My 3 Bold Predictions for the AAC
The league formerly known as the Big East is definitely the most awkward conference in college football. The AAC is like a Sunday afternoon potluck lunch at the local baptist church. You just never know what you’re going to get. Its teams range from Dallas, TX to Tampa, FL to Storrs, CT. The only purpose of this conference seems to be confuse the heck out of everyone. And worst of all, they’re the awkward “best Group of 5 conference, but not good enough to be apart of the Power 5 conferences.” Soon, the Big 12 might be absorbing two of it’s best teams (Houston & Cincinnati). If that happens it would put the AAC behind the Mountain West by quite a bit. Enough with the awkward conference banter, let’s talk predictions.
USF will win the AAC
Remember back in 2007 when Jim Leavitt was coaching at USF and QB Matt Grothe led the Bulls to their highest ranking ever at #2. Yeah, that seems like forever ago because the program took a nosedive after Jim Leavitt’s controversial firing following the 2009 season. USF went from nationally relevant to winning two games a year in the blink of an eye, but Willie Taggart has slowly built the program back to formidable. I believe his 4th year with the Bulls is his breakout year and USF takes the college football world by storm again. They will have an experienced and talented backfield with QB Quinton Flowers and RB Marlon Mack both returning. Their D will be very physical as they finished only behind Houston with the most sacks in the AAC. Their conference schedule will be tough as they have to travel to Cincy, Temple and Memphis, but I think Taggart has the players this year that to get past a schedule like that. If you see USF on TV this season, I promise you won’t want to turn the channel.
Memphis will not make a bowl game
In less than 3 months Memphis went from being the trendy non-Power 5 to losing two program-changers, HC Justin Fuente and QB Paxton Lynch. Their new HC, Mike Norvell, was previously employed by Arizona State as the RB coach. I think he will help keep Fuente’s high powered offense afloat, but not without some growing pains. They will have to implement new JUCO QB, Riley Ferguson and lose top receiver Mose Frazier. Luckily for Ferguson, Memphis does have 4 of it’s 5 O-lineman returning, which should help in his transition. Ultimately, teams will know that Memphis is going to be in an unannounced re-building year and they will be giving the Tigers their best shot week in and week out.
Tulsa finishes Top 5 nationally in YPG
Last season, Tulsa hinted at the resurgence of their offense, thus causing Golden Hurrican fans to reminisce of 2008 and 2009 when they led the nation in YPG. QB Dane Evans threw for 4,300+ yds and D’Angelo Brewer will contend for all-conference honors at RB. Oh and don’t forget their 3-headed monster at WR (Josh Atkinson, Keevan Lucas, and Justin Hobbs). With all of this fire power returning on offense, I see Tulsa returning to their glory days and raking in lots and lots of yards. They will be involved in numerous shootouts this year making them be one of my must watch group of 5 teams. Don’t miss out on the fun.
That about wraps it up for the AAC. It may be an awkward conference, but I promise watching them this year will be the most fun you’ve ever had at a metaphorical potluck lunch. Thanks for reading!