Football forecast: UCF heads to Pitt, Tennessee battles Florida in the Swamp

The UCF Knights travel north to take on Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Last week I mentioned that a wise old football coach once told me that on a week-to-week basis, no NFL team is as bad as they look or as good as they look the week before.  

I used that logic to say New England would win, but not cover the 18-point spread against the Dolphins.  Ugh, bad idea.

Miami was horrible, is horrible and will remain horrible, so I will not make that same mistake when they play the Cowboys this week. So let’s get after this week….

•COLLEGES

 Central Florida (-10) at Pittsburgh

This could be a real trap game for the Knights, winners of 28 of their last 29 and 25 straight regular season games.  Pitt has some talent, but they are coming off a very emotional loss to arch-rival Penn State.  Will take UCF to win the game but feel this one may be closer than the spread.   Pick:  UCF 30, Pitt 21

 Central Michigan at Miami (-29)

Canes rolled against an over-matched opponent last week and see more of the same this week.  

Pick: Miami 45, Central Michigan 10

 Tennessee at Florida (-12.5)

With Felipe Franks out, this spread seems a little big, but Gators have the talent and home field advantage to roll.  

Pick:  Florida 35, Tennessee 14.

Auburn at Texas A&M (-2.5)

In his second year at Texas A&M, Jimbo Fisher was brought in to not only compete, but to beat the upper echelon teams in the SEC.  This is the type of game that falls into that category. Taking the Aggies in a nail-biter to beat the Tigers.  

Pick:  Texas A&M 21, Auburn 17

Louisville at Florida State (-8)

Four years ago, this may have been a premiere “must-see” game in the ACC. Both teams came close to rock bottom last year and both are trying to fight their way back to respectability. I think FSU may have the edge at home but no confidence they will cover.   

Pick:  Florida State 31, Louisville 28

Notre Dame at Georgia (-12.5)

This one went down to the wire last year in South Bend, and although Notre Dame lost more in the personnel department than Georgia did, this point spread seems a little high to me.  If the Fighting Irish can keep it close at half, it could come down to the wire.  Still, I like the Dawgs at home.  

Pick: Georgia 28, Notre Dame 17.

•THE PROS

 Miami at Dallas (-16.5)

Dallas has looked great in beating the Giants and Cowboys early; while the Fish have been outscored 102-10 in two home games.  No how, no way and no chance this one is competitive.   

Pick:  Dallas 45, Miami 3

 New York Jets at New England (-13)

The defending Super Bowl Champions actually look better this year than last, especially on defense.  Brady and company have outscored opponents 76-3. Jets are arguably better than both of New England’s first two opponents, but lay the points at home given the fact New York has a ton of injuries and is already playing their third sting quarterback.  

Pick: New England 35, New York 10.

 New York Giants at Tampa Bay (-5)

The Bucs find themselves at 1-1 following a surprising win at Carolina last Thursday night. Three extra days of rest and home field advantage might be enough for Tampa Bay to get to 2-1 but it should be a close game.   In a take the points game…  

Pick:  Tampa Bay 24, New York 21

SEASON SCOREBOARD

A stellar 8-1 week in picking winner (.888 winning percentage) and a winning week against the spread (5-4)   Season totals:  22-6 straight up (.786); 14-13-1 (.518) against the spread.