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Cincinnati picked to win AAC, with defending champ UCF second


Cincinnati, which has been one of the winningest programs in the nation the past 10 years, is the preseason media pick to win the American Athletic Conference.

The preseason poll was released Tuesday, during the AAC media day event.

Cincinnati -- which has 85 victories in the past 10 seasons, 17th-most nationally -- received 17 of a possible 30 first-place votes to out-poll defending champion UCF, which received seven first-place votes and was second overall. Houston got the other six first-place votes and was picked to finish third.

The rest of the voting: East Carolina was fourth, followed by SMU in fifth, USF in sixth, Memphis in seventh, Temple in eighth, Connecticut and Tulane tied in ninth and Tulsa 11th. ECU, Tulane and Tulsa are new to the league this season; all three came from Conference USA.

Cincinnati has won at least nine games six times in the past seven seasons and has reached double digits in wins five times in that stretch. The Bearcats were 9-3 last season, which was the first at Cincinnati for coach Tommy Tuberville.

UCF finished 12-1 last season, which was capped off by an upset of Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. Coach George O'Leary has a veteran team, but the Knights are breaking in new starters at quarterback and tailback. Last season's quarterback was Blake Bortles, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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