Football

College football Week 9: Joe vs. Pro

Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott (15) runs across the field during a game against Auburn in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct 11, 2014.
Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott (15) runs across the field during a game against Auburn in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct 11, 2014. AP

South Florida at Cincinnati, Cincinnati by 11

Joe

The Bulls’ comeback last week proved on thing: Tulsa’s defense is as bad as we all thought it was. Still, there is a growing confidence about South Florida that can’t be denied. It’s enough to keep this one closer than expected. Cincinnati 35, South Florida 28

Pro

Six of the past eight games in this series, the underdog has won outright. Bulls coach Willie Taggart is 17-4 as an away dog. This all points to an upset. South Florida 34, Cincinnati 31

South Carolina at Auburn, Auburn by 17.5

Joe

Auburn has had two weeks to prepare for the game and will be looking to make a statement. Auburn 40, South Carolina 20

Pro

The Tigers’ offense is lethal, but their defense is much improved as they give up eight points less per game than in 2013. Sometimes you have to lay it to play it. Auburn 45, South Carolina 20

Mississippi State at Kentucky, Mississippi State by 13.5

Joe

State was off last week, and something tells me they worked ball security. That should be enough here against Kentucky. Mississippi State 45, Kentucky 18

Pro

The Wildcats’ run defense was horrific last week, giving up 303 yards, and 183 yards earlier in the year to FCS opponent Tennessee-Martin. They could get run over by a Bulldogs running game that has rushed for plus-201 yards in all games this year. Mississippi State 42, Kentucky 21

Temple at Central Florida, UCF by 7

Joe

Take away that third quarter against BYU a few weeks ago, and the Knights have had one of the best defenses in the country. UCF 28, Temple 13

Pro

UCF makes it tough to lay a TD when you average less than 300 total yards on offense per game. The Owls’ 31-10 loss last week is deceiving as they fumbled on the 1-yard line and gave up a pick six. UCF 28, Temple 24

Michigan at Michigan State, Michigan State by 17

Joe

Shutting out Penn State in the second half was a huge confidence booster for the Wolverines. This one should be close entering the fourth quarter. Michigan State 25, Michigan 21

Pro

Hard to believe, but Wolverine D rated just one spot behind the No.9-rated Spartan D. Experienced signal-caller Devin Gardner has what it takes to keep this rivalry game close to the final whistle. Michigan State 26, Michigan 23

Ole Miss at LSU, Ole Miss by 3.5

Joe

I underestimated the Rebels last week. Not making the same mistake twice. Ole Miss 38, LSU 25

Pro

Ole Miss’ defense has faced much better offenses this year, and not one opponent has cracked the 20-point barrier. The Tigers were much better last year and got outgained by 137 total yards when the two teams matched up. Ole Miss 24, LSU 13

Florida Atlantic at Marshall, Marshall by 28

Joe

Every week is another statement game for the Thundering Herd. Marshall 42, FAU 13

Pro

Thundering Herd QB Rakeem Cato likes to do his best work against Florida schools. Facing a No.110-rated defense will make it easier for him to possibly throw for four touchdowns in a game for the 10th time in his career. Marshall 48, FAU 17

Ohio State at Penn State, Ohio State by 13.5

Joe

The Buckeyes have scored more than 50 points per game since their loss to Virginia Tech. This one seems like a no-brainer. Ohio State 45, Penn State 20

Pro

QB Christian Hackenberg better be ready to wing it 40-plus times because the Nittany Lions average a feeble 2.84 yards per rush. Ohio State 42, Penn State 16

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