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2013 AAC Conference: NCAA Football Gambling Predictions | Futures

NCAA Football Futures – 2013 AAC Season Preview

There is no conference that has had as much movement of teams as the American Athletic Conference, formerly the Big East. This year the league still has its hooks in last year’s winner, Louisville, while welcoming a host of newcomers from Conference USA.

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There are a total of ten teams competing this season and half of those weren’t even in the conference last year. Will that be an advantage for teams or disadvantage I am interested to see. Also, how will teams that were used to slinging it in the southern parts of C-USA fare when facing cold weather up in the Northeast later in the season. There might not be a legitimate National Championship threat here but it should be a neat experiment to follow.

Now lets take a look at the top contenders this year (odds drawn from BetOnline). Just one of the newbies is considered a real threat…and I like them a lot.

Louisville -160

Its hard not to like Louisville to take the crown again in their exit year. They were the champs last year and return a host of starters on both sides the ball, most importantly QB Teddy Bridgewater who was superb last year and is a legitimate Heisman candidate. Under the tutelage of Charlie Strong, Louisville has become really athletic and fast via their pipeline to recruiting hotbeds in the state of Florida. Their schedule sets up nicely too with a potential de facto championship game when they visit Cincinnati to close the season. Louisville shouldn’t be that challenged in the nonconference schedule either and may leave the conference with another BCS bid.

The odds reflect their expected dominance so there isn’t much value on the Cards.

Cincinnati +475

The Cincinnati football program just can’t seem to catch a break. First they seem to be unwanted by all the big conferences (maybe they are scared) and they can’t seem to hold on to their coaches as it appears the Bearcats jobs has become a serious stepping stone opportunity. Yet there must be something about the position and their ability to win now that drew out seasoned coach Tommy Tuberville, a proven winner, who up an quit amidst controversy at Texas Tech.

The Bearcats should be very good once again as they one of just a few teams in the country to return its offensive line intact. Who they are going to be protecting is up for debate but the offense should once again be good enough. On defense they return a couple of starters from all levels of a defense that was second in the conference and 14th in the nation in points allowed. Cincinnati has a favourable schedule both within and beyond the AAC.

There is a real chance they could be undefeated when they play Louisville to close the season too.

If you think the championship is coming down to the last week than you have to take the value on Cincinnati right now. They will be home in that game and you could probably even hedge it if you do that sort of thing.

Rutgers +525

Like Louisville, Rutgers is making their last pass through the conference, though they are heading in a different direction as they will soon be a member of the Big Ten. In that conference the wins will be much harder to come by so the Scarlet Knights would be wise to take advantage of the lighter competition this year.

They have a nice core coming back on offense with an experienced QB in junior Gary Nova. Coach Kyle Flood wants to win with defense and a solid running game so they need highly touted junior running back Savon Huggins to step up big time.

He was the most celebrated recruit in recent history and hasn’t provided much. Only 4 starters return on the defensive side of the ball but fortunately they include the Merrell twins who were both very productive last year. Because they are commited on this side I have confidence they will find the players they need and the fact that there are some putrid offenses in the league will make their overall numbers looks good even if they are unlikely to repeat last year’s stats when they were 4th in the nation in points allowed. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

You will know early if this is a smart play when Rutgers visits Louisville in mid October. Win that one and they could be champs though this team has to visit UCF too. Probably too tall an order to expect them to win both

UCF +1000

I have long been a fan of the UCF Knights. Under coach George O’Leary they enjoyed good success in Conference USA where their attention to defense has served them well. Among all the teams that are new to the conference the Knights have the best chance to win it all.

They have an experienced QB in Blake Bortles and a nice stable of running backs running behind an experienced offensive line. On defense they only return 5 starters but this team does a great job recruiting local athletes so they should be able to compete just fine. The main reason UCF is such a great longshot is their schedule.

They avoid Cincinnati all together so they only have play two of the three teams considered ahead of them. They do have to travel to Louisville but they do so the week after the Cardinals play Rutgers in what should be a very physical battle. The rest of their AAC road schedule is a joke with Memphis, Temple and SMU. I don’t expect the Knights to run roughshod over the competition but they should be given real consideration if you don’t like Louisville.

Love the value on UCF. They have a potentially nice advantage of being unfamiliar to the teams that are the most important to beat on their schedule.

Complete AAC Odds

Louisville -160
Cincinnati +475
Rutgers +525
UCF +1000
Connecticut +2500
SMU +2500
South Florida +3000
Houston +3000
Memphis +6000
Temple +7500

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