College football

Joe vs. The Pro: Week 1

 

The annual college football feature known as Joe vs. The Pro is back for a fourth season, and if we’ve learned anything by this little experiment, it is that Lee Sterling absolutely knows his stuff. Joseph Goodman, meanwhile, is good for a few laughs. Sterling’s reputation as a college football prognosticator has turned Joe vs. The Pro into something of a national resource for fans. Last season, Sterling went 60-44-3 against the spread. Sterling advice, indeed. In the first three years of Joe vs. The Pro, Sterling finished every season above .500. In preparation for another successful season, Sterling, the founder of ParamountSports.com, spent the spring and summer visiting various campuses throughout the country. Goodman got lucky and went 54-50-3 against the spread last season, finishing in the black for the first time. He spent the summer buying Johnny Manziel autographed helmets on eBay. And now the Week 1 picks:

FAU at Miami (Miami by 32)

Joe’s pickThe Mustache Bowl should be played every season. This inaugural affair will be disturbingly one-sided, with Miami’s second-teamers pouring it on. Miami 42, FAU 7

Pro’s pickThe Canes should have one of the best offenses in the country, and the front seven on defense is much improved. The back door is open as I expect Al Golden to pull the starters early as the real test is next week against the Gators. Miami 45, FAU 16

FIU at Maryland (Maryland by 20)

Joe’s pickThe embarrassing offseason was a classic purge job by new coach Ron Turner. Some serious questions need answering about FIU. Such as, who hasn’t been kicked off the team? Maryland 35, FIU 10
Pro’s pickLast year, Maryland lost its top four quarterbacks to injury. This year, FIU has lost four of its eight returning starters before the season even starts. New coach Ron Turner went 3-8 his last year at Illinois. This year could be even worse. Maryland 38, FIU 13

Alabama vs. Virginia Tech at Georgia Dome (Alabama by 19 1/2)

Joe’s pickFrank Beamer hasn’t been blown out in a season opener since 1988, his second season at Virginia Tech. Nick Saban respectfully calls off the dogs in the fourth quarter. Alabama 35, Virginia Tech 14
Pro’s pickThe Tide has no weakness. The Hokies return only three offensive starters and face a Tide defense with seven returning starters that held seven opponents to their lowest offensive scoring output of the season. Roll Tide! Alabama 34, Virginia Tech 10

Toledo at Florida (Florida by 24)

Joe’s pickOffensively challenged Gators have some work to do before heading to Miami. Florida is overrated at this point. Florida 27, Toledo 14
Pro’s pickThe Rockets scored 24 or more points in 11 of their 12 regular-season games last year. They also sport top-flight special teams units and return their kicker and punter. The Gators will treat this as a scrimmage with Miami on deck. Florida 42, Toledo 24

Georgia at Clemson (Georgia by 2)

Joe’s pickDeath Valley will be a drunken pit of chaos by the time this game of the week kicks off at 8 p.m. The raucous atmosphere, accentuated by an all-orange crowd, won’t be enough to stop the Bulldogs’ running game, though. Georgia 31, Clemson 24
Pro’s pickThe over-72 total points is probably the easiest way to play this game, with a total of four Heisman watch players on both teams. Clemson always seems to blow games in the second half against tough competition. Georgia 42, Clemson 38

LSU vs. Texas Christian at Arlington, Texas (LSU by 5 1/2)

Joe’s pickLSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger on his new offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron: “The guy is a football genius.” Oh, boy. LSU 21, TCU 20
Pro’s pickThis Tigers defense might not be up to past standards, as only three starters return. They also lost their punter, kicker and top kick returner. I expect this game to come down to the wire and be won on a last-second field goal. LSU 26, TCU 24

Boise State at Washington (Washington by 3 1/2)

Joe’s pickThe Huskies’ refitted stadium apparently makes it one of the best places to watch a college football game on the West Coast … just not on the night Boise State comes to town. Boise State 28, Washington 25
Pro’s pickThese two faced each other in a bowl game last year and Boise escaped with a two-point win. The Huskies are much healthier for the rematch and return nine more starters than the Broncos. Washington 31, Boise State 24

Florida State at Pittsburgh (Florida State by 10)

Joe’s pickIt’s much too early in the season for the Noles to choke away their national championship hopes to an inferior opponent. Really looking forward to watching this redshirt freshman quarterback everyone has been gushing about. Florida State 25, Pittsburgh 14
Pro’s pickPanthers might take some time on offense to jell as they lost their quarterback and top two running backs from last season. If quarterback Jameis Winston is as good as I think he is, then Seminoles could have a magical season. Florida State 31, Pittsburgh 10

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