Wisconsin Badgers predictions: Game 1 at South Florida

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Expectations for Wisconsin in 2019 pale in comparison to 2018, although perhaps that’s not the case for Jonathan Taylor, of whom much is anticipated.

The Badgers are still ranked in the preseason top 25, coming in at No. 19 (a far cry from last year’s No. 4), but have a number of questions, including at quarterback, linebacker, offensive line (outside of center), etc.

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But the expectation is that Wisconsin should win its opener, a rare road game against a non-Power 5 team — South Florida.

Well, not everyone thinks the Badgers will win, but it’s certainly a vast majority.

We’re back each week to give you all the picks we can find.

With all that being said, here’s this week’s predictions from around the web and Twitter:

The Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo: Wisconsin 31, South Florida 21.

Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 30, South Florida 16. “It will be a war of attrition for a bit, but Taylor and the Badgers will pull away early in the fourth. It might not be a scintillating win, but it’ll be effective.”

Bill Bender of The Sporting News: Wisconsin 38, South Florida 21. “The Badgers will play Jack Coan and Graham Mertz, and Jonathan Taylor will get off to a good start against the Bulls. South Florida is a solid first opponent, but the Badgers have won their last two openers against Group of 5 schools by an average of 40 points per game.”

Kevin McGuire of Athlon Sports: Wisconsin 34, South Florida 20. “Regardless of the heat, humidity or possibly inclement weather conditions, Wisconsin has a sizable advantage on the line of scrimmage, and that should be more than enough for the Badgers to weather the storm. Taylor should be able to rack up a good rushing total to begin his season on the right foot, and the Badgers should manage to return home with a decent victory.”

Kerry Miller of Bleacher Report: Wisconsin 42, South Florida 27. “South Florida had one of the worst rushing defenses last season, allowing more than five yards per carry and nearly 250 yards per game. Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor led the nation in rushing in 2018, and by a wide margin with 2,194 yards. This seems like a good place to point out that Taylor’s single-game career highs are 321 yards and three touchdowns. For now.”

Joe Vozzelli of the Champaign News-Gazette: Wisconsin 27, South Florida 19. “The Badgers — yours truly’s pick to win the Big Ten West — should ride Jonathan Taylor all the way to Indianapolis.”

Badgers All-Time Databases

Josh Slagter of MLive.com: Wisconsin 27, South Florida 17. “Jack Coan officially has been named the starting QB for the Badgers. The bigger focus will be how an inexperienced offensive line is at opening up holes for All-American RB Jonathan Taylor. Charlie Strong is entering his third season at South Florida. The Bulls knocked off Georgia Tech and Illinois early in 2018, before fading down the stretch and losing their last six games. QB Blake Barnett is one of nine starters back on offense for South Florida, so maybe this road opener gets a little tricky for Wisconsin.”

Joe Broback of Champions Insiders: Wisconsin 34, South Florida 20. “USF enters a vital year for their head coach, and that could influence their intensity in this game. It’s a big game for them, but stopping Taylor and the Badgers offense remains hard for anyone. The Badgers are working with a new quarterback, so the Bulls can stack the box and force Wisconsin to beat them through the air. They won’t be the first to try the strategy, and also won’t be the first to struggle with it.”

Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press: Wisconsin 34, South Florida 20.

The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel: Wisconsin 27, South Florida 24.

J. Bradley McCullough of the Los Angeles Times picks a winner for every Power 5 team’s 2019 schedule. For this one, he has Wisconsin losing to South Florida.

Bill Connelly of ESPN: His S&P+ projection has it Wisconsin 40, South Florida 23.

All three at The Oregonian/OregonLive.com pick Wisconsin to win. The scores: Ken Goe, 28-20; Sean Meagher, 38-24; Joel Odom, 31-20.

All three at the Norman Transcript have Wisconsin winning. The scores: Tyler Palmateer, 45-28; Clay Horning, 35-31; Joe Buettner, 41-21.

Six of seven CBSSports.com analysts think Wisconsin will win (Dennis Dodd is the lone dissenter) but only three of seven have the Badgers covering an 13 1/2-point spread.

All three Athlon Sports analysts are picking Wisconsin to win.

All six analysts at USAToday.com pick Wisconsin to win.

All nine analysts for the Dallas Morning News have Wisconsin winning but all nine think the Badgers won’t cover a 13 1/2-point spread.

The four writers over at Last Word on College Football all pick the Badgers to win. The tally: Lukas Weese, 33-17; John Bava, 30-21; Yesh Ginsburg, 35-21; Steen Kirby, 27-24.