2022 American Athletic Conference Predictions & Title Odds: Can Cincinnati Win Back-to-Back Titles?
The American Athletic Conference, better known as the AAC, is comprised of 11 teams. Those 11 teams play within one division, and the top two teams play in the AAC Title game prior to bowl games being set.
Last season, Cincinnati went on a run for the ages, not only winning the conference with ease, but also making the College Football Playoff as a non-Power 5 team. They won the conference by defeating the Houston Cougars 35-20 at home in Nippert Stadium.
2022 will feature a much tighter title race, as Cincinnati has lost a lot of players to the NFL. UCF and Houston will be right in the thick of things throughout the year, as much like the Bearcats, Houston will be situated in the Top 25 to start the season.
2022 AAC Football Conference Title Odds
- UCF +210
- Cincinnati +230
- Houston +250
- SMU +800
- Memphis +1200
- East Carolina +2500
- Tulsa +3000
- Tulane +5000
- South Florida +5000
- Navy +8000
- Temple +10000
2022 AAC Football Conference Predictions
The Knights will not start the season in the Top 25, but that isn’t stopping the fact that they top the odds in the AAC Title race. They will have one of the easiest schedules of the entire conference, as they have only the 47th hardest schedule in Division 1.
UCF finished last season at 9-4 and failed to hit 10 or more wins for the first time since 2016. They were victorious in their bowl game against Florida, but the season still felt like a let down.
UCF’s future in 2022 looks a bit brighter. They have a stronger defense due to the commitments from two 4 star defensive backs out of Florida. Their poor defense from last season should be improved and their season record should reflect the changes.
Due to the poor strength of schedule, UCF has a chance to run the table. The only challenges they will face are the games against Cincinnati and SMU. However, both of those games will be in Florida at the Bounce House. An 11-1 record is a safe bet for the 2022 season.
The Bearcats will open the season against Arkansas, and that is helping them in the strength of schedule department. They will be the highest ranked team in the conference when the season gets underway next month.
After such a successful season last year, it would be normal to see a higher ranking and tighter odds for the team. However, due to the loss of quarterback Desmond Ridder and multiple other 1st round NFL draft picks, the Bearcats will be a younger team with plenty of upside.
Cincinnati went undefeated in their conference last year, and they have a chance to do the same thing again in 2022. They don’t have to play Houston this season, unless they meet in the AAC Title Game. So, expect a solid record from the Cats.
A ranking in the Top 25 at the end of the season is almost a given for this team, but the question is, How far can they go? An 11-1 record is more than doable, but 12-0 is the better value bet.
Houston was just a game away from the AAC Title last season, and they look poised to make another run. Three teams are under a blanket heading into the season, but the Cougars have one of the best defenses in the country, and it could give them the edge.
The main point of focus this year will be the offense. They were ranked in the middle of the pack last year with a solid passing game and a rushing attack that never truly found its groove.
The schedule for Houston looks fairly tame aside from games against Texas Tech and SMU on the road. The problem lies in the fact that their strength of schedule is not that great, and the rankings will be a lot tougher to come by.
10-2 seems like a solid prediction for this team. Their defense will carry them, but don’t be surprised if they have an offensive showing against teams that are struggling. They will be a favorite against every other team in the conference on their schedule.
2022 AAC Title Prediction
The top two teams in the conference will play for the title, and in this close race, its anyone’s for the taking. I predict a Cincinnati vs. Houston rematch this season in the AAC Title Game.
Both teams will be ranked throughout the year, but I believe the Bearcats have attracted enough young talent to replace what they have lost. Could we see another playoff run from this team? Only the committee can answer that question.