The 2023-24 college football season is swiftly approaching. The Tulane Green Wave are eager to begin their AAC-title-defending campaign. The conference received a major shakeup following the departures of Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston to the Big 12. Tulane will attempt to establish themselves as annual favorites.
The futures market for the impending campaign has been defined. BetOnline recently updated their odds for the 2024 AAC Championship Game winner. The odds shake out as follows:
- Tulane (+225)
- SMU (+260)
- UTSA (+475)
- Florida Atlantic (+550)
- Memphis (+700)
- North Texas (+2500)
- East Carolina (+2800)
- Temple (+2800)
- Navy (+3300)
- UAB (+4500)
THE FAVORITE: TULANE
The 2022 campaign was arguably the best in Tulane history. The 18th-ranked Green Wave enjoyed a magical season by defeating UCF 45-28 in the AAC Championship Game, their first conference championship since 1998. Tulane then defeated USC 46-45 in an instant classic Cotton Bowl that featured a legendary come-from-behind effort.
Quarterback Michael Pratt returns for a fourth season after throwing 27 touchdowns and rushing for 10 more in 2022. Pratt offers the program some much-needed continuity. Replacing bellcow running back Tyjae Spears is by far Tulane’s biggest challenge. Several defenders also departed, including linebacker Dorian Williams.
Replacing such talent is never easy for a non-blueblood program. There’s also a new defensive coordinator as Shiel Wood replaces Chris Hampton. The non-conference schedule includes Ole Miss and South Alabama. Tulane’s pedigree will be tested.
MY PICK: SMU
SMU Mustangs head coach Rhett Lashlee is entering his second season with the program. Lashlee is an offensive-minded leader that’s been laying down a foundation for future success. SMU appears on the verge of achieving big things.
Lashlee oversaw a 12th-ranked scoring offense that put up 37.2 points per contest. Quarterback Tanner Mordecai transferred to Wisconsin, and should be replaced by understudy Preston Stone. Stone possesses a ton of potential. He’s been thrust into an ideal spot to reach his performance ceiling.
Losing Rashee Rice hurts, but last year’s second-leading receiver Jordan Kerley is back. Tyler Lavine and Miami transfer Jaylan Knighton should form the conference’s most effective one-two punch at running back. The offense will score points in bunches.
SMU hasn’t captured a conference championship since 1982. The program last competed in a title game in 2010, having been defeated by UCF for the 2010 Conference-USA championship. SMU’s championship drought could come to an end in 2023.
THE UNDERDOG: UTSA
The UTSA Roadrunners are aiming to experience an exciting debut campaign in the AAC after joining the conference from the C-USA. The Roadrunners have the pieces in place to push Tulane and SMU for the AAC Championship. Fourth-year head coach Jeff Traylor is a rising star in college football.
The Roadrunners spent the offseason preparing for their new-look challenge. The program returns nine starters on offense, including superstar quarterback Frank Harris. Harris is capable of going blow-for-blow with the conference’s heavyweights.
Can UTSA play spoiler? A Nov. 25 showdown in New Orleans against Tulane looms especially large and could help determine the conference favorite. Non-conference play includes road games against Houston and Tennessee and a tricky home date with Army.
- Sep 29, 2023
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