College football: Joe vs. Pro, Week 9

Each week has been a different type of test for Jameis Winston, Florida State’s redshirt freshman quarterback who has captured the hearts of Seminoles fans. This week, Winston has had to deal with the full onslaught of the national hype machine while also preparing for N.C. State. National hype is a corruptible thing. Just look at Joe’s picks for an example of what happens when success clouds one’s perspective. Joe, the Miami Herald’s college football columnist, had his best week ever against the spread a month ago, but ever since has lost big time. Last week, he went 2-6 against the spread and 2-6 straight up. The Pro, Lee Sterling of, went 4-4 against the spread last week and 3-5 straight up. The Pro is 41-21-2 against the spread this season and 45-19 straight up. Joe is 33-29-2 against the spread and 46-18 straight up. On to the picks!

Connecticut at UCF (UCF by 23)

Joe’s pick: UCF is carrying the banner for the new American Athletic Conference after last week’s upset of Louisville. Calling for a letdown game. UCF 25, Connecticut 21

Pro’s pick: Although UCF is the front-runner for the American Athletic Conference after its upset, it has not scored above 38 points in any game and that includes patsies Akron and FIU. UCF 37 Connecticut 17

Duke at Virginia Tech (Virginia Tech by 13 1/2

Joe’s pick: The Hokies’ offense has lacked consistency during its six-game winning streak. Virginia Tech 24, Duke 17

Pro’s pick: With QB Anthony Boone healthy again, the 5-2 Blue Devils believe they can play with anyone. Well, let’s not get carried away — almost anyone that isn’t FSU, Clemson or Miami in their conference. Virginia Tech 30, Duke 21

FAU at Auburn (Auburn by 24 1/2)

Joe’s pick: Classic letdown scenario for an Auburn team that probably thinks it is actually deserving of that inflated No.11 ranking in the AP poll. Auburn 31, FAU 25

Pro’s pick: The combination of Jaquez Johnson’s 346 yards rushing for the Owls and the Tigers still celebrating their Texas A&M upset keeps the game close for at least three quarters. Auburn 38, FAU 20

Wake Forest at Miami (Miami by 23)

Joe’s pick: Canes celebrate end of NCAA saga with a cathartic beat-down. Miami 35, Wake Forest 10

Pro’s pick: The number jumped up from -21 within an hour after the news broke Tuesday that the Canes got their get-out-of-jail-free card from the NCAA. Canes defense is too quick for plodding Demon Deacons offense. Miami 45, Wake Forest 13

North Carolina State at Florida State (Florida State by 32)

Joe’s pick: This isn’t a revenge game for Jameis Winston, but his teammates will clue him in. Florida State 52, N.C. State 13

Pro’s pick: Wolfpack hopes Noles are looking ahead to showdown against Canes next weekend. Return of QB Brandon Mitchell might be enough for N.C. State to sneak under a line moving up each time ESPN shows the highlights of FSU’s big win last Saturday. Florida State 41, N.C. State 14

Louisiana Tech at FIU (Louisiana Tech by 5 1/2)

Joe ’s pick: Panthers are trending in the right direction. With a week to prepare, FIU takes an important step. FIU 28, Louisiana Tech 25

Pro’s pick: If someone offers you free tickets to this game, make sure the offer includes take out at Joe’s. I’d rather go watch a Pop Warner game than these two bottom-feeders. FIU 26, Louisiana Tech 24

South Carolina at Missouri (Missouri by 3)

Joe’s pick: Gamecocks throw ice water on the Tigers and wake Mizzou up from its dream. South Carolina 35, Missouri 28

Pro’s pick: Tigers offense has totaled 200 or more yards passing and rushing in five of their seven wins. Gamecocks are fading down the stretch without their starting QB Connor Shaw and face their third consecutive road game. Missouri 34, South Carolina 24

Louisville at South Florida (Louisville by 20)

Joe’s pick: The season isn’t over for Louisville, and Teddy Bridgewater has plenty left to prove to NFL scouts. Louisville 52, South Florida 17

Pro’s pick: The Cardinals defense should bounce back from one bad half of football. Their offense doubles up pedestrian Bulls offense in total yards per pass attempt. Louisville 45, South Florida 10