (35.8) and rushing defense (112.3). Toledo already has beaten very good teams such as Arkansas and Bowling Green. WMU hasn't beaten anyone of value.

Toledo is the college football pick, which has won five straight in the series. The Rockets have covered 12 of their past 14 overall. WMU is 1-4 ATS in its past five after a loss.

College Football Pick: Toledo -8 at TheGreek

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#7 Baylor vs.  #19 TCU 
In some ways, this is the "What If?" game of the year. This was circled the minute the Big 12 schedule was released as many thought Baylor and TCU would be unbeaten here and be playing for the Big 12 title and a spot in the College Football Playoff. Alas, Baylor has one loss and TCU two. The Bears need a win here and next week over Texas and an Oklahoma State upset victory over Oklahoma on Saturday in Stillwater for Baylor to win the Big 12 for a third straight season. Baylor would need plenty of help elsewhere to get into the playoff. This also had the potential to be a Heisman Trophy winner-take-all game between Bears QB Seth Russell and TCU counterpart Trevone Boykin. Both were among the favorites in midseason, but Russell was lost for the year in an Oct. 24 win over Iowa State. Boykin has missed the past seven quarters with an injury but should play here. Baylor will have to use third-stringer Chris Johnson as he will make his first career start. That's because freshman backup Jarrett Stidham is out for the year with a broken ankle. Stidham played the first half of last Saturday's win over Oklahoma State and then was replaced by Johnson, who had been a receiver for much of this season. Johnson was 5-for-10 for 138 yards, two TDs and a pick vs. the Pokes. Let's check the college football odds, as we go.

As long as Boykin plays, take TCU in Boykin's final home game. The Horned Frogs have a 12-game home winning streak, trailing only Florida State and Clemson for the longest among Power 5 programs.  If Johnson gets hurt for Baylor, then the Bears are really up the creek. Baylor is 1-4 ATS in its past five November games. TCU is 12-2 ATS in its past 14 at home. Baylor is 1-7 ATS in the past eight meetings. 

College Football Pick: TCU -1.5 at Heritage

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