Joe vs. The Pro: Week 4

The universe of Joe vs. the Pro is bordering on the absurd as we rocket through deep space and into Week 4 of the college football season. At this point on the celestial calendar, Joseph Goodman, the Miami Herald’s college football columnist and resident space cadet, is usually staring down the event horizon of a black hole when it comes to picking games. Far from the point of no return, Joe is 19-5 straight up this season and 14-10 against the spread after yet another week of heavenly luck at the bookies. He went a stunning 7-1 straight up in Week 3, picking Central Florida and Ole Miss in upset specials. Meanwhile, the Pro, Lee Sterling of, continues to pace himself as one of the nation’s lead authorities on college football odds making. The Pro went 4-4 straight up last week but, more importantly, was 6-2 against the spread to improve his overall records to 16-8 straight up and 17-7 against the spread. On to the picks!

FIU at Louisville, Louisville by 41 1/2

Joe’s pick The stage is set for a colossal blowout of mythical proportions. Louisville 75, FIU 7
Pro’s pick Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has 10 touchdown passes with just one interception while completing 70.5 percent of his passes. Meanwhile, the Panthers might start a backup quarterback. Cardinals need to start routing opponents to move up in the BCS pecking order. Louisville 52, FIU 7

Tennessee at Florida, Florida by 17

Joe’s pick The Gators don’t appear to be 17 points better than anyone, especially a division rival. I’m ignoring, of course, that lopsided score between Oregon and Tennessee last week … and so should you. Florida 18, Tennessee 15
Pro’s pick Tennessee has real weaknesses at quarterback, the defensive line and defensive backfield. With an extra week to prepare, Gators should pound a defense that is allowing 46 points per game their past five road games. Florida 37, Tennessee 14

Marshall at Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech by 9 1/2

Joe’s pick The noon start in Blacksburg favors Marshall, which had four turnovers in last week’s loss to Ohio. The Hokies have had their own problems on offense. Virginia Tech 21, Marshall 14
Pro’s pick Marshall was uncharacteristically the Blundering Herd last week, coughing up three fumbles and an interception in their road loss to Ohio University. Hokies offense can’t get out of its own way and its kicker missed another two field goal attempts last week. Game goes down to the wire. Virginia Tech 27, Marshall 23

North Carolina at Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech by 9 1/2

Joe’s pick Everyone loves the Rambling Wreck and I don’t get it. So what if Georgia Tech is third nationally in scoring (54.0 points per game) and first nationally in points allowed (7.0 ppg.)? They’ve played Elon and Duke. Rolling the dice on an upset here. North Carolina 25, Georgia Tech 23
Pro’s pick Usually, a bye helps a team facing the triple-option based Yellow Jackets offense, but not last year as the Tar Heels defense was tagged for 68 points. Host is 15-4 against the spread in the past 19 games against North Carolina. Georgia Tech 38, North Carolina 27

Michigan State at Notre Dame, Notre Dame by 7

Joe’s pick Notre Dame is the battle-tested team at this point, but a touchdown in this rivalry seems like a few points too many. Notre Dame 25, Michigan State 21
Pro’s pick Not much bite in the Golden Domers’ defense this season with four players off to the NFL. Spartans have zero offense but defense hasn’t allowed 100 rushing yards or 200 passing yards in their first three games. First team to two touchdowns wins. Notre Dame 14, Michigan State 13

Arizona State at Stanford, Stanford by 7

Joe’s pick Arizona State should have better players. Why can’t this team recruit? Stanford 24, Arizona State 14
Pro’s pick Unlike most Pac 12 schools, Stanford can lace ’em up and play defense. The Cardinal held Oregon to 14 points last season on the road in an OT win over a high-powered offense, and has a DL that’s downright disruptive and should harass Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly all night long. Stanford 38, Arizona State 21

Middle Tennessee State at Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee State by 4

Joe’s pick Has all the makings of a typical game between Conference USA opponents. In other words, things could get downright wacky. Florida Atlantic 31, Middle Tennessee State 28
Pro’s pick Nebraska sure misses former defensive coordinator and Owls head coach Carl Pelini. He has the Owls defense on the right track. Problem is the offense has scored only three touchdowns this season. Middle Tennessee State 27, Florida Atlantic 20

Auburn at LSU, LSU by 17 1/2

Joe’s pick A classic example of the betting public discounting the bunker mentality of the Southeastern Conference. Auburn believes in itself again, and the battle of Tigers is usually a good one. LSU 17, Auburn 13
Pro’s pick Auburn’s improvement from 3-9 last season to a 3-0 start can be attributed to new coach Gus Malzahn, transfer quarterback Nick Marshall, running back Corey Grant and freshman defensive tackle Montravius Adams. The talent gap between the teams isn’t very large. LSU 31, Auburn 23