2013 College Football Preview: AAC

Can anyone stop Louisville and Heisman candidate Teddy Bridgewater this season?

Can anyone stop Louisville and Heisman candidate Teddy Bridgewater this season?

With 8 days remaining until the start of the 2013 college football season, we will take a detailed look at each power conference, the best of the rest, and make predictions for the Heisman Trophy and the BCS National Championship. Each day will feature a new article with a unique outlook on the world of college football. So without further ado, meet your new Big East Conference. Kinda…

The newest conference in NCAA football is the AAC, or the American Athletic Conference. It’s a league in flux; Temple, Central Florida, Southern Methodist, Houston and Memphis joined this year, while recent powers Louisville (ACC) and Rutgers (Big Ten) are leaving next year. Last year, four teams (Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati, and Syracuse) tied for the Big East title at 5-2, with Louisville representing the league in the BCS, where they upset #4 Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

This year, three teams shape up to contend for the AAC title. The first, Cincinnati, is in a transition year. Head coach Butch Jones left for the University of Tennessee, and former Auburn and Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville will lead the Bearcats this season. Rutgers enters its second season under head coach Kyle Flood, but the Scarlet Knights will also have new offensive and defensive coordinators this season. Finally, Louisville returns both head coach Charlie Strong and Big East Offensive POY Teddy Bridgewater to a team that won 11 games last season.

Heisman Watch

The pride and joy of the AAC this season will be Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater. After winning Freshman of the Year honors in 2011, Bridgewater threw for 1,600 more yards and 13 more touchdowns in his sophomore campaign last year. His signature performance was the 2013 Sugar Bowl, where Bridgewater threw for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns against Florida’s #1 ranked pass defense. Bridgewater is a poised, experienced player who can lead the Cardinals to great heights in 2013, and is a serious contender to win the Heisman Trophy.

Championship Pick 

Louisville is the only ranked team (#9) in the AAC this preseason, and for good reason. Bridgewater is the real deal, and I strongly believe in Louisville’s ability to not only win the AAC, but to possibly go undefeated (WHAT?!?!?). Their nonconference schedule is a joke, with their toughest test coming in Week 1 at home against the Ohio Bobcats. They also play Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky, and FIU. Oooooo, scary. Their biggest game is a Thursday night ESPN game against Rutgers at home, and I believe that only Cincinnati on December 5 poses a legitimate threat to upset Louisville. It won’t be an easy road to the BCS National Championship Game, but Louisville has the talent (and the QB) to make headlines come January.

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