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2017 American Athletic Prespring Rankings & 3 Key Storylines

American Athletic Prespring Preview, Rankings, Key Storylines


Ranking and breaking down the American Athletic teams as the spring football season starts to kick in.


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What does each American Athletic team have to work on this spring? What are the main storylines? How good are the teams going into the key part of the offseason? Ranking all the American Athletic teams based on how they look now, and what each team needs to do.

– CFN Prespring Rankings & Lookaheads No. 1 to 130
American Athletic Schedule Analysis

2017 American Athletic Prespring Rankings & 3 Key Storylines

12. Tulane Green Wave

– Can the offense start to crank up the ground game like it’s supposed to roll under Willie Fritz? Are the piece in place now?
– Where are the new tacklers? Can the linebacking corps be okay after losing Nico Marley and Eric Thomas?
– The nation’s least-efficient passing game has to at least be opportunistic. Hit the open downfield target.
Full Prespring Analysis

11. SMU Mustangs

– The defensive front has to replace three starters. It wasn’t a rock to begin with, but now it needs the young guys to step up.
– The offense has to be better in the red zone. How can the O be better with a short field to work with?
– Can the return game improve? The Mustangs need better field position – the kick and punt return games have to be stronger.
Full Prespring Analysis

10. Connecticut Huskies

– Randy Edsall and the new coaching staff has to get the offense going again – somehow. The nation’s worst scoring attack has to figure something out.
– Rock in the red zone. UConn was one of the worst teams in college football inside the 20. That’s part of the reason the team averaged 14.8 points per game.
– Find kickers. P Justin Wain and PK Bobby Puyol are gone.
Full Prespring Analysis

9. East Carolina Pirates

– Can the receiving corps replace Zay Jones and his 158 catches for 1,746 yards? It’s going to take a village.
– Figure out how to stop giving the ball away while creating more takeaways. ECU had the nation’s third-worst turnover margin.
– Improve the return game. ECU had college football’s fourth-worst punt return game and was 113th in kickoff returns.
Full Prespring Analysis

8. Cincinnati Bearcats

– Luke Fickell and the new coaching staff have to change the culture. That’s a cliche, but after the ugly finish, that’s Job One.
– Score. The offense went in the tank, finishing the season averaging 19 points per game. Come up with some dangerous playmakers.
– Find linebackers. The starting trio has to be replaced for a defense that loses five starters.
Full Prespring Analysis

7. Temple Owls

– Get used to the new guy. Head coach Geoff Collins has a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball – the position battles will mostly be wide open.
– Settle the offensive backfield with QB Phillip Walker and RB Jahad Thomas gone.
– Restock the defensive front seven. Six starters are gone with the entire linebacking corps needing to be replaced.
Full Prespring Analysis

6. Tulsa Golden Hurricane

– The passing game is starting over. QB Dane Evans is gone along with receivers Keevan Lucas and Joshua Atkinson.
– Find new defensive tackles. The run defense was hardly a rock, and now the starting DTs are gone.
– Find a replacement for Dalton Parks. A solid punter, he averaged almost 42 yards per kick – he was reliably strong.
Full Prespring Analysis

5. UCF Knights

– Find new playmakers in the secondary. The defensive backs were the stars, and now three of them have to be replaced.
– Find new playmakers in the linebacking corps. A rock at times in the transition, three of the starting four are gone.
– Come up with an improved offensive identity. The O didn’t really work, but there’s experience coming back.
Full Prespring Analysis

4. Navy Midshipmen

– Who are the new guys in the backfield? Almost all of the key running backs are gone, and while the system works. that’s what the spring is for.
– Beef up the defensive front. The starting three loses Patrick Forrestal off the nose and ends Amos Mason and Nnamdi Uzoma. That’s a problem.
– Improve the secondary. The Midshipmen got bombed on for 254 yards per game and had one of the nation’s least-efficient pass defenses.
Full Prespring Analysis

3. Memphis Tigers

– Can the Tigers figure out more defensively? Nothing really worked against the better offenses over the second half of last year, allowing 42 points or more in five of the last seven games.
– Improving the secondary. Three of the four starters are gone, hurt mostly by losing CB Arthur Maulet.
– Replace longtime solid PK Jake Elliott, who hit 21-of-26 field goals last year.
Full Prespring Analysis

2. Houston Cougars

– How will things be different with Major Applewhite at the helm? The pressure and the expectations are still there after losing Tom Herman.
– Will Kyle Allen really be the guy to replace Greg Ward Jr.? The former Texas A&M super-recruit has to win the gig over Kyle Postma.
– Is there more pop in the punt return game? This was one of Houston’s few problem areas last year, averaging just four yards per try.
Full Prespring Analysis

1. South Florida Bulls

– How will Charlie Strong put his stamp on the program right away? What will change from the Willie Taggart world, and how quickly?
– Can the defense find any production against the pass? The Bulls allowed a whopping 286 yards per game, and now they lose two key defensive backs.
– Will the running game be as dominant? Will Quinton Flowers still run as much, or will he become more of a passer?
Full Prespring Analysis

CFN Prespring Rankings & Lookaheads No. 1 to 130
– American Athletic Schedule Analysis