College football

Joe vs. The Pro: Week 5

 

Hard to believe that it has been nearly 10 years since the University of Central Florida took a chance on a disgraced football coach named George O’Leary. O’Leary has overseen the steady growth of UCF football and managed to keep his job through some difficult times for the program. Now, this weekend, the Knights play arguably their most important home game in program history. Two weeks after upsetting Penn State in Happy Valley, the Knights welcome South Carolina to Orlando. A win against Steve Spurrier, the University of Florida icon and one of the greatest football coaches in history, would not only launch UCF into the national conversation but it also would prop up the new American Athletic Conference, which hasn’t had much to brag about beyond Louisville. Amazingly enough, both Joe and the Pro are calling for the Knights to upset the Gamecocks on Saturday. Continuing the upset trend, detractors of Urban Meyer will take joy in knowing the Pro has called for Wisconsin to upset the Buckeyes. Joseph Goodman, the Miami Herald’s college football columnist, and Lee Sterling of ParamountSports.com have been riding hot streaks all season. Joe went 7-1 against the spread last week and 6-2 straight up to improve to 25-7 straight up and 21-11 against the spread. The Pro is … and this is ridiculous to even write, let alone contemplate … 24-8 straight up and 24-8 against the spread. On to the picks!

South Carolina at UCF, South Carolina by 7

Joe’s pickContaining USC defensive end Jadeveon Clowney isn’t out of the question for the Knights’ offensive line. Given enough time to operate, quarterback Blake Bortles can led the upset. UCF 24, South Carolina 21
Pro’s pickThe Knights’ Blake Bortles is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country, with only one interception in his past nine games and weapons galore at running back and wide receiver. Gamecocks lack senior leadership and star defensive end Clowney is ailing. UCF 35, South Carolina 31

Florida State at Boston College, Florida State by 21 1/2

Joe’s pickThis has all the makings of a classic letdown scenario for FSU. I’m not saying this is going to be N.C. State all over again, I’m just saying. Florida State 35, Boston College 21
Pro’s pickEagles offense ranks 116th in rushing offense. Eagles defense allowed pedestrian USC quarterbacks to complete 89 percent of their passes for 264 passing yards. Romper room special here for the Noles. Florida State 45, Boston College 14

Louisiana State at Georgia, Georgia by 3

Joe’s pickTigers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, the Dolphins’ former coach, has quarterback Zach Mettenberger believing, but there’s a reason why he left Athens and Aaron Murray stayed. A win puts Georgia back into the national-title picture. Georgia 21, Louisiana State 17
Pro’s pickBulldogs have been tested early by Clemson and South Carolina. I’m not sure LSU’s defense is up to past standards. Aaron Murray is completing 72 percent of his passes and could shred Tigers secondary. Georgia 30, Louisiana State 24

Mississippi at Alabama, Alabama by 15 1/2

Joe’s pickYoung Rebels wet the bed. Alabama 42, Mississippi 21
Pro’s pickOle Miss defense still can’t be trusted. It has allowed opponents to score all nine times in the red zone this season. Roll Tide! Alabama 38, Mississippi 16

Miami at South Florida, Miami by 181/2

Joe’s pickThe Bulls had two weeks to fold up shop and call it a season. To its credit, USF will continue to play football this season after starting out 0-3 with losses to McNeese State and Florida Atlantic. Miami 48, South Florida 17
Pro’s pickBulls are almost as bad as FIU, so they are a fade-only option until I see some improvement on both sides of the ball. They have played from behind against both FBS opponents and couldn’t muster more than 130 passing yards in either game. Miami 41, South Florida 10

Florida at Kentucky, Florida by 13

Joe’s pickThe first person on air this Saturday who mentions Chris Leak should be banned from the Commonwealth for life. Expecting another stinker involving the Gators. Florida 28, Kentucky 20
Pro’s pickIf Kentucky quarterback Maxwell Smith could complete only 9 of 20 passes against Louisville, do you really think he has what it takes against a Gators defense that could end up being a top-five defense in the country? Of course he doesn’t, and Gators win going away for the 27th time in a row over Wildcats. Florida 32, Kentucky 13

Florida Atlantic at Rice, Rice by 13 1/2

Joe’s pickThat Rice is nearly a two-touchdown favorite against a conference opponent is a better indicator than how putrid football really is in Conference USA. It’s a baseball and soccer conference at this point. Rice 28, Florida Atlantic 18
Pro’s pickIn a coin flip game, I’ll take Pellini’s boys because they like road trips, as evidenced by their 9-1 record against the spread as a road dog. Rice 30, Florida Atlantic 20

Wisconsin at Ohio State, Ohio State by 7

Joe’s pickAlways a good bet to take Urban Meyer against his school’s rivals. Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 21
Pro’s pickTo beat the Buckeyes, you must stop the run. And in last year’s game, Wisconsin held Ohio State to just 139 rushing yards on 41 attempts. Braxton Miller is rusty and Urban Meyer gets tagged with his first loss as Buckeyes coach. Wisconsin 27, Ohio State 26

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