Bulls picked to win AAC East in media poll
USF, which returns nearly every offensive skill starter from last season's 8-5 team, has been picked to win the East Division by the American Athletic Conference media.
The forecast comes a year after USF was picked fifth in the East in the same preseason poll.
"My thoughts on that is, it's better than last year," Coach Willie Taggart said.
"We understand that's good for our fan base, good for our media, we understand we've got to do it on the football field. Houston and Temple are still the teams to beat, they were the teams that were in the conference championship last year."
The poll was released Tuesday morning, prior to the start of the league's media day at the Hyatt Regency Newport. Reigning conference champ Houston was the overwhelming pick to repeat as league champion, receiving 27 of a possible 30 votes.
The Bulls received 15 first-place votes in balloting for the East, with Temple (nine) and Cincinnati (six) the only other division schools getting first-place votes. Houston received all 30 first-place votes in West Division balloting.
"We're just gonna let it play out," Bulls QB Quinton Flowers said. "I can't do nothing about that. They got us to win, we've just got to go out every day and play one game at a time."
Here is the Times' preseason ballot.
2016 American Athletic Conference Preseason Media Poll
Teams listed with first-place votes (in parentheses) and total points
1. USF (15) -- 164
2. Temple (9) -- 144
3. Cincinnati (6) -- 130
4. Connecticut -- 89
5. East Carolina -- 55
6. UCF -- 48
1. Houston (30) -- 180
2. Navy -- 128
3. Memphis -- 124
4. Tulsa -- 92
5. SMU -- 64
6. Tulane -- 41
Overall champion: Houston (27), USF (2), Temple (1)