Saturday's Home Team Hopefuls: Top 3 Crowd Pleasing College Football Picks

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, December 3, 2015 7:32 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015 7:32 PM GMT

It's conference championship Saturday around college football as the bowls will be set when the final CFP rankings are released on Sunday. Check our best college football picks.

West Virginia vs. Kansas State 
This is about picking the best games against the spread, not the best games in the grand scheme of things. Thus I give you WVU at K-State from the Big 12 Conference, which means squat nationally. But for sure Kansas State (5-6, 2-6) will reach a bowl game with a win. The Wildcats have gotten on the verge of bowl eligibility with back-to-back wins over conference lightweights  Iowa State and Kansas following a six-game losing streak. If the Wildcats do win here to get eligible, they would become only the sixth Power 5 team since the advent of the 12-game schedule in 2006 to qualify after facing elimination in three straight games. K-State could still make a bowl game with a 5-7 record since there won’t be enough teams with winning records to fill the 80 bowl slots. Bowl invitations to 5-7 teams are based on Academic Progress Rate (APR) and KSU is high on that list. The Liberty Bowl says it may consider KSU win or loss. Bill Snyder has said he would let the players decide the team’s bowl fate if they finish 5-7, but players have indicated they would vote yes. Snyder intends to coach next season at age 77, but what if it's not his call? West Virginia (7-4, 4-4) was 3-0 to start the season, lost four straight Big 12 games to ranked teams to drop to 3-4 and has since won four in a row against unranked conference foes. WVU has lost to the Wildcats each season since joining the Big 12 in 2012. This game matches opposites as K-State plays slow and conservative, while WVU is up-tempo.

K-State since it has more motivation. WVU has covered just three of its past 11 December games. K-State is 9-3 ATS in its past 12 after a win.

College Football Pick: Kansas State +5.5 at 5Dimes

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#10 North Carolina vs. #1 Clemson 
For the first time in its history, the ACC Championship Game -- in Charlotte -- features teams that finished the regular season undefeated in conference play. It seems the chic pick right now by "experts" around the country is that the Tar Heels, who have won 11 straight games (never won 12 in a season in school history) and have an high-powered offense, will upset the Tigers and send the College Football Playoff into disarray. The Tar Heels scored an average of 50 points per game in November, the highest total of any Power 5 team in that timeframe. UNC has only one game with 24 or fewer points, and that was the opening-week loss to South Carolina. Heels QB Marquise Williams is nearly as good as Clemson star Deshaun Watson, with Williams throwing for 2,605 yard and 18 scores while rushing for 786 yards and 10 touchdowns. And UNC running back Elijah Hood ranks second in the ACC in rushing yards per game (116.3) and yards per rush (7.2) and is first in rushing touchdowns (14). That's all fine. But Clemson is easily the best defense (seventh nationally) and team that Heels have faced. UNC's schedule features no teams that are currently ranked. Plus that Clemson defense got to practice all season against the Tigers' excellent offense.

Clemson is the college football pick. The Tigers are 4-0 ATS in their past four neutral-site games. The favorite is 4-0 in the past four meetings.

College Football Pick: Clemson -4.5 at Heritage

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Air Force At San Diego State 
The Aztecs host the Mountain West Championship Game -- a game that usually involves Boise State, but the Broncos finished a game behind Air Force in the Mountain Division. The Falcons (8-4, 6-2) are just like the other service academies in that the run a triple-option attack and rarely throw the ball. They average 323.5 rushing yards per game and only 138.6 in the air. Air Force is seeking its first Mountain West football title and fourth overall league crown. The last time the Falcons won a football championship was in 1998 when they defeated BYU 20-13 in the WAC title game. San Diego State (9-3, 8-0) closed the season on an eight-game winning streak and won the West Division by four games. The winning streak is the longest for the  Aztecs since a 10-game streak in 1976-77. The eight-game win streak, in which SDSU never trailed in the second half, is the fifth-longest active in FBS?(Clemson 15, Iowa 12, North Carolina 11 and Alabama 9). The Aztecs have won 16 straight home contests against unranked conference opponents. Air Force is likely to struggle against a defense that ranks fourth in rushing defense (95.0 ypg) and has forced 31 turnovers. San Diego State defeated Air Force 30-14 in San Diego last year to record its fifth straight win in the series. This line has dropped because SDSU starting QB Maxwell Smith has been lost for the season. The loss of Smith is not a huge blow as the SDSU offense is based on the running game of Donnel Pumphrey and Chase Price.

San Diego State. Air Force is 7-15 ATS against the college football odds in its past 22 road games. SDSU has covered eight straight games. The Falcons are 0-6 ATS in the past six meetings.

College Football Pick: San Diego State -6.5 at Bet365

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