Scott Frost And The UCF Knights Picked Second In AAC East Division
The UCF Knights were picked second in the East Division after the Knights improved by six wins in Scott Frost’s first year as head coach.
The Knights return 14 starters from last year, including linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who was the 2016 American Defensive Player of the Year. Griffin had a breakout year with a league-leading 11.5 sacks to go with 20 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups, an interception, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
UCF did not receive any first place votes as USF received all of them. However, the Knights came in with 126 points, which put them ahead of defending East Division champs Temple. Temple received 119 points, Cincinnati finished in fourth with 100 and East Carolina and Connecticut closed out the East.
Over in the AAC West, Memphis was named as the favorite, the Tigers claimed 22 of the 30 first-place votes for 169 points. The Tigers have 17 returning starters from last year, including quarterback Riley Ferguson, who led The American and set a school record with 32 touchdown passes in 2016. The Tigers also have a proven deep threat as wide receiver Anthony Miller finished 2016 with 95 catches for 1,434 yards and 14 touchdowns.
They were followed by Houston received six first-place votes and was picked for second in the West Division with 137 points. Major Applewhite enters his first full season as the Cougars’ head coach after spending the last two seasons as Houston’s offensive coordinator, helping the team to 22 wins in the last two years. Houston returns All-America defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who set a conference record with 23.0 tackles for loss as a freshman and has been tabbed as the nation’s top defensive player by several national outlets in the preseason.
The third American Athletic Conference Football Championship will be played Saturday, Dec. 2, at the home site of the division champion with the best conference record.
2017 AAC Preseason Media Poll:
- USF 26
- Houston 2
- Memphis 1
- Navy 1
- USF (30) 180 points
- UCF 126 points
- Temple 119 points
- Cincinnati 100 points
- East Carolina 63 points
- UConn 42 points
- Memphis (22) 169 points
- Houston (6) 137 points
- Navy (1) 128 points
- Tulsa (1) 102 points
- SMU 64 points
- Tulane 30 points
*first-place votes in parentheses
*additional reporting by Allison Leslie.