Sports

Joe vs. The Pro: Week 2

There are some enormous spreads in college football this week, which is another way of saying there is plenty of money to be made betting on terrible games. This being Joe vs. Pro — a social experiment of immense cultural significance — we’re going to avoid those gimmies and focus on difficult matchups of national importance. Of course, we still have to pick games involving FIU, and if we’ve learned anything about this college football season so far, it’s to never take the Panthers, regardless of the line.

Joseph Goodman, the Miami Herald’s college football columnist, and Lee Sterling of ParamountSports.com took Maryland against FIU last week and hit it big. Of course, Sterling did more hitting in Week 1. The Pro went 6-2 against the spread and 7-1 straight up. Goodman was a respectable 4-4 against the spread and 6-2 straight up. On to this week’s picks:

UCF at FIU, UCF by 24 (Friday)

Joe’s pick Considering FIU’s defense allowed 399 yards of offense in the first half last week, we’re going with quarterback Blake Bortles and the Knights here. UCF 39, FIU 14
Pro’s pick The Panthers lost 43-10 last week to Maryland, and it would have been worse if the Terrapins kept their starters in the game after the third quarter. The only hope Ron Turner’s team has is that the Knights sit their starters after the first quarter. UCF 38, FIU 7

Florida at Miami, UF by 3

Joe’s pick Do you pick the team with Duke Johnson or Jeff Driskel? Put that way, there’s really nothing else to consider. UM 21, UF 17
Pro’s pick If Florida had a better passing attack, it would get the nod here. Miami’s run defense is much improved, as it plays 10 defensive linemen, and its defensive linemen and linebackers are much bigger, faster and stronger than last year. Canes get their signature win outright. UM 27, UF 24

South Florida at Michigan State, Michigan State by 23 1/2

Joe’s pick Get on the buss with Coach “T”? Bulls coach Willie Taggart is lucky USF didn’t put him on the first bus out of town after last week’s 32-point loss to FCS powerhouse McNeese State. Michigan State 45, USF 14
Pro’s pick USF’s disturbing 53-21 home loss to an FCS opponent will scare away most people, but not me. Bulls wide receivers dropped six passes last week against McNeese State and only scored one offensive touchdown. New USF coach Willie Taggart 11-1 as a dog at Western Kentucky signals a buy sign. Michigan State 30, USF 13

South Carolina at Georgia, Georgia by 3 1/2

Joe’s pick Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier called Bulldogs fans soft before their biggest home game of the season. Spurdogs 27, Bulldogs 24 South Carolina 27, Georgia 24
Pro’s pick Gamecocks throttled Bulldogs last year 35-7. Not enough has changed for me to back the Bulldogs. Aaron Murray is just 1-10 straight up against top-10 teams, and his defense looked gassed at the end of the game last week against Clemson. South Carolina 27, Georgia 21

Oregon at Virginia, Oregon by 22

Joe’s pick Virginia somehow defeated BYU despite averaging 3.1 yards per play. Oregon won’t be so forgiving. Oregon 45, Virginia 20
Pro’s pick UVA is not as talented as Oregon but is built the same way as Stanford, with the emphasis on the running game. And Stanford has upset Oregon two of the past four years. The Ducks are just 1-4 against the spread in their first road games of the year. Oregon 38, Virginia 20

Texas at BYU, Texas by 71/2

Joe’s pick Completely ignore Texas’ blowout of New Mexico State. LaVell Edwards Stadium is a difficult place to open a season. Texas 32, BYU 28
Pro’s pick Laying more than a touchdown with Texas on the road against a team with a top-five defense is a recipe for disaster. Cougars offense should get boost from the return of wide receiver Cody Hoffman, and dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill should be more on target than last week, when he was just 13 of 40. BYU 26, Texas 24

Notre Dame at Michigan, Michigan by 3 1/2

Joe’s pick Just another rivalry game to pile on the scrapheap of history thanks to college football realignment and TV money. Michigan 28, Notre Dame 20
Pro’s pick Michigan going back to smash-mouth football on offense but Notre Dame is the wrong opponent to get into a street fight in the trenches with. Dog is 14-3 against the spread in the series and this game could come down to the last play. Notre Dame 24, Michigan 20

Washington State at Southern Cal, Southern Cal by 15 1/2

Joe’s pick USC coach Lane Kiffin has been playing head games with his own quarterbacks. Bad idea. Southern Cal 33, Washington State 20
Pro’s pick Trojans are playing musical chairs at quarterback, and on defense one starting cornerback is out for this game and another is a game-time decision. Playing a passing team like Mike Leach’s bunch that threw the ball 65 times last week, you need all hands on deck. Southern Cal 33, Washington State 24
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