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SMU

The Oddsmakers have the Mustangs as a middle-of-the-road team in the AAC this season, but this could be the sleeper team of the conference. Much of their success will hinge on the continued development of Gilbert and a rebuilt defensive line, but they do not have Louisville on the schedule and will face Rutgers and UCF at home. Circle November 9 as a make or break game in SMU’s title hopes when it travels to Cincinnati to face the Bearcats.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8569

Ohio State

Ohio State went undefeated last year, but played under no pressure with the postseason ban. Would things have gone differently had OSU played knowing that a loss or two might cost them a shot at the conference title or national championship? Hard to say. But the Buckeyes are under no such ban this year, so we'll find out. And Ohio State now plays under extra pressure in that a conference championship might not be enough; it's national championship or bust. Offensively the Buckeyes will be fine, there's talent aplenty to fill the holes on defense and the schedule is accommodating.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8633

Houston

Houston is going to once again have to put up a ton of points to exceed a projected win total of 5.5 seeing that any major improvement on defense is still a couple of years in the making. The one thing we know for sure is that, win or lose, the Cougars will always be a fun team to watch. The first half of their schedule is manageable, but the losses could start piling up quickly down the stretch with Rutgers, UCF, Louisville, and Cincinnati on the slate in their final six games.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8643

Temple

This program continues to attract some of the better local talent from the Philadelphia area but it is going to take a season or two for Rhule to turn it into a cohesive team that can successfully compete in the AAC. Temple’s projected win total appears to be right on the mark with an aggressive non-conference schedule that includes a season opener on the road against Notre Dame. The Owls will then face Louisville at home and Cincinnati on the road in their first two conference games.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8662

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has played in the Rose Bowl three straight years. The Badgers lost all three, but they were also dogged in all three, and lost all three by one score or less. Now UW moves on with a new head coach who hopes to get them over the hump. Most teams would miss a guy like Montee Ball, but not Wisconsin; they'll just plug in Melvin Gordon and/or James White and keep rolling along.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8543

Oklahoma State

Despite losing key players from 2011’s roster including Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State managed to keep the ship afloat last season with an 8-5 SU and ATS record. Injury issues forced three inexperienced quarterbacks into playing time last year, but all three performed well and now have that experience to fall back on coming into 2013. Regardless of who is playing quarterback, Oklahoma State will have one of the most explosive offenses in the league.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8548

Penn State

Penn State played with great spirit last year, a camaraderie born out of the controversy none of the players had anything to do with. Now the Lions have to stave off a letdown. They also have to find themselves a new QB, fill some key holes on defense, and deal with a lack of depth. Penn State also won't be able to surprise anyone this year, so they probably won't go 9-3 ATS again. Coach Bill O'Brien, to his great credit, spurned interest from elsewhere to return for another season with the Lions; but catching lightning in a bottle twice is hard to do.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8645

Memphis

While the Oddsmakers are not bullish on the Tigers’ chances to be a factor in this season’s AAC title race, they do have the ability to play the role of spoiler along the way if they can find a way to move the ball through the air. They also have a shot at a strong start with a season opener against Duke at home. Next up is a road game against Middle Tennessee and another home game against Arkansas State. Memphis will be tested in its AAC opener with UCF coming to town on October 5.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8651

Texas

Texas has the talent on both sides of the ball to be one of the nation’s elite teams. With David Ash in firm control of the starting quarterback gig, 10 starters returning on offense, and the introduction of the spread attack, the offense should be even better than it was in 2012. After compiling nine straight 10+ win seasons from 2001 to 2009, Texas has underperformed over the last three seasons despite still boasting some of the nation’s most talented players. Can Texas find its swagger again in 2013, or will it be another year of untapped potential for Mack Brown’s squad?

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8541

Louisville

It is clear that Louisville is the team to beat in the AAC this season but there are a couple of potential pitfalls on the schedule starting with back-to-back home games against Rutgers and Central Florida in mid-October. If the Cardinals do manage to remain undefeated through the month of November, their biggest test will then come on December 5 with a road game against Cincinnati to close out the regular season. They should be favored in every game they play with a soft non-conference slate, so the only way this team does not win the AAC is if it beats itself somewhere along the line.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8590

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