American Athletic preseason power rankings

With the start of the 2013 college football season just a few days away, let's take a look at some power rankings for the American Athletic.

1. Louisville: 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.

Brendon KayUS PRESSWIREBrendon Kay and the Bearcats pose a threat to Louisville.

2. Cincinnati: The Bearcats will pose a serious challenge to Louisville when the teams meet on December 5. New head coach Tommy Tuberville will try to help the Bearcats claim a share of the conference crown for the fifth time in six seasons.

3. Central Florida: The Knights are strong under center with Blake Bortles, who is very good at protecting the football. And running back Storm Johnson headlines a nice crop of playmakers.

4. Rutgers: The development and improvement of quarterback Gary Nova is crucial to the team's success because the Scarlet Knights lost a ton of material on defense.

5. South Florida: New head coach Willie Taggart may have to lean on his team's pass rush until his physical, pro-style scheme can be fully absorbed on offense.

6. Connecticut: The Huskies have serious issues on offense, but that unit could immediately be strengthened if it gets improved play from quarterback Chandler Whitmer and the offensive line. Defensively, the unit ranked ninth in the nation in total defense last season but lost four players to the NFL Draft.

7. Southern Methodist: The Mustangs have a brutal nonconference schedule and lost a ton of starters from the 2012 squad, but quarterback Garrett Gilbert finished 2012 strong and must carry that consistency over to this season.

8. Houston: Losing running back Charles Sims to a transfer was a brutal blow to this team. But success this fall will come down to whether a unit ranked 115th nationally in total defense in 2012 will be improved.

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. Former quarterback 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 quarterback Paxton Lynch?

Dave Miller, the college football editor and writer for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.

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