CollegeFootballNews.com Preview 2017 Season Predictions: What Will Happen In The American Athletic
Predicting everything that’ll happen this season in the American Athletic Conference.
What Will Happen? 5 American Athletic Predictions
1. Some Of The New Guys Will Do Just Fine
Tom Herman didn’t take Houston to the American Athletic title last year. He didn’t win the West, and he didn’t even finish in the top two in his own division.
And he got the Texas job.
Willie Taggart didn’t win much of anything at South Florida. He might have put up a good record, but he didn’t win an American Athletic title, and his powerhouse team last year didn’t even play in the championship game.
And he got the Oregon job.
So it might not be that big a loss – and could actually be an upgrade – with Major Applewhite taking over the Cougars and Charlie Strong the new man for the Bulls.
Either one could be the Texas coach this season and succeed – yes, even Strong, considering what he built up.
Meanwhile, Luke Fickell was a great get for a Cincinnati program in need of a boost. The Bearcats have enough talent to make plenty of noise, and Fickell should be able to at least get them back to a bowl game.
2. Some Of The New Guys Will Need More Time
Randy Edsall won’t instantly make Connecticut a winner again just because he came back to the campus.
The schedule will be a problem in a rough first year that doesn’t have any sure wins to look forward to after the opener against Holy Cross.
Temple won’t completely crash under Geoff Collins, but the 2016 conference champs lose a whole bunch of talent, including head coach Matt Rhule. The Owls should still go bowling, but it’ll be a fight to get there.
3. The Audition Will Continue For The Second Year Guys
Watch and see how the spotlight starts to shine more and more on Scott Frost.
The grumbling will start to get louder and louder at Nebraska if Mike Riley doesn’t have a big season. If Frost leads UCF to something big, he’ll be one of the hottest young names out there – especially if the offense is explosive.
Meanwhile, Memphis head man Mike Norvell might be someone’s idea of buying the stock a bit early.
He’s still young and in need of seasoning, but he also proved in his first season the the could keep the fun going with Justin Fuente gone to Virginia Tech. Norvell might not be ready for a massive step up job even if he comes up with a big year, but he’ll grow into a hot name.
Give Willie Fritz a bit more time at Tulane. The running game will work, but it’s not going to be a dominant like it needs to be quite yet. Give it a little more time, and then look out.
Scottie Montgomery could have the biggest problems at East Carolina. There still needs to be plenty of building done, and he’s going to need at least another season to make the Pirates a big-time player again in the conference.
4. Between Houston, Memphis and Cincinnati …
Someone will screw up the Power Five world.
Can Houston beat Arizona and Texas Tech? It’ll win at least one of those two non-conference battles, while Memphis and its high-powered offense gets to host UCLA.
Cincinnati won’t beat Michigan, but it’ll be pesky, while South Florida hosts Illinois, Navy gets its annual showdown against Notre Dame and Tulsa starts out again Oklahoma State.
The league won’t win them all, but they’ll take down a few.
5. The American Athletic Championship Game Will Be …
South Florida over Houston
With all due respect to Navy and Temple – and to Memphis, for that matter – USF and Houston might have been the two most talented and best teams in the league last year, but they didn’t get the job done.
Navy continues to work its magic with its amazing offense and outstanding coaching Taff, and it’ll be in the thick of the West chase again. However, the Midshipmen have to go to Houston – as does Memphis.
Strong will do wonders with the Bulls in an East that’s far weaker than the West. Cincinnati won’t be there quite yet under Fickell, and again, Temple will take a step back.
UCF will be dangerous, but the program down the road in Tampa will be better.
Strong will get the job done in his first year on the job. The guy can coach, and now he’s about to prove it all over again.
Where will everyone end up? For all of the American Athletic Bowl Projections?