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Houston Cougars will have the most wins in the AAC

Handicapping ACC Football In 2014

People keep calling this league the former Big East but in reality it is more like the former Conference USA with another group of teams joining from that conference this season. Last year UCF upset Louisville’s bid to earn the inaugural league title on their way out and they represented well in dumping Baylor in a BCS bowl.

Houston Cougars

Win Total: 8.5
BCS Championship Odds: +8500
AAC Championship Odds:
Futures from sportsbook.ag

This season it does not look like any team from here is going to challenge for a spot in the new playoffs but I like how different this league is. I don’t know what this league is yet but it is kind of interesting.

AAC Overview

The league is again in flux with Louisville gone and new members arriving. UCF was really strong last year and a lot of that team returns, the primary exception being QB Blake Bortles who was a high draft pick.

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Cincinnati might wind up taking the conference title but their non-conference schedule is much tougher with no FBS and games against Miami, FL and Ohio State. That sets up well for the Cougars to finish the year with the most wins in the league.

They play the Bearcats the last week of the season too, likely for the top spot in the conference.

Why the Cougars will have the most wins in the AAC?

The Cougars had a good thing going and then had to go through some transition with Kevin Sumlin leaving, Case Keenum graduating and ultimately a move to a brand new conference in the AAC.
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This year they are looking for even more success with the most returning starters in the league. Last year they were not quite as explosive as they have been in the past but the defense led the nation in turnovers.

On offense the Cougars might never be as explosive as they were in the Sumlin/Keenum years but this team did way more than alright and that was with a freshman quarterback, John O’Korn under center for most of the season.

He is one of 8 returning starters on offense from last year and if assuming he makes the leap that a lot of players do between their and second seasons the Cougars could easily have the best offense in the conference.

Last season a very opportunistic defense led to a ranking of 20th in the nation in points allowed.

Now you can easily argue that is unsustainable but with 9 starters returning on defense – the most in the conference – I say why not. In looking at the league there are some very good offenses and some terrible ones. With the improvement they have made on defense they can win even when their own offense struggles.

When I look at the Cougars schedule I see a minimum of 8 wins and 4 games that could either way. This team does not have a juggernaut feel but if they split those four that is a 10-2 record and a likely conference win. Coach Tony Levine has proven to be up to the task of making the Cougars a player in the AAC.

Last year they suffered no bad losses while going 8-5. This year take the next step.

Projection: 10-2

I know this may be a minority pick but I like the Cougars to have the most wins in the AAC this season. While UCF is battling Missouri and Penn State they have UTSA and Grambling. Sure that is not going to endear them to the playoff selection committee (if it mattered) but they also get the Knights at home and have lots of winnable games in this unbalanced league.

They will be one of the stories of the season.

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About The Wiesguy

The Wiesguy is a newcomer to the handicapping scene. Hailing from Toronto, Canada he is always sweet on the underdogs and you can often find his thoughts, musings and picks at moneydogs.blogspot.com.