For the second consecutive week, Joe and the Pro finished with identical records both straight up and against the spread.
For Joe, the Herald’s national college football columnist, that’s great news. He can see the sweat forming on the Pro’s forehead as the second half of the season gets underway. That said, we have all the faith in the world that Joe will crash and burn in due time and the Pro, Lee Sterling of ParamountSports.com, will rise above the fray. Both Joe and the Pro went 6-2 straight up and 5-3 against the spread last week.
For the season, the Pro is 40-16 straight up and 27-24 against the spread. Joe vs. the Pro is in its third season and the Pro has finished each season in the black against the spread. The same cannot be said for Joe, but he’s hanging on this season, 41-15 straight up and 24-27 against the spread.
This week’s picks:
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Florida State at Miami (FSU by 20 ½)
Joe: Double dimes is such a big number for a rivalry game, especially when the home team is the underdog. I’ve got to go with the Canes to cover here. FSU 35, UM 20
Pro: The good news is Miami’s defense after giving up 486 total yards to North Carolina moved up from No. 118 to No. 117. The bad news is without a healthy Stephen Morris Canes have no shot. FSU 45, Miami 17
South Carolina at Florida (UF by 3 ½)
Joe: Steve Spurrier held running back Marcus Lattimore out of practice Wednesday with a bruised hip. Gators’ stellar defense gets the job done. UF 21, South Carolina 17
Pro: After facing Georgia and LSU in back-to-back weeks I’m not sure Gamecocks have anything left in the tank. Favorite 10-2 ATS L12 South Carolina games also a strong trend that can’t be ignored. UF 27, South Carolina 17
South Florida at Louisville (Louisville by 6 ½)
Joe: The Bulls are reeling, losers of four straight. Does South Florida’s bye week mean anything after a loss to Temple? Nope. Louisville 34, South Florida 24
Pro: Both of these teams seem to play up or down to the level of their competition. Bulls QB B.J. Daniels plays his best when very little is expected of him. Louisville 31, South Florida 27
Central Florida at Memphis (UCF by 21 ½)
Joe: The Knights’ gutsy performance in Hattiesburg, Miss., last week was a thing of beauty. Winning at Memphis won’t be as difficult, but still, 21 ½ points seems a bit much. UCF 38, Memphis 18
Pro: Last week, Memphis’ “No Cover” defense made East Carolina QB Shane Carden look like Dan Marino. Expect similar result to last year when Knights won 41-0 and held a 28-6 first down edge. UCF 41, Memphis 13
Florida International at Troy (Troy by 7)
Joe: The Golden Panthers’ defense is in complete disarray. This is a down year for the Trojans but they’ll cover at home. Troy 31, FIU 21
Pro: With starting Troy QB Corey Robinson likely out, the drop-off to the No. 2 QB is steep. FIU backfield situation better than two weeks ago with the return of starting QB Jake Medlock and RB Kedrick Rhodes. FIU 35, Troy 30
Florida Atlantic at South Alabama (USA by 3 ½)
Joe: The South Alabama Jaguars, one of the newest football programs in the country, are in their first season in the Sun Belt. If FAU loses this game…man. FAU 25, South Alabama 21
Pro: Neither team has defeated a Div. I opponent. Jaguars scored only 10 & 9 points versus Troy and Nichols State and can’t be trusted in the favorite role. South Alabama 23, FAU 21
Alabama at Tennessee (Alabama by 20)
Joe: The Third Saturday in October is here and Alabama still hasn’t played a team worthy to be on the same field. Nothing changes this week. Alabama 35, Tennessee 20
Pro: Anyone betting against the Bama Express when their QB has 12 TD passes and 0 interceptions and a defense that has held every opponent under 270 total yards is downright foolish. Alabama 42, Tennessee 14
LSU at Texas A&M (LSU by 3 ½)
Joe: The Tigers’ first trip to Kyle Field will be a festive occasion. LSU’s rugged and speedy defense will chew up the Aggies and spoil the day. LSU 28, Texas A&M 27
Pro: One of these teams plays defense and it ain’t the Aggies. With an 0-6 SU and ATS mark versus SEC opponents dating back to Mike Sherman era the boys in College Station aren’t ready for “Big Boy Football” just yet. LSU 31, Texas A&M 20
Joe vs. The Pro is a weekly college football feature that analyzes games and predicts the outcome against the spread. Sterling, a nationally respected numbers man, has been analyzing spreads for more than 20 years. Joe analyzes spreads in less than 20 seconds.