Usually this is the time of the season when the Pro can begin coasting into the bowl games with a comfortable lead against Joe.
But not this season!
Joe Goodman, The Herald’s national college football columnist, has always been awful at picking games but, for some reason, he’s not completely wretched this season … at least not yet. For his part, he considers this fact a victory.
Of course, there were no victories last week, only ties straight across the board. The Pro, Lee Sterling of ParamountSports.com, went 4-4 straight up and 4-4 against the spread and so did Joe.
Overall, Sterling is 34-14 straight up and 22-21 against the spread. Joe is 35-12 straight up and 19-24 against the spread. This week’s picks:
NORTH CAROLINA AT MIAMI
• Line: UNC BY 8.
• Joe: Miami is great at beating bad teams under ridiculous circumstances. Who am I to go against a trend? Miami 42, North Carolina 39.
• Pro: Canes defense matches up a wee bit better vs. the Tar Heels’ finesse offense. Al Golden rallies the troops better than anyone after a loss going 4-0 ATS since he arrived in Coral Gables. Miami 38, North Carolina 35.
BOSTON COLLEGE AT FSU
• Line: FSU by 28.
• Joe: Humiliated FSU defense takes it out on Boston College. FSU 42, BC 10.
• Pro: BC defense was on the field for 92 plays last week while the offensive line allowed five sacks. The opponent was Army. That will seem like a picnic compared to this week as Noles look to take out their frustrations on anything standing in front of them. FSU 48, BC 14.
FLORIDA AT VANDERBILT
• Line: UF BY 8
• Joe: I’ve just got a hunch here. UF 35, Vanderbilt 7.
• Pro: Vandy defense got a break last week when Missou QB Franklin left the game injured. Their quirky offense won’t give a quality defense like the Gators have any problems. UF 26, Vanderbilt 13.
STANFORD AT NOTRE DAME
• Line: Notre Dame by 7.5
• Joe: Notre Dame’s schedule seemed so difficult at the beginning of the season. Just another cupcake this week. Notre Dame 28, Stanford 15.
• Pro: Stanford offense rolled up 54 points last week vs a smallish Zona 3-3-5 defense. Notre Dame won’t be pushed around. Cardinal also 3-6 ATS before their rivalry game against Cal. Notre Dame 31, Stanford 13.
SOUTH CAROLINA AT LSU
• Line: LSU BY 3
• Joe: Wrong team is favored. South Carolina 18, LSU 15.
• Pro: Tigers’ anemic offense led by scatter-gun QB Zach Mettenberger has only mustered 12 and 6 points the last two weeks. Gamecock DL is relentless with 25 sacks and won’t let up now. South Carolina 23, LSU 13.
SOUTHERN MISS AT CENTRAL FLORIDA
• Line: UCF by 16.5
• Joe: Once a proud program, Southern Miss has gradually turned into a joke thanks to Conference USA. The laughs continue. UCF 42, Southern Miss 21.
• Pro: Knights QB Blake Bortles has thrown for more yards in each successive start. If left in, this could be the game where he throws for 300-plus yards. UCF 37, Southern Miss 14.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC AT LOUISIANA-MONROE
• Line: ULM by 24
• Joe: FAU has no chance. ULM 50, FAU 20.
• Pro: Monrovians improving defense that’s 2-0 vs SEC this year should have no trouble stopping Owls offense that averages just 282 yards a game. ULM 42, FAU 16.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE AT FIU
• Line: MTSU BY 3
• Joe: FIU needs to show me something or I’m going to start thinking Mario Cristobal is trying to bail. MTSU 32, FIU 20.
• Pro: Golden Panthers one of the few Sun Belt teams going backward and with their top QB Jake Medlock and top RB iffy they won’t spring many upsets down the stretch. MTSU 34, FIU 23.
Joe vs. The Pro is a weekly college football feature that analyzes games and predicts the outcome against the spread. Sterling, a nationally respected numbers man, has been analyzing spreads for more than 20 years. Joe analyzes spreads in less than 20 seconds.