2014 American Athletic Conference Football Preview


The American Athletic Conference came into existence last year by taking the remnants of the Big East and paring them with the higher profile programs of Conference USA. The AAC will be adding additional members beyond this point as Navy joins the conference for football next year.

The first year of the Conference’s existence had some excitement as the Central Florida Knights took advantage of the last automatic bid to the BCS. They defeated preseason favorite Louisville (now ACC) Cardinals and then went on to upset the Baylor Bears in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
The League’s membership this year is 11 teams, and all of them are familiar faces in the middle tier of college football.

Who Holds The Belt: University of Central Florida Knights

The Knights surprised many last season by taking the conference in their first year coming over from Conference USA. Their trigger man Blake Bortles was the first quarterback taken in the 2014 NFL Draft by the somewhat local Jacksonville Jaguars. Coach George O’ Leary has always been respected for what he does on the field. This team not only took the first American Athletic Conference football title, but also beat the highly regarded Baylor Bears in the Fiesta Bowl.

Game of Thrones:

There are four schools who could win the conference. They are Cincinnati, Central Florida, Houston, and East Carolina. Which one does will rely on schedule strength, as the 11 man AAC is too big for every school to play every other school in conference. It is helpful to Cincinnati and UCF that they do not play each other.

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  • UCF will take a step back this year, as it will be hard to replace Bortles. Cincinnati will likely have talent, but scheme has always been the downfall of Coach Tommy Tuberville in his previous stops. Houston has an established scheme, but are perhaps a year away talent wise. The best combination of these two factors is arguably the ECU Pirates.

    Nov 9, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Tommy Tuberville leads his team onto the field before the game against the Southern Methodist Mustangs at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

    Predicted Finish (Conference Records Only)

    1.Cincinnati Bearcats: (8-0)
    2.East Carolina Pirates: (7-1) tie
    3.Houston Cougars: (7-1) tie
    4.Central Florida Knights: (6-2)
    5.Southern Methodist Mustangs: (4-4)
    6.Memphis Tigers: (4-4)
    7.South Florida Golden Bulls: (3-5)
    8.Connecticut Huskies (2-6)
    9.Temple Owls (2-6)
    10.Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-7)
    11.Tulane Green Wave (0-8)

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