April 20, 2024

Do Preseason Rankings Matter In The AAC?

The American Athletic Conference (AAC) has seen its fair share of surprises and plot twists over the years. As the preseason media poll for 2023 was unveiled, Tulane emerged as the favorite to clinch the league championship, with Memphis being picked 4th. With the addition of Charlotte, North Texas, and UAB in football, we look at the league that was.

Looking at the historical data, predictions, and actual outcomes have often strayed from each other, making the AAC an exciting and unpredictable conference to follow. What has transpired since the inception of the league? We will start with the most recent. While looking at this, we will also be analyzing how Memphis has fared in each season.

What Has Happened In The AAC?

In 2022, despite being the preseason favorite, Houston finished 5th, while Memphis, picked 5th, ended up 8th. The surprise package of the year was Tulane, who ultimately won the league after being picked 7th.

The 2021 season saw the predictions aligning with the final results as Cincinnati, the preseason favorite, won the league. Memphis, however, fell short of expectations, finishing 7th after being picked 5th.

In 2020, UCF, despite being picked as the preseason favorites, finished 4th. Memphis met their expectations, finishing 3rd as predicted. The league was won by Cincinnati, who had been picked 2nd.

UCF was again the favorite in 2019 but ended up finishing 2nd in the AAC East. Memphis, despite being picked to finish 1st in the AAC West and only receiving the 3rd most preseason championship votes, managed to win the league.

In 2018, UCF lived up to the expectations, winning the league after being picked as the favorite. Memphis was picked to finish 1st in the AAC West and received the 2nd most AAC Championship votes. They won the AAC West and narrowly missed the league title in the Championship game.

South Florida, picked to win the league in 2017, finished 2nd in the AAC East. Memphis, however, met the expectations by winning the AAC West after being picked to do so. The league was won by UCF, who had been picked to finish 2nd in the AAC East.

In 2016, Houston, the preseason favorite, only managed to finish 4th in the AAC West. Memphis picked 3rd in the AAC West and lived up to expectations. The league was won by Temple, who had been picked 2nd in the AAC East.

In 2015, Cincinnati, the preseason favorite, ended up 3rd in the AAC East. Memphis, despite being selected to win the AAC West, ended up finishing 3rd in the AAC West. Houston won the league after being picked to finish 2nd in the AAC West.

The 2014 season saw Cincinnati picked to win the league, finishing in a 3-way tie for the title. Memphis, who were predicted to finish 7th, surprised everyone by finishing in a 3-way tie for the title. UCF also finished in this 3-way tie for the title after being picked 2nd in the preseason poll.

In 2013, Louisville, the preseason favorites, could only manage a 2nd place finish. Memphis, predicted to finish last, did so, while UCF, picked 4th, won the league.

Do The Rankings Matter?

To summarize, since the creation of the AAC in 2013, preseason favorites have only won the league three times. Memphis has outperformed its preseason ranking twice, finished worse than predicted three times, and matched its preseason ranking five times. 

How Does Memphis Claw Through The AAC?

Memphis will need to answer the questions all Tiger fans have coming into 2023. If they can do these things, we see the Tigers having the potential to return to the AAC championship game. 

The “talking time” is about over. It’s almost time for Memphis Football! 

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