After three years of Joe vs. the Pro, this much is certain: Big 12 defensive backs have a better chance of scoring picks against Geno Smith than Joe Goodman, The Herald’s national college football, ever will have at picking games.
Smith, the quarterback at West Virginia, has thrown 20 touchdown passes this season without an interception. If you divide Smith’s completion percentage (83.4) in half, you’d get around the same number as Goodman’s percentage against the spread (42.8).
Smith, of course, had an otherworldly game last week against Baylor, throwing for 656 yards and eight touchdowns. The Miramar High graduate faces his toughest test so far this season Saturday when the Mountaineers visit Texas, which is favored by a touchdown.
Lee Sterling of ParamountSports.com, the Pro of this weekly feature, ventures confidently into Week 6 after going 8-0 straight-up and 6-2 against the spread last week. Overall, Sterling is 30-10 straight-up and 18-17 against the spread. Joe went 6-2 straight-up and 4-4 against the spread last week and is 31-8 straight-up for the season and 15-20 against the spread. This week’s picks:
West Virginia at Texas
• Line: Texas by 6.5
• Joe: The Mountaineers defeated Baylor last week despite their apoplectic defense, which allowed 700 yards of offense. This might be West Virginia’s first away game in the Big 12, but Geno Smith is a veteran quarterback comfortable on the big stage. West Virginia 45, Texas 42
• Pro: To win on the road you need to stop the run and run the football. I’m not sure Mountaineers can do either in their first true road game of the year. Texas 48, West Virginia 38
Miami at Notre Dame
Line: Notre Dame by 13
• Joe: Stephen Morris delivered an inspirational performance last week but he’ll be called upon to do again. The Irish, ranked 15th nationally in total defense (291.25 yards per game), will force the Canes to pass and Morris must deliver. Miami 28, Notre Dame 25
• Pro: Experienced Irish offensive line versus undersized and inexperienced Canes defensive line is a mismatch even red-hot Morris can’t overcome. Low temperatures in the mid-40’s could lead to fumbles and interceptions as Irish add to their plus-nine turnover ratio. Notre Dame 38, Miami 13
LSU at Florida
• Line: LSU by 2 ½
• Joe: LSU is suddenly vulnerable after last week’s scare against Towson. I wouldn’t look into that game too much. Young Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel is talented but not quite ready for the likes of LSU’s defense. LSU 18, Florida 15
• Pro: Everyone keeps talking about the Tigers’ defense but the Gator stop unit is now ranked in the top 10 in all four major statistical categories. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger seems to be getting worse every week. Florida 20, LSU 13
Florida State at N.C. State
• Line: FSU by 15
• Joe: FSU beat N.C. State 34-0 last year. This one seems like a no-brainer to me. FSU 42, N.C. State 20
• Pro: The biggest mystery in Raleigh, N.C., is how can you return the entire secondary and be so much worse. Special teams advantage for Noles (ranked No.1 while Wolfpack is No. 88) could lead to a cheap FSU TD and cover. Florida State 40, N.C. State 21