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UC Picked to Finish Third in the AAC East

A year after being the favorite to win the AAC overall, the Bearcats have fallen back into the middle of the pack.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

During the second day of the American Athletic Conference’s media days, the league released its preseason media poll.

Not surprisingly, Houston was selected as the winner of the West division and the conference champion with all 30 first place votes in the division and 27 of 30 votes for conference champ. The Cougars went 13-1 and claimed the league crown in 2015, smashing their way through Florida State in the Peach Bowl along the way. With Heisman Trophy contender Greg Ward Jr. back at quarterback and a host of other talented players up and down the roster, its hard to argue against Houston's preseason hype.

In the East division, USF and Temple were voted as the No. 1 and No. 2 finishers, respectively, with UC coming in third in the voting. The opinions about who will win the East were much more mixed, with USF earning 15 first place votes, Temple receiving nine and UC finding a way to pick up six. USF (2) and Temple (1) were the only teams besides Houston to earn a vote as conference champion. Temple, which went 10-4 and won the East last year, lost some key pieces on its tremendous defense, including AAC Defensive Player of the Year Tyler Matakevich. USF doubled its win total from 2014 and went 8-5, earning its way into a bowl for the first time since 2010. Dual-threat quarterback Quinton Flowers and running back Marlon Mack will lead the offensive charge once again for the promising Bulls in 2016.

As we all know, these polls don't do more than stir the pot and provide a platform for a discussion that will rage all season long. Last summer, UC was an overwhelming favorite to win the league title, earning 22 of 30 votes.

The rest of the second day of the AAC's media days continues starting at 9 a.m. with an address from commissioner Mike Aresco.