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FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2018, file photo, South Florida quarterback Blake Barnett is shown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Connecticut, in Tampa, Fla. No. 19 Wisconsin plays at South Florida on Friday, Aug. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2018, file photo, South Florida quarterback Blake Barnett is shown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Connecticut, in Tampa, Fla. No. 19 Wisconsin plays at South Florida on Friday, Aug. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)|Associated Press
NCAAF

AAC College Football Friday: Ben Geier picks Tulsa at Michigan St. and Wisconsin at South Florida

Games are Friday at 7 pm EDT.

Ben Geier

Ben Geier

Tulsa @ 18 Michigan St (-23.5), 7 pm EDT on FS1

Over the past couple of seasons, the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes have faced plenty of adversity. In 2016, they won ten games and had one of the best offenses in the country (42.5 PGG) but this off-season Coach Phillip Montgomery says the team spent a lot of time focusing on a defense which has given up a near 30 PPG since 2013. Junior running backs Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor II proved to be a two-headed monster in 2018, piling up 2,000 yards on the ground combined.

The Michigan St. Spartans, meanwhile, have been on the upswing since their miserable campaign of 2016. Coach Mark Dantonio has created one of the most fearsome defenses in the country, keeping teams under 20 ppg. They need the strong D because the O has struggled, averaging just over 25 PPG since 2015. Senior QB Brandon Lewerke looked like a former shell of himself in 2018 due to numerous injuries but Dantonio hopes we’ll be able to see the Lewerke who was able to throw for nearly 3,000 yards and rush for nearly 500 as a sophomore.

Lewerke can be a top quarterback in the Big Ten if he can be his former self. However, the offense has never been anything special. I expect them to win, but the spread is too wide to lay more than 3 TDs against Tulsa’s two-headed monster, which could prove to be an offensive powerhouse in the AAC.

Pick: Tulsa (+23.5)

19 Wisconsin @ USF (+12.5), 7 pm EDT on ESPN

USF coach Charlie Strong has a lot to prove in 2019. In 2018, the Bulls lost their final six games after having started the season 7-0. Redshirt Sophomore Randall St. Felix has filled the hole at the wide receiver position after losing Marques Valdes-Scantling to Green Bay in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Bulls relapsed on both the offense (38.2 PPG to 28.5 PPG) and the defense (23.5 PPG to 32 PPG).

The always tough Wisconsin Badgers haven’t had a losing season since 2001. Junior RB Jonathan Taylor is considered one of the favorites for the Heisman after averaging 2,000 yards the past two seasons. He's the focal point of the offense and considered to be a first-round NFL pick.

The Badgers have one of the premier defenses in college football which has held opponents under 20 PPG the last four years. The spotlight will be on Junior QB Jack Coan to see whether he can spread the field with his arm.

USF redshirt Senior RB Jordan Conkrite is the x-factor for the Bulls as he’s likely their MVP on offense but I’m expecting Taylor to torch the Bull’s D and cover the spread.

Pick: Wisconsin (-12.5)

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