AAC expert picks 2023: Projected order of finish, bold predictions, championship favorites

The 2023 season marks the dawn of a new era for the AAC as the old guard of Cincinnati, Houston and UCF have departed for the Big 12, making way for a group of six additions headlined by title contender UTSA. The Roadrunners are coming off back-to-back Conference USA titles and will look to keep their championship streak rolling in their new home against a group of returning AAC squads with the spotlight on reigning champion No. 24 Tulane.

The Green Wave program experience historic highs last season, finishing 12-2 with a Cotton Bowl victory over USC after defeating UCF in the AAC Championship Game. After flirting with Georgia Tech, coach Willie Fritz is back along with star quarterback Michael Pratt to ensure Tulane will be a legitimate contender to repeat atop the conference.

Elsewhere, the AAC features several new coaches looking to establish their programs in the revamped conference. Among the headliners is Tom Herman at FAU as the former Texas coach returns to the league where he first rose to prominence while leading the Houston program. With former Texas and Nebraska quarterback Casey Thompson highlighting a roster that includes loads of returning production, the Owls could be in line for serious improvement from last season’s 5-7 mark.

Our CBS Sports college football experts are here to provide their picks and predictions for the AAC ahead of the 2023 season. Check them all out below.

Bold predictions

Dennis Dodd: UTSA coach Jeff Traylor will win 12 games (again), win a conference title (again), all while riding star quarterback Frank Harris to a New Year’s Six bowl. To make it symmetrical, the Roadrunners will beat defending conference champ Tulane and then face 2021 AAC champ Cincinnati — now in the Big 12 — in that…..

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