2013 American Athletic Conference Football Season Preview & Predictions
The conference formerly known as the Big East is now the American Athletic conference. To say that there have been some major changes here in the past couple years is a major understatement. Only a few of the same schools remain, and there are a whole lot of new teams moving into this power conference.
BangtheBook is going to be looking at several of the major college football conferences in the next couple weeks. We’ll look at teams that have a chance to be in contention for the conference crown and make a selection at the end of each preview. All odds listed are from WagerWeb.
The Favorite: Louisville (-160)
If you look around all the biggest conferences in the country, you aren’t going to find a bigger favorite than the Louisville Cardinals. The oddsmakers are extremely high on their chances of repeating as the best team in the conference. Louisville finished off an 11-2 season last year with a shocking 33-23 win over the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl. The Cardinals didn’t just win that game, they went out and dominated. Teddy Bridgewater is the star of this team, and he is a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender. He threw for more than 3,700 yards last year, and he should be even better in 2013. Louisville has all kinds of speed on the defensive side of the ball. This team is easily the team to beat in this conference.
Teams to Watch:
Cincinnati made a big offseason pickup when they got Tommy Tubberville from Texas Tech. It came as a big surprise to many (myself included) that he would take this job. The Bearcats have won 10 games or more in 5 of the last 6 years. Cincinnati has won at least a share of five of the last five conference titles, but they seem to continue to fly under the radar. The strength of this team is its offensive line. They’ll protect senior quarterback Brendon Kay very well. Jeff Luc leads a very strong group of linebackers that will be in the opponents backfield often this year. Cincinnati will host Louisville in the season finale on December 5. The schedule sets up nicely for this team to make a run.
Rutgers has to see this season as their chance to get an “easy” chance at a BCS bowl berth. Sure, Louisville is a tough team and the Scarlet Knights don’t seem to have the team to win the conference, but the path to a BCS bowl will be much tougher starting next year when this team is in the Big Ten. Savon Huggins was one of the most highly touted recruits in Rutgers history. He hasn’t broken out just yet, but I expect a huge year from him in 2013. Brandon Coleman is a star at wide receiver. Gary Nova needs to become more consistent at the quarterback spot if this team is going to move up in the conference this year. The three-game series of Arkansas, at SMU, and at Louisville will be very tough.
The Golden Knights have been a successful program for the last few years, and they should do well in their move to the American Athletic Conference. UCF has typically been led by a strong defense, but it should be the offense that leads the way this year. Most of the team’s top defenders graduated at the end of last year. Blake Bortles may be the second best quarterback in the conference, and Storm Johnson is a very good running back. Worton, Perriman, and Hall all have game breaking ability at wide receiver. UCF might be a nice team to back to cover the number a lot this year, because they should be better than most believe.
2013 American Athletic Champion Odds
Central Florida +1000
U Conn +3000
South Florida +3000
American Athletic Conference Free Football Pick: Louisville (-160)
I don’t like playing a team that is this big of a favorite, but the Cardinals are a big favorite for a reason here. Louisville is much deeper and more talented than anyone else in the conference by a large amount. Don’t over think this one.
is full-timesports writer and sports handicapper. You simply won’t find someone who loves sports more than Kyle. Kyle considers college football and college basketball his two favorite sports. Kyle has earned many accolades for his highly successful handicapping, and he writes full-time for many top sports websites. Keep an eye out for high quality free sports analysis from Kyle!