by Dave Miller
June 21, 02013
With spring practice in the books and preseason camp battles not too far away, let's take a look at some power rankings for each FBS conference.
Today, we'll take a look at the Big East/American Athletic Conference after looking at the SEC on Monday, the Big Ten on Tuesday, the Pac-12 on Wednesday and the Big 12 on Thursday. On Monday, we'll take a glance at the ACC.
1. Louisville: Charlie Strong and the Cardinals are headed to the ACC after this season, but they have a chance to give this beleaguered conference a nice parting gift with a strong 2013 campaign because the schedule is friendly. Teddy Bridgewater, who has a chance to be the first quarterback taken in the 2014 NFL Draft, paces the prolific offense.
US PRESSWIRETommy Tuberville is now running the show at Cincinnati.
2. Cincinnati: The Bearcats will pose a serious challenge to Louisville, whom they host on Thursday, December 5. Will the 'Ville be undefeated at that point? New head coach Tommy Tuberville inherits a very good offensive line, and that stability could help the Bearcats claim a share of the conference crown for the fifth time in six seasons. Sixth-year quarterback Brendon Kay paces the offense after replacing Munchie Legaux and starting the final five games of 2012.
3. Rutgers: We keep hearing about the development and improvement of quarterback Gary Nova this past spring. But until he shows it when it counts, the play under center will be a concern. The Scarlet Knights also lost a ton of material on defense.
4. Central Florida: The Knights are strong under center with Blake Bortles, and running back Storm Johnson headlines a nice crop of playmakers.
5. South Florida: The Willie Taggart era has started off strong in Tampa, as the new Bulls head coach has been working hard on the recruiting trail. On the field this fall, USF will probably have to rely on its defense until Taggart's physical, pro-style scheme can be fully absorbed on offense.
6. Southern Methodist: The Mustangs have a brutal nonconference schedule and lost a ton of starters from the 2012 squad. But the run game should be sound, and Hal Mumme's hire as OC should help make quarterback Garrett Gilbert more consistent.
7. Connecticut: The Huskies have serious issues on offense, but that unit could immediately be strengthened if it gets improved play from quarterback Chandler Whitmer. However, he'll need help from his offensive line and from his running backs. Defensively, the unit lost four players to the NFL Draft. The Huskies were ranked ninth in the nation in total defense last season, allowing just under 310 yards per game.
8. Houston: Losing running back Charles Sims to a transfer or the NFL supplemental draft was a brutal blow to this team, as he was the face of the program. The Cougars have talent at receiver, but they need more consistency at quarterback. The defense returns pretty much intact, but the unit ranked 115th nationally in total defense in 2012.
9. Temple: Former Owls offensive coordinator Matt Rhule is back in Philadelphia, as he assumed the role of head coach after Steve Addazio left for Boston College. We don't know who will start at quarterback, but Connor Reilly and Clinton Granger impressed in spring. Chris Coyer may be lined up all over the field this fall and is an intriguing offensive weapon.
10. Memphis: The Tigers were solid rushing the ball in Conference USA last season and return four of five starters up front, plus their top two rushers. But can the O-Line protect whoever starts at quarterback? Temple struggled moving back into the league last year after leaving the MAC, so expect the same for Memphis in 2013.