1. Sports
  2. /
  3. USF Bulls

UCF again picked to win AAC title by league media

The Knights edged Cincinnati in a balloting of 30 media members
MONICA HERNDON | Times UCF quarterback Darriel Mack Jr. (8), getting tackled by USF defensive end Kirk Livingstone (94) last season, recently suffered a broken ankle.
Published Jul. 16
Updated Jul. 16

NEWPORT, R.I. ― If the American Athletic Conference pundits are correct, UCF’s reign atop the league will continue a third year.

Despite the loss of their top two quarterbacks from last season, the Knights were picked to win the league championship in its preseason media poll.

UCF received 12 of a possible 30 votes to win the AAC, and received 19 first-place votes in the East Division.

MORE USF: Video: Is Tampa a long-term home for USF’s Charlie Strong?

USF was picked to finish third in the East, behind UCF and Cincinnati. No voter picked the Bulls to win the conference title. Memphis (15 first-place votes) edged Houston (14) in balloting for the West.

Whomever starts at quarterback for UCF in its Aug. 29 opener against Florida A&M will never have taken a snap in a game for the Knights.

McKenzie Milton, the catalyst behind the program’s recent 25-game win streak, still is recovering from the horrific knee injury sustained in last year’s game at USF. His backup, Darriel Mack Jr., recently suffered a broken ankle.

That means Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush, freshman early enrollee Dillon Gabriel and redshirt freshman Quadry Jones will vie for the job when preseason camp commences July 30.

“Not concerned at all, man,” Knights redshirt junior defensive back Richie Grant said Tuesday.

“This spring showed me so much, man. Those four guys that were competing this spring, I have no idea who’s gonna be named starter, so that’s a great thing.”

The favorite in the preseason poll ultimately has won the AAC title only twice in the league’s six-year history.

2019 AAC preseason media poll

Overall champion

UCF (12 votes)

Cincinnati (8)

Memphis (6)

Houston (4)

East Division

(first-place votes in parentheses)

1. UCF (19)

2. Cincinnati (11)

3. USF

4. Temple

5. East Carolina

6. Connecticut

West Division

(first-place votes in parentheses)

1. Memphis (15)

2. Houston (14)

3. Tulane

4. SMU (1)

5. Navy

6. Tulsa

Contact Joey Knight at Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.


  1. USF defensive back Bentlee Sanders (20) and the rest of the returning Bulls are waiting to find out who their new coach will be. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    As athletic director Michael Kelly’s search continues, so does our Bulls bracketology.
  2. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
The University of South Florida head coach Willie Taggart  gives the bulls sign while leading his football team towards the entrance of Raymond James Stadium in preparation to take on Western Carolina University in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, August 30, 2014.  JONES, OCTAVIO  |  Tampa Bay Times
    We know there is at least some interest between the Bulls and their former coach. While we await clarity, let’s weigh the pros and cons.
  3. Three days after announcing his dismissal of football coach Charlie Strong, USF athletic director Michael Kelly announced the school is parting ways with volleyball coach Courtney Draper. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    The former Eckerd coach reach the postseason only once in eight seasons with the Bulls
  4. A Willie Taggart return to USF wouldn't be a monumental upset. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Who emerges as the lead candidate for the Bulls vacancy from our 16-coach field?
  5. The former Bulls coach badly wants a second act in Tampa
  6. Second-year USF athletic director Michael Kelly has made it clear the Bulls' next football coach must be willing to engage the community and campaign for a new football-exclusive facility. [Times files] "BRONTE WITTPENN  | TIMES"
    Michael Kelly has made it fairly clear his next football hire must be part coach, part promoter
  7. USF athletic director Michael Kelly was the Chief Operating Officer of the College Football Playoff from 2012-18 and sat in on all of the meetings of the yearly selection committee. He needs to put that knowledge and those relationships to good use as he looks for the next up-and-coming coach to take over at USF. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    John Romano | The Bulls start off with built-in disadvantages when it comes to money and prestige. Be bold rather than safe when hiring a new football coach, Bulls.
  8. USF sophomore Xavier Castaneda (1), driving to the basket last season against East Carolina, scored a career-high 18 points in Monday's 65-55 triumph against Furman at the Yuengling Center. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] JONES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The sophomore point guard hits four 3-pointers in the Bulls’ 65-55 triumph
  9. Second-year USF athletic director Michael Kelly is seeking the fifth football coach in school history. Octavio Jones
    The Bulls’ second-year athletic director plans to move briskly to find a replacement for Charlie Strong.
  10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White. Tampa Bay Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: Bucs-Jaguars rewind and who will be the next USF football coach