College football

College football: Joe vs. the Pro, Week 12

 

jgoodman@miamiherald.com

Few people outside of Boca Raton have noticed, but Florida Atlantic has made steady progress throughout the season. First, coach Carl Pelini has instilled some of his Rust Belt toughness into the Owls and, as the 2012 season nears its finish for FAU, the program appears to be moving in the right direction after that regrettable 1-11 record in the final season of the Howard Schnellenberger Era. The same team that began the season with a 7-3 victory against Wagner has won two of its past three games and gave Navy a scare in Annapolis, Md. Against the spread, FAU has covered in eight consecutive weeks. Joe Goodman, The Miami Herald’s national college football columnist, is a lot like FAU in terms of picking games this season. He started slowly but has built some positive momentum. Last week, Joe took a slight step backwards, going 4-4 straight up and 3-4-1 against the spread, but, overall, Joe is 63-25 straight up and 43-39-1 against the spread. The Pro, Lee Sterling of ParamountSports.com, went 5-3 straight up last week and 3-4-1 against the spread. For the season, the Pro is a stellar 65-23 straight up and 46-36-1 against the spread.

This week’s picks:

• FIU AT FAU (FAU BY 1.5)

Joe The Golden Panthers have had two weeks to prepare for this rivalry game but I still like FAU, which delivered a season-defining upset last week in its road win against Western Kentucky. FAU 35, FIU 28
Pro Owls have improved more than any team in the state, gaining 100 more yards per game in Sun Belt Conference play than they did in nonconference action. FAU 27, FIU 23

SOUTH FLORIDA AT MIAMI (MIAMI BY 7)

Joe Last week’s loss to Virginia was understandable. It’s never fun when you need to win a game so you can forfeit your postseason. The Canes deliver this week. Miami 28, South Florida 25
ProStephen Morris seems to have broken out of his three-game slump with a strong effort last week at Virginia. Bulls are No. 114 in turnover margin and can’t be trusted with a backup QB on the road. Miami 28, South Florida 17

• FLORIDA STATE AT MARYLAND (FSU BY 31)

Joe In years past, I’d call this a trap game for FSU. Maryland is no N.C. State, if that makes any sense. FSU 52, Maryland 10
Pro Maryland placed 29 players on the injury list last week. That number could grow as the Terps realize they face the defense that leads the nation in fewest yards allowed. Florida State 45, Maryland 3

• NORTH CAROLINA STATE AT CLEMSON (CLEMSON BY 17)

Joe A revenge game for the Tigers. Turnovers doomed Clemson last season. Not this time. Clemson 42, N.C. State 20
Pro No pressure for Wolfpack, which righted the ship last week with a blowout win over Wake Forest and reached bowl consideration. Tigers might be looking ahead to game with in-state rival South Carolina next week. Clemson 38, N.C. State 30

• KANSAS STATE AT BAYLOR (KANSAS STATE BY 13)

JoePast two meetings were decided by a combined total of six points. Kansas State 35, Baylor 31
Pro Laying double digits on the road in conference play is a recipe for disaster. The Bears’ run of 10-1 straight up at home makes them an easy take. Kansas State 48, Baylor 42

• STANFORD AT OREGON (OREGON BY 20.5)

JoeStanford’s defense is allowing an average of 17.2 points per game. Oregon 28, Stanford 25
ProCardinal defense under the radar holding nine of 10 opponents under 23 points. Offense should work the clock on offense as its huge offensive line holds big advantage over banged-up Ducks defensive front. Oregon 38, Stanford 31

• CENTRAL FLORIDA AT TULSA (TULSA BY 2)

Joe A feel-out game here as both teams likely will meet again in two weeks in the Conference-USA title game. Tulsa 38, UCF 35
Pro Knights have more weapons on offense and seem to play better on the road. Tulsa QB Green completes just 53% of his passes and isn’t a big-game QB. UCF, 26 Tulsa 24

• OHIO STATE AT WISCONSIN (WISCONSIN BY 2.5)

Joe Wisconsin’s three losses have each been by three points. Sounds about right. Ohio State 24, Wisconsin 21
Pro Buckeyes dual threat Braxton Miller is head and shoulders above anything Wisky rolls out at quarterback. Urban Meyer, with an extra week to game plan, is worth at least a touchdown. Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 28

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.

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