The Bearcats return seven offensive starters, as well as six defensive starters from a unit that finished ninth in the NCAA in total defense.
Central Florida, the conference’s defending champion, was next in the voting. The Knights went 12-1, beat Baylor 52–42 in the Fiesta Bowl last season and return 17 starters. UCF also finished 10th in the final AP Poll, the school’s highest ranking ever.
Houston, East Carolina and Southern Methodist completed the top five. South Florida, Memphis, Temple, Connecticut, Tulane, Tulsa rounded out the polling. East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa will be in their first season in the conference.
- Scooby Axson