UCF pulled off one of the greatest Group of 5 seasons in college football history in 2017. As the Knights enter the 2018 season, they are the favorites once again in the American Athletic Conference, according to Bovada.
Last year, Central Florida had the seventh-best odds to win the American at +2500. While the odds are much different this year, Memphis, Houston and South Florida find themselves near the top with the second to fourth best odds of winning it all.
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The American will be home to arguably the nation's best NFL prospect in Ed Oliver, but it is still the Knights' conference. They return a slew of offensive weapons, including Heisman darkhorse McKenzie Milton. Even losing former head coach Scott Frost to Nebraska has not tempered expectations. Many anticipate Josh Heupel to take off right where Frost left off.
Memphis, surprisingly, is right behind UCF. After both Riley Ferguson and Paxton Lynch brokered great college performances into the NFL, the Tigers will rely on Sophomore David Moore. Ferguson's departure isn't the only hole the Tigers will be forced to fill. All-American Anthony Miller is now playing in Chicago. In their stead, Mike Norvell will rely on a dangerous rushing attack. Darrell Henderson returns along with Patrick Taylor. Henderson ran for 1,154 yards. Taylor chipped in 866 yards and 13 touchdowns.
If you are looking for a longshot, Temple may be a team to eye. Recently ranked 53rd in our Top 100 countdown, the Owls will rely on a stingy defense that finished 40th nationally. Back for another season is the entire linebacker group back and four out of Temple's top-five tacklers.