2023-24 AAC Football Predictions with Betting Odds and Expert Picks
Another conference hit by change. Houston, UCF, and Cincinnati moved to the Big 12 in realignment. The AAC responded by adding six more teams. Charlotte, North Texas, Rice, UTSA, UAB, and FAU bump the league’s membership to 14 teams. Doc’s Sports will break down the conference below and offer some predictions for the upcoming season.
Doc’s Sports offers college football expert picks for every game on our college football predictions page.
The Favorite: Tulane (+210)
Tulane had an amazing 2022 season, winning 12 games and finishing No. 9 in the Associated Press poll. Quarterback Michael Pratt returns after accounting for 3,488 yards and 37 total touchdowns. The Green Wave boasts one of the best offensive line units in the entire AAC. They will be tested early in nonconference play with matchups against South Alabama and Ole Miss. Look for this squad to be on top of the standings.
The Challenger: SMU (+300)
This team has the pieces in place to make the AAC title game in 2023. They have a very favorable schedule with no matchups against Tulane and UTSA. They have a rising star in quarterback Preston Stone and added a ton of talent in the transfer portal. The Mustangs reeled in five offensive linemen with Power 5 experience. The defense needs to improve after allowing 33.8 points per game last season.
The Dark Horse: UTSA (+400)
The Roadrunners have enough in the tank to compete for the league title in their AAC debut. Quarterback Frank Harris returns after averaging 333.2 total yards per game in ’22. UTSA is 23-5 over the last two seasons and returns 16 starters. The defense is absolutely loaded, bringing back seven starters after holding teams to 5.5 yards a snap last season.
The X-Factor: Memphis (+600)
Ryan Silverfield has led Memphis to three consecutive bowl games despite being 11-13 in AAC play during that span. The Tigers should be heavily motivated to elevate the program to new heights, and the shift in AAC teams should help their favor. They return one of the league’s top quarterbacks in Seth Henigan, who threw for 3,571 yards and 22 touchdowns. The transfer portal should help both the offense and defense in 2023.
The Disappointment: Temple (+3500)
The Owls claimed victory only three times in coach Stan Drayton’s debut. The defense was a major let down last year allowing 36.4 points per game in the AAC. The run defense got gashed for 192.6 yards a game. It will be more of the same in 2023 if the defense cannot improve.
The chips are all in for FAU to contend in Tom Herman’s debut in Boca Raton. Signal-caller Casey Thompson was a huge pickup in the transfer portal, to add to an offense that has massive talent in the backfield. The offensive line returns three starters to protect the QB, but playmakers need to emerge at the wide receiver position.
East Carolina (+3000)
The Pirates are coming off their best season at 8-5 under coach Mike Houston, but contending for the ACC title in 2023 is going to be very difficult. Their starting QB, running back, and two receivers all departed after helping the offense average 32.5 points per game last year. Success starts in the trenches, and they return only one offensive lineman that started in 2023. With the offense in a transition, this team needs to rely on the defense.
North Texas (+3000)
New head coach Eric Morris is a native of Texas and is a perfect fit for this program. His offensive-minded approach should help the Mean Green maintain their 33.8 points per game from last season. ULM transfer Chandler Rogers should start at quarterback, with a deep receiving corps and running game. Defensive improvement will make this team a contender after allowing 197.8 rushing yards per game in 2022.
It is a new era for Navy after Brian Newberry took the reins from long-time leader Ken Niumatalolo. The program has been known for defense, and that should be its strength again in 2023 with nine starters returning. The offense will need to improve to have any chance of contending in the AAC. They finished last in the conference in yards per play with 4.7 and scoring, averaging 21.9 points per game. They also get a break in the schedule not playing against Tulane and UTSA.
This might be the toughest team to project throughout the entire conference. They will be relying on a lot of unproven transfers and were hit hard by departures. They have a brand-new coach, need to replace their quarterback and running back positions, and four starting offensive linemen are gone. Look for UAB to struggle.
South Florida (+5000)
Another program that needs quick fixes. New coach Alex Golesh arrives in Tampa after helping transform Tennessee’s offense into one of the best in college football over the last two years. The Bulls went 1-11 last year and failed to win an AAC game. The defensive unit will need to turn things around in a hurry after surrendering 41.2 points per game in 2022.
The Golden Hurricanes have some potential in ’23 with rising star Braylon Braxton at quarterback and the return from injury of running back Anthony Watkins. The offensive line must improve after allowing 45 sacks one season ago.
The Owls appeared in a bowl game last year for the first time since 2014. However, they have yet to record a winning season under coach Mike Bloomgren. The arrival of former Georgia quarterback JT Daniels and the return of receiver Luke McCaffrey could be enough to get Rice to six wins in its first season in the ACC.
The 49ers will struggle to eclipse last year’s win total of three. The team lost three key receivers and has uncertainty at the quarterback position. New Coach Biff Poggi hit the transfer portal hard with over 30 transfers expected to hit campus. This team is a basement dweller for 2023.
Projected AAC Standings
- Florida Atlantic
- East Carolina
- North Texas
- South Florida
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