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Maryland running back Anthony McFarland Jr. (5) is stopped short of the goal line by Temple defensive end Zack Mesday, left, and linebacker Shaun Bradley, right, during the second half of an NCAA college football, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Philadelphia. Temple won 20-17. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Maryland running back Anthony McFarland Jr. (5) is stopped short of the goal line by Temple defensive end Zack Mesday, left, and linebacker Shaun Bradley, right, during the second half of an NCAA college football, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Philadelphia. Temple won 20-17. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)|Associated Press
NCAAF

AAC College Football: Geier picks Temple at Buffalo, UCF at Pitt, SMU at TCU

Games are Saturday at 3:30 pm EDT.

Ben Geier

Ben Geier

15 UCF @ Pitt (+11.5), 3:30 pm EDT on ABC

The UCF Knights silenced doubters after a dominating performance over Stanford. Sadly, the polls still don't give the Knights the respect they deserve. This week they'll have another chance to boost their resume against a P5 opponent Pitt.

Coach Josh Heupel has stated that he won't name a starting quarterback. The clear answer is freshman Dillion Gabriel who was named "Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week" for his performance against Stanford. Gabriel threw for 347 YDs and 4 TDs. They'll face a stingy Pitt defense (19 PPG) which has played toe-to-toe with ranked opponents Penn State and Virginia.

Can Pitt win? No, despite their defense likely being better than Stanford's. The UCF offense is still too much while Pitt's is abysmal. Pitt should be able to keep the game close for about a half. However, look for UCF to pull ahead late and not look back.

Defensive coordinator Randy Shannon will have his defense prepped for Pitt's passing attack.

Pick: UCF (-11.5)

SMU @ 25 TCU (-9.5), 3:30 pm EDT on FS1

The TCU Horned Frogs are coming off a signature victory after defeating Purdue on the road. This week they'll face a familiar opponent in quarterback, and Texas transfer, Shane Buchele. Buchele couldn't beat TCU in his two starts at Texas and that is not likely to change.

SMU Coach Sonny Dykes should be thrilled with the way his offense has started the season. They're averaging 44.3 PPG and are currently 3-0. Buchele has passed for 871 yards and has found himself a top receiver in junior Reggie Roberson, who has twenty-one receptions. The defense was a disaster in the past but is holding its own surrendering 24.7 PPG.

SMU will face it's third in-state rivalry game in a row this week. There hasn't been a ton of traveling for them having gone up against North Texas and Texas State. I think the direction of the game could go either way whether it's high or low scoring. I expect that TCU will run the table regardless of the outcome.

They're just the more well-rounded team with a growing offense.

Pick: TCU (-9.5)

Temple @ Buffalo (+13.5), 3:30 pm EDT on ESPNU

The Buffalo Bulls have struggled early this season after facing back-to-back losses on the road to Penn State and Liberty. However, their road trip has ended and they look to bounce back against the Temple Owls.

After the Bulls lost quarterback Tyree Jackson to the NFL they've had to rely on the running game. Sophomore running backs Kevin Marks and Jaret Patterson have a combined for 500 yards rushing on 100 attempts. Coach Lance Leipold stated that his team needs to improve on both sides of the ball (22.7 PPG (100th), 30.0 OPG (95th)). ATS the Bulls are 1-2 in their non-conference matchups this season.

After defeating a ranked Maryland team last week at home, Temple Coach Rod Carey is off to a hot start with the Owls. Sophomore Jadan Blue (WR) had a monster game catching five passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. However, the more impressive statistic was the four sacks the Temple defense had over a Maryland offense which was averaging 70 PPG. This will be Temple's first road game.

Can Temple continue its momentum? I believe so and they could play spoiler to UCF having another undefeated regular season. But, covering two touchdowns is a lot to ask for a team that hasn't played on the road yet.

Pick: Buffalo (+13.5)

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