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Joe vs. the Pro: College football Week 1

This is the fifth season of Joe vs. the Pro, and each season the Pro, Lee Sterling of ParamountSports.com, has provided readers with educated predictions on college football games. Joe Goodman, on the other hand, has elevated himself from consistent stooge to part-time doofus. The Pro has defeated Joe four years running, and he has done this through sound methods of research such as traveling to spring games across the country and breaking down film with the vigor of an unpaid graduate assistant at Division II Southeastern Oklahoma State. Joe uses calculus to predict games. And by “calculus,” we mean hunches, gut instincts and which college town has the best craft beer. To the picks!

Penn State vs. Central Florida (Dublin, Ireland), UCF by 2

Joe: Penn State found an excellent replacement for coach Bill O’Brien in former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, and State fans will represent America well in Dublin. Penn State 33, Central Florida 21

Pro: It could have been O’Brien vs. O’Leary in Dublin, but O’Brien moved on to coach the Houston Texans. Knights, after losing QB Blake Bortles and three OL, need time to adjust. Penn State 28, Central Florida 20

Florida Atlantic at Nebraska, Nebraska by 21.5

Joe: Pelinis get their revenge. Nebraska 42, FAU 15

Pro: This Cornhusker team has flaws at QB, right side of the OL and two new CBs. Owls are an amazing 11-2 ATS as a road dog last two years and new HC Charlie Partridge is a coach that knows how to slow down flawed offenses. Nebraska 35, FAU 17

West Virginia vs. Alabama (Atlanta, Ga.), Alabama by 26

Joe: Nick Saban’s offense will focus on the proven thing early on, and that’s running back T.J. Yeldon. Bama’s ground game should keep this one under control from start to finish, but a new quarterback for the Tide could limit scoring overall. Alabama 28, West Virginia 21

Pro: Steadying force of QB Clint Trickett and Pitt transfer RB Rushel Shell should upgrade offense. Big DL averaging 288 pounds could be enough to keep a Nick Saban still not sure of which QB to play from controlling the line of scrimmage and running up the score. Alabama 38, West Virginia 20

Arkansas at Auburn, Auburn by 20.5

Joe: Early suspension of Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall shouldn’t be a problem, but some nasty weather could slow the Tigers’ spread offense. Meanwhile, Arkansas’ defense gave up over 400 yards of offense per game last year. Auburn 35, Arkansas 28

Pro: The Tiger offense might not be close to midseason form as QB Nick Marshall won’t start the game and RB Trey Mason was lost to graduation. Hogs are a sleeper team this year with two super backs, Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams. Auburn 34, Arkansas 24

Clemson at Georgia, Georgia by 7.5

Joe: Talent is equal, but experience and home-field advantage favor the Bulldogs. Georgia 24, Clemson 20

Pro: Tigers had every break go their way in 11-2 season climaxed with a win over Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. This year the shoe is on the other foot. Bulldogs are at full strength while Tigers lost their star WRs, RB and QB. Revenge between the hedges! Georgia 34, Clemson 21

Idaho at Florida, Florida by 36

Joe: Pent-up frustrations for the Gators from last season’s complete meltdown should carry this one. Late kickoff and cooler temperatures means there’s a better opportunity for a blowout. Florida 45, Idaho 15

Pro: Going from a pro-style to hurry-up, no-huddle spread under new OC Kurt Roper should bring out the best in QB Jeff Driskel. Romper Room Special! Florida 51, Idaho 13

Florida State vs. Oklahoma State (Arlington, Texas), FSU by 17.5

Joe: National champs from previous year are 15-0 SU and 9-4 ATS in lined season openers. Cowboys were hit hard by graduation and return only eight starters. This will be a statement game for the Seminoles. Florida State 45, Oklahoma 17

Pro: Noles will have blowout on their minds in the first week of the playoff era. FSU 35, Oklahoma 17

Miami at Louisville, Louisville by 3.5

Joe: Program stability favors the Canes here as road dogs. Rookie quarterback shouldn’t be asked to do too much with mighty Duke Johnson behind him. Miami 28, Louisville 21

Pro: Canes season depends on how good freshman QB Brad Kaaya is. Will he be the reincarnation of Bernie Kosar/Ken Dorsey or more like Kyle Wright/Jacory Harris? My sources tell me he’s the real deal. Miami 26, Louisville 20

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