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2023 American Athletic Conference Football Preview

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

Predicted Order of Finish

1. Tulane- the reigning American Athletic Conference and Cotton Bowl champions return junior QB Michael Pratt (3,010 yards, 37 total TD’s) along with 4 starters on the O-line, on defense, however, the Green Wave must replace 8 starters as well as coordinator Chris Hampton who went to Oregon OVER/UNDER Total Wins 9.5

2. UTSA- HC Jeff Traylor has guided the Roadrunners to two straight double-digit win seasons and gets 7th year senior QB Frank Harris back on offense, the secondary must replace FS Clifford Chatman, who led the team with 5 INT’s, and the schedule features road trips to Houston, Tennessee, and Tulane OVER/UNDER Total Wins 7.5

3. Memphis- junior QB Seth Henigan, who threw for 3,571 yards and 22 TD’s last year, returns to lead the offense, the Tigers added junior WR DeMeer Blankumsee (41 catches) from Toledo but lost the top 5 WR’s from last year along with its top 2 tacklers on defense in LB Xavier Cullens and S Quindell Johnson OVER/UNDER Total Wins 8.5

4. SMU- the Mustangs return a talented receiving corps led by senior Jordan Kerley (37 catches, 588 yards), the defense, which struggled mightily last year, ranking outside the top 100 in both points and rush yards allowed, lost its top 4 tacklers and must face high powered Oklahoma and TCU in September OVER/UNDER Total Wins 8.5

5. Florida Atlantic- new HC Tom Herman (54-22 career record) returns to the American Athletic Conference after leading Houston to a conference crown in 2015, defensively, the Owls ranked 108th in total yards allowed (424.8) and will be put to the test early with September dates at Clemson and Illinois OVER/UNDER Total Wins 7.5

6. North Texas- new HC Eric Morris inherits 13 starters from last year’s 7-win team and added transfer QB Chandler Rogers (18 starts, 24 TD’s in 2 seasons at Louisiana-Monroe), defensively the Mean Green were gashed for 459.7 yards per game last year and will be learning under a new staff in 2023 OVER/UNDER Total Wins 6.5

7. Navy- the Midshipmen return 9 starters from last year’s unit that yielded only 88.9 rushing yards per game under former coordinator and now HC Brian Newberry, the QB position remains unsettled with seniors Tai Lavatai and Xavier Arline as well as sophomore Teddy Gleaton competing for the spot OVER/UNDER Total Wins 5.5

8. East Carolina- the Pirates have reached 2 straight bowls under HC Mike Houston and return the entire D-line led by junior DT Chad Stephens, who led the team with 10 tackles for loss last season, the offense must replace 3-year starting QB Holton Ahlers and RB Keaton Mitchell (1,472 yards, 14 TD’s) OVER/UNDER Total Wins 5.5

9. Rice- West Virginia transfer QB and former 5-star recruit JT Daniels has 2 reliable pass catchers in junior Luke McCaffrey 58 catches, 5 TD’s) and senior TE Jack Bradley, top WR Bradley Rozner transferred and the defense, which ranked 103rd in rush yards allowed (182.2) last year must replace key starters on the D-line OVER/UNDER Total Wins 4.5

10. Tulsa- Kevin Wilson, who served as HC at Indiana from 2011-2016, takes over the program and will turn to sophomore QB Braylon Braxton to lead the offense after throwing for 1,133 yards and 10 touchdowns in 3 starts last year, on defense the Golden Hurricane lack depth and experience up front OVER/UNDER Total Wins 4.5

11. UAB- former Baylor transfer senior QB Jacob Zeno will be joined in the backfield by RB Jermaine Brown Jr. who rushed for 900 yards as a backup in 2022, the schedule features road games against Georgia, Tulane, and UTSA which will put the new HC Trent Dilfer and staff to the test OVER/UNDER Total Wins 4.5

12. Temple- EJ Warner, son of Kurt Warner, returns under center after passing for 3,028 yards and 18 TD’s as a freshman last season, defensively the Owls must improve stopping the run after ranking 111th in rush yards allowed per game (192.6) while also surrendering 21 rushing TD’s OVER/UNDER Total Wins 5.5

13. South Florida- the QB competition remains undecided for first year HC Alex Golesh, who served as Josh Heupel’s offensive coordinator at both Central Florida and Tennessee, on defense there is nowhere to go but up after allowing 516.6 yards per game and 41.2 points per game in 2022 OVER/UNDER Total Wins 4.5

14. Charlotte- new HC Biff Poggi, who work under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, looks to establish a power rushing attack on offense led by sophomore RB Shadrick Byrd (620 yards, 4 TD’s) the defense returns lead tackler in junior LB Prince Bemah but have a steep hill to climb after ranking 128th in points allowed in 2022 OVER/UNDER Total Wins 3.5

Buy- Navy- a more manageable schedule makes bowl eligibility a possibility

Sell- UAB- revered former HC Bill Clark's absence will be even more profound in year 2

Best Bet- UAB UNDER Total Wins

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