College football: Joe vs. Pro, Week 11

Since allowing 42 points to Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, the Alabama Crimson Tide has outscored four Southeastern Conference opponents 121-10 in first three quarters of games. Nick Saban, who has been busy shooting down coaching rumors this week, has his team playing near-perfect football heading into its biggest game of the season. A 12-point spread against Les Miles and Louisiana State seems a bit much, but it’s a fair representation of the wide gulf between Alabama and the rest of the SEC this season.

Another wide gulf: the expertise of the Pro in analyzing matchups compared with resident Miami Herald novice picker Joe Goodman. For the Pro, Lee Sterling of, last week was a return to his normal winning ways. Sterling went 5-3 against the spread and 7-1 straight up. Joe managed to somehow break even against the spread (4-4) and went 6-2 straight up. Predictably, because he’s the Pro, Sterling is an amazing 48-29-3 against the spread this season and 57-23 straight up. Joe is 40-37-3 against the spread and 58-22 straight up. On to the picks!

North Carolina State at Duke, Duke by 9

Joe’s pick: With four consecutive victories entering this weekend, the Blue Devils are already bowl eligible. Everything else is just gravy. I have no idea why we’re picking this game. No one cares. Duke 38, North Carolina State 25

Pro’s pick: Both Wolfpack quarterbacks continue to struggle while Blue Devils QB Anthony Boone is 6-0 as a starter. Defense also doing its part the past three games, holding opponents to 13 PPG. Duke 34, North Carolina State 21

Florida State at Wake Forest, Florida State by 34 1/2

Joe’s pick: FSU quarterback Jameis Winston had a rare off game against the Canes and the Noles still won by 27 points. Florida State 52, Wake Forest 14

Pro’s pick: Wake Forest’s only weapon, WR Michael Campanaro, is out for this game. I bet he’s not too upset after seeing what FSU defense did to Duke Johnson and his teammates last week. Florida State 49, Wake Forest 10

Virginia Tech at Miami, Miami by 7

Joe’s pick: Canes are weakened without Duke Johnson, but Virginia Tech enters on a two-game losing streak to Duke and Boston College. Miami 28, Virginia Tech 12

Pro’s pick: Without Duke Johnson, the Canes will be forced to the air it out more often. That’s where the Hokies’ secondary and its 16 interceptions feasts on Stephen Morris’ propensity for throwing the ball to the other team. Virginia Tech 27, Miami 26

Vanderbilt at Florida, Florida by 9 1/2

Joe’s pick: Fans are used to leaving homecoming at UF by the third quarter, but they’ll have to stay until the end for this one. Florida 25, Vanderbilt 21

Pro’s pick: At 4-4 straight up, this is a must-win for the Gators just so they could possibly play in a low-level bowl game. As bad as the UF quarterback situation is, Vanderbilt’s two quarterbacks are worse. Florida 27, Vanderbilt 13

Nebraska at Michigan, Michigan by 7

Joe’s pick: No Hail Mary touchdown passes this week for the Cornhuskers. Michigan 31, Nebraska 21

Pro’s pick: Wolverines average 40 points per game and have the 14th-ranked run defense. The Cornhuskers’ claim to fame this year is that they had the best Hail Mary touchdown pass to win a game. Michigan 38, Nebraska 21

FIU at Middle Tennessee State, Middle Tennessee State by 18

Joe’s pick: In thick of Conference USA race, MTSU leaves no doubt. Middle Tennessee State 42, FIU 10

Pro’s pick: I’m not in love with FIU, but I’m not going to back a team that hasn’t beaten a Division I opponent by more than a touchdown this season. Middle Tennessee State 31, FIU 17

Houston at UCF, UCF by 10

Joe’s pick: Battle for first in American Athletic Conference is the Sunshine State’s game of the week in Florida. UCF 28, Houston 21

Pro’s pick: The only rush offense the Cougars have faced was BYU, and it gained 264 rushing yards and scored 47 points. UCF 40, Houston 27

LSU at Alabama, Alabama by 12

Joe’s pick: Tide’s SEC domination continues with rare rout of LSU. Alabama 35, LSU 10

Pro’s pick: To stop the Tide, your front seven had better be stout. Tigers giving up over 50 receiving yards more per game and Tide’s three-headed RB monster of T.J Yeldon, Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry runs wild. Alabama 38, LSU 20