Online college football betting is here! The CFB season begins this week and the action will hit the ground running right away. While the SEC, ACC, PAC-12, and Big 10 get most of the attention the AAC is another conference with some decent programs. The Cincinnati Bearcats (+200) have won back-to-back conference titles and head into 2022 as a favorite once again. The Houston Cougars, who lost to the Bearcats in the grand finale, hold +200 odds as well. There are several other programs that should make noise though and take a step up, including UCF, East Carolina, and SMU. Keep reading for the AAC picks.
The Bearcats lost their two best players to the draft in quarterback Desmond Ridder and cornerback Ahmad Gardner. But, with an intriguing group of talent waiting to step in, Cincinnati is expected to be very good again. Ben Bryant and Evan Prater are fighting for the QB duties in place of Ridder, while they also have a productive running back room with the addition of LSU transfer Corey Kiner. Defensively, Cincy saw seven starters finish up their college careers, which could make one worry. However, there are young, hungry players ready to wreak havoc on the defensive end and match the 16.5 points allowed per game from 2021. The Bearcats finished 13-1 last year and an unbeaten season is honestly possible. Their biggest test comes in Week 1 as an underdog against Arkansas. If they get past the Razorbacks, 12-0 is truly realistic and a title in the AAC picks.
The Cougars are typically known for their basketball program, but the football team isn't half-bad either. Dana Holgorsen led Houston to a 12-2 record in his third season in 21' and scored 35.9 points per game a year ago and with Cincinnati heading into 2022 with a much different group, this is UH's time to make some noise and potentially take the AAC. Quarterback Clayton Tune returns looking to replicate his success from a year ago and he's got his favorite weapon in Nathaniel Dell out wide after he collected 12 TD's and 1,329 yards receiving in 2021. The defense was also strong last season, allowing a mere 20.2 points per contest. They're expected to be strong once again in that department. They don't face Cincinnati or UCF in the season, which is only going to help their case when it comes to potentially winning an AAC title.
Central Florida was dealt some unfortunate luck last season when quarterback Dillon Gabriel got injured, but they still finished 9-4 and even beat the Florida Gators in the Gasparilla Bowl. The Knights have two solid quarterbacks in John Rhys Plumlee and Mikey Keene who are more than capable of running the offense and their schedule is honestly not that difficult. UCF's toughest game is probably against Cincinnati. It also helps that 13 starters are returning, including their running back and several options downfield. Their defense impressed in 2021 and that should be the case again with a lot of the same players back in the fold. Louisville and Georgia Tech are two of their non-conference matchups and both are very winnable for the Knights. They're a possible dark horse in the AAC picks.
Cincinnati and Houston are definitely the teams to beat in the AAC. Even though the Bearcats have done a nice job of replacing a lot of the NFL talent that left last season, it's still a grey spot if they can be that good again. This is why I'm liking Houston in the AAC picks. The Cougars have their core returning and just fell short in the title game. That experience will prove to be the difference-maker when it's all said and down and it could very well be Cincy who they beat.