The third season of Joe vs. The Pro is upon us and already Joe is somehow 10 games in the red.
Joe, of course, is Joseph Goodman, The Herald’s national college football writer, Heat beat writer and amateur guesser of college football spreads. Followers of this feature know Joe as possibly the worst picker of college football games in the history of betting.
The Pro of this feature is Lee Sterling of ParamountSports.com. He’s a Miami native and nationally recognized analyst of college football spreads. For two straight seasons, Lee is above .500 against the spread in Joe vs. The Pro.
Each week this season, Joe and Lee will provide fans of college football with a valuable service. Lee will crunch the numbers, study the trends, analyze the match-ups and offer sound advice based on things like math and experience. Joe, on the other hand, will more than likely embarrass himself, entertain readers with self-deprecating humor and generally establish a hackneyed methodology for picking games.
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JOE VS. THE PRO
Central Florida at Akron (Thurs.), UCF by 24
Joe: The Knights begin their final season in Conference USA with the potential for more offense (and more drama with Jeff Godfrey still on the team). An opener against coach Terry Bowden’s Akron Zips should be a good warm up for UCF. UCF 31, Akron 17
Pro: Former Cane RB Storm Johnson, Brynn Harvey and Latavius Murray might each pass the century mark vs a Zip defense that allowed 4.9 YPC last year. Starting a 256 lb DT and 220 lb DE this season can’t make this unit any better. Central Florida 41, Akron 14
Wagner at Florida Atlantic (Fri.), NO LINE
Joe: Howard Schnellenberger built the program and the stadium and now it is time for coach Carl Pelini to build on that success. A season opener against Wagner College of the FCS is a good place to start. FAU 41, Wagner 15
Pro: New Owl head coach Carl Pelini brings his new spread offense and 4-2-5 defense into opening weekend for a dress rehearsal before they hit the road to face conference foe Middle Tennessee State next week. FAU 38, Wagner 17
Miami at Boston College, Miami by 1
Joe: Expectations are low in Miami but, despite perceived weaknesses, the Canes have the talent to win on the road against the Eagles. Miami 28, Boston College 25
Pro: Eagles putrid offense is on their third offensive coordinator in three years. If Miami’s offense protects the ball better than in last years game when Jacory Harris threw 4 picks they’ll emerge victorious. Miami 23, Boston College 20
Florida International at Duke, Duke by 4
Joe: The Panthers have the defense to keep the season opener close but new offensive components will take a few weeks to meld. Duke 24, FIU 18
Pro: Until FIU Soph QB Jake Medlock settles in they should use RB Kedrick Rhodes early and often vs Duke’s porous 4-2-5 defense. Florida International 24, Duke 21
UT-Chattanooga at South Florida, NO LINE
Joe: The Bulls went 1-7 to finish the season in 2011. Winning close games falls on fifth-year senior quarterback B.J. Daniels but the opener should be a blowout. USF 42, UT-Chattanooga 15
Pro: After his first losing season since 2004 coach Skip Holtz brought in a new defensive coordinator. Nothing wrong with the offense as Bulls air attack that returns top six pass catchers from last year should help them start the season on a high note. South Florida 51, UT-Chattanooga 7
Bowling Green at Florida, UF by 29
Joe: Splitting playing time at quarterback between Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel might work against Bowling Green but coach Will Muschamp needs to make a decision after Week 1. UF 35, Bowling Green 10
Pro: Laying 29 points when the 2011 Florida offense was ranked 89th in passing offense and 105th in total offense isn’t the right wagering decision. Bowling Green QB Matt Schilz and his 28 TD passes from last year could make this a game for a half. Florida 37, Bowling Green 15
Murray State at Florida State, NO LINE
Joe: The Seminoles’ youngsters along the offensive line have a few weeks to work on their chemistry. FSU 45, Murray State 7
Pro: Seminole RB’s Devonta Freeman and Chris Thompson are ready to roll if revamped offensive line comes together and QB EJ Manuel stays healthy. Florida State 49, Murray State 3
Michigan vs. Alabama at Arlington, Texas, Alabama by 13 ½
Joe: Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson already has plenty of supporters in South Florida but his fan club would grow exponentially with a victory against Alabama and coach Nick Saban. Sorry, not happening. Alabama 31, Michigan 24
Pro: Michigan QB Denard Robinson’s Heisman campaign will soar or swoon vs possibly the best defense in college football. I’ll back Nick Saban’s "D" as Robinson threw 15 interceptions last year vs. a schedule that featured only three ranked opponents. Alabama 31, Michigan 14