as it's being called, has an uphill battle. Everywhere you look (or maybe just ESPN) there is no shortage of media and others talking down about the conference. It might be more of a perception problem than based on actual truths. The good news for The American is they get a chance early in the season to try and change how they are viewed. With non-conference games that include Michigan State, Miami, Notre Dame, Michigan, Maryland, Penn State, South Carolina, etc. the opportunities are there to shut some people up and turn a few heads. You might think the American will get slaughtered in all the aforementioned matchups, but as always, that's why they play the games on the field and not on paper.
With that being said, making predictions and trying to figure out what will happen three months down the road is fun and gives everyone something to do. That's exactly why I plan on playing them on paper right here!
My predicted American Athletic Conference standings:
1. Cincinnati 11-1 (7-1)
2. Louisville 10-2 (7-1)
3. UCF 8-4 (5-3)
4. Rutgers 8-4 (5-3)
5. Houston 7-5 (4-4)
6. SMU 7-5 (4-4)
7. USF 6-6 (4-4)
8. UConn 5-7 (3-5)
9. Memphis 3-9 (1-7)
10. Temple 3-9 (0-8)
Cincinnati- I know I'm a UC fan. I also know I'm probably a bit of a homer. However, I do think this team has a chance to have a great season. They have bought into Tuberville and his staff completely and are ready to go. The current schedule sets up favorably. When it was first released it had Boise State and UCF at home. Now there is obviously no Boise State and they will not see UCF at all. Most importantly, Louisville will be coming to Nippert.
Louisville- This team gets plenty of coverage elsewhere. Almost to a nauseating extent. So, I will choose to just say... SEE YOU DECEMBER 5TH.
UCF- I'm a fan of this team. They have coaching experience and a good amount of returning talent. If they can take down Penn State up in Happy Valley, their confidence will be sky high and there is no telling what kind of roll they can go on.
Rutgers- Kyle Flood last year did what most coaches fail to do in year one. He had complete control and the attention of his players. Not to mention that Schiano left him some very nice pieces to play with. I think they take a slight step back in 2013 with the amount of starters gone from last year's team. That one loss that Cincinnati has listed above, I do think it comes in Piscataway.
Houston- Tony Levine was the anti-Kyle Flood last year. His team never seemed to completely buy in during year one. It reminded me a lot of Butch Jones' squad here in 2010. Houston got hammered by Texas State. I say again, TEXAS STATE on the opening weekend in 2012. No offense to the Bobcats (yes, I did just look up their mascot), but they were playing their first game as an FBS program. I think we'll see a slight turn around from the Cougars this year with a 7-5 record while going 4-4 in conference.
SMU- Hal Mumme, the so-called inventor of the Air Raid offense is now the offensive coordinator under June Jones. There should be no shortage of entertainment while watching SMU games and may God have mercy on Garrett Gilbert's throwing arm.
USF- "Coach T" has me on the bus. I'm a little concerned about the severed heads he's randomly taking to a Tampa Bay Bucs game, but this guy has too much swagger (can I call it "TaggSwag?") to not like him. I don't see anything monumental this season, but he'll have the Bulls in a great place in the coming years.
UConn- Macklemore, that rapper all the cool kids listen to, asked in a song "What you know about rockin' a wolf on your noggin?" Well, UConn knows all about that now. With a flashy new helmet and new offensive coordinator TJ Weist, the Huskies offense might be somewhat watchable for the first time in a long time.
Memphis- I'm a fan of head coach Justin Fuente. Sometime soon he's going to lead the Tigers to a 7-5 season and then receive a bigger job offer. Until that time comes, he has a lot of work to do. I do, however, think they will beat Temple (see below).
Temple- This is gonna be bad.
I have a thought that this conference will not be as bad as some people might want you to believe. After all, The Big East had a quality year overall in 2012. The only thing that changes this year are Pitt and Syracuse are off to the ACC. In my opinion, almost any of the incoming teams (except Memphis and Temple) can match or outdo what the Panthers or Orange did a season ago.