AAC college football rankings and predictions with the realistic best and worst case records and quick analysis – the 2022 spring version.
As we get into the specifics and all the research coming out of spring football, here’s a first-look spring version of the rankings and thoughts about every American Athletic Conference team.
Cincinnati, UCF, Houston. All three are good enough to be considered the top team in the league coming into 2022, but there’s improvement among several other teams who’ll put up a fight.
The rankings are based on how good the teams should be and not the final projected records. Keeping in mind that this all could/might/will change when we make the final calls in August …
– 2022 College Football Schedules By Teams: All 131 Schools
2020: 0-7 2019: 4-8 2018: 7-6
Can head coach Jeff Scott finally get this thing going? The team needs a whole lot more depth and it has to come up with something on a rebuilding defensive front, but the offense should start to look stronger.
The schedule isn’t going to give the team any help to crank up a whole lot of confidence with BYU to star and with Florida, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Houston on the road. It’ll be a hard time to get to six wins.
Realistic Best Case Record: 6-6Realistic Worst Case Record: 2-102022 USF Prediction, Spring Football Version: 3-9CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 3-9CFN 2021 Final Record: 2-10– USF 2022 Schedule
2020: 1-6 2019: 8-5 2018: 8-5
New head coach Stan Drayton has a whole lot of work to do. Start by hoping for Georgia QB transfer D’Wan Mathis to become the real deal. There are lots and lots of personnel losses, but there aren’t enough big problems to worry about from a three-win team.
The record should be better with Lafayette and UMass needing to be sure wins, and there should be a few shockers in there somewhere. This should be a strong enough, sound enough team pull off a few stunners.
Realistic Best Case Record: 6-6Realistic Worst Case Record: 2-102022 Temple Prediction, Spring Football Version: 4-8CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 4-8CFN 2021 Final Record: 3-9– Temple 2022 Schedule
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
2020: 6-3 2019: 4-8 2018: 3-9
There are way too many giant losses to get back to six wins and a bowl game without a lot of help. The offensive line loses two NFL starters in OTs Tyler Smith and Chris Paul, and the defense is all but starting over at linebacker and missing most of the other key starters from 2021.
Dealing with a road trip to Wyoming and Northern Illinois is a rough start, and some of the should-be easy games lie Temple and Navy are on the road. It’s going to be a massive fight to get back to a winning season.
Realistic Best Case Record: 6-6Realistic Worst Case Record: 3-92022 Tulsa Prediction, Spring Football Version: 4-8CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 5-7CFN 2021 Final Record: 7-6– Tulsa 2022 Schedule
2020: 3-7 2019: 11-2 2018: 3-10
There isn’t a whole lot of turnovers, but the parts that return have to be far better after a rough year. Losing heart-and-soul LB Diego Fagot is the biggest problem, and a few good backs are gone on offense, but the lines should be as steady as they’ve been in a while.
There has to be a whole lot of improvement – nothing on the slate can be taken for granted – but outside of a brutal stretch of Cincinnati, Notre Dame, and UCF all away from Annapolis, there are enough winnable games to push for six wins. It’s not going to be easy.
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-82022 Navy Prediction, Spring Football Version: 5-7CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 5-7CFN 2021 Final Record: 4-8– Navy 2022 Schedule
Tulane Green Wave
2020: 6-6 2019: 7-6 2018: 7-6
After a strangely disaster season, the Green Wave are getting a few nice parts in from the transfer portal to go along with a few decent veterans. The defense is more of a concern in the back seven, but the offense should be a plus once the depth develops.
The schedule is a help with UMass and Alcorn State to start. There’s a problem with UCF and Cincinnati late, and atria to Houston early, but an improved team can push for six wins out of this slate.
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4Realistic Worst Case Record: 5-72022 Tulane Prediction, Spring Football Version: 6-6CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 5-7CFN 2021 Final Record: 2-10– Tulane 2022 Schedule
East Carolina Pirates
2020: 3-6 2019: 4-8 2018: 3-9
Holton Ahlers is STILL around as the ECU quarterback? No, he wasn’t once pushing Jeff Blake for the starting gig, but he’s experienced, and he’s got a ton of veteran talent around him to keep the O going. The D was young enough last year to return strong – at least experienced.
The team will be better, but the schedule will likely be a problem after the first half. There’s no UCF to face, but going to Cincinnati, BYU, and Tulane will be fights. The Pirates should be able to come up with just enough wins to go bowling, but the second half of the slate is a problem – even with a slew of key games at home.
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4Realistic Worst Case Record: 5-72022 East Carolina Prediction, Spring Football Version: 6-6CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 4-8CFN 2021 Final Record: 7-5– East Carolina 2022 Schedule
2020: 8-3 2019: 12-2 2018: 8-6
Everything should bounce back after a mediocre season. The offense is loaded with veterans – losing WR Calvin Austin and OG Dylan Parham stings – and the defense has brought in a slew of interesting new parts to an already experienced situation.
The schedule should help with the two toughest American Athletic Conference dates – Houston and UCF – at home, and with no Cincinnati to deal with. Going to Mississippi State will be tough, and dates at SMU, Tulane, and East Carolina won’t be easy, but there’s no excuse for this not to be a much better season.
Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2Realistic Worst Case Record: 6-62022 Memphis Prediction, Spring Football Version: 8-4CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 8-4CFN 2021 Final Record: 6-6– Memphis 2022 Schedule
2020: 7-3 2019: 10-3 2018: 5-7
This should be an interesting team with new head coach Rhett Lashlee taking an already dangerous offense up a few notches. QB Tanner Mordecai gets Alabama transfer Camar Wheaton to hand off to a slew of good targets to move everything around. The defensive side needs a little help at linebacker, but overall it’s a loaded group of veterans.
The schedule has enough problems to keep this from being an amazing year, but the team should have the talent on both sides to match last year’s eight-win run. To go negative, there are enough 50/50 games to be concerned – getting to eight won’t be easy.
Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3Realistic Worst Case Record: 6-62022 SMU Prediction, Spring Football Version: 7-5CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 6-6CFN 2021 Final Record: 8-4– SMU 2022 Schedule
2020: 3-5 2019: 4-8 2018: 8-5
The Cougars are losing some big parts from last year’s 12-win team, but QB Clayton Tune is back along with enough good receivers – and a good O line – to come up with another solid season. The defensive losses will hurt, but overall this is a veteran bunch.
If everything goes right against Texas Tech on the road, there’s a shot at a huge start. Memphis, Navy, SMU, and East Carolina are all dangerous away games, but there’s not Cincinnati or UCF to deal with. If the team’s parts can be filled fast, another ten-win season is more than possible.
Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2Realistic Worst Case Record: 7-52022 Houston Prediction, Spring Football Version: 9-3CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 8-4CFN 2021 Final Record: 12-2– Houston 2022 Schedule
2020: 9-1 2019: 11-3 2018: 11-2The talent level is still terrific, but there’s going to be a step back after losing a whole slew of NFL guys. You don’t get better after losing Desmond Ridder, Sauce Gardner, Alec Pierce, Myjai Sanders, Bryan Cook, Coby Bryant, and on and on and on. Fortunately, the O line should be a plus to build around.
The Bearcats will likely lose right out of the gate at Arkansas, but win that, and look out. There’s a problem with dates at UCF and SMU, but getting Indiana at home should help. Yeah, there will be a step back, but it’ll hardly be massive.
Realistic Best Case Record: 11-1Realistic Worst Case Record: 7-52022 Cincinnati Prediction, Spring Football Version: 10-2CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 11-1CFN 2021 Final Record: 13-1– Cincinnati 2022 Schedule
2020: 6-4 2019: 10-3 2018: 12-1
Gus Malzahn should have a whale of a team returning even after losing QB Dillon Gabriel to Oklahoma – John Rhys Plumlee is coming in from Ole Miss to make a push. The transfer portal is a huge help at offensive tackle, WR Kobe Hudson is a find from Auburn, and the losses on the defensive front should be overcome with a little work.
Yeah, the Knights get Louisville and Georgia Tech, but both games are in the Bounce House. So is the showdown against Cincinnati. When your roughest road game is East Carolina or Memphis, you have a nice schedule.
Realistic Best Case Record: 11-1Realistic Worst Case Record: 7-42022 UCF Prediction, Spring Football Version: 10-2CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 10-2CFN 2021 Final Record: 9-4– UCF 2022 Schedule
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– 2022 College Football Schedules By Teams: All 131 Schools