American Athletic Conference college football preview, Part 1: Projections, burning questions, favorite players

The American Athletic Conference has been the best of the Group of 5 conferences, on average, for a couple of reasons. It usually has the best teams, of course -- six of the group's eight New Year's Six bowl bids have gone to AAC champions since the College Football Playoff and NY6 structure was established.

It also tends to have the smallest amount of dead weight. Every current conference member has finished 43rd or better in SP+ at least once over the past eight seasons, and current members have finished worse than 110th only four times in the past six years.

We'll see how things play out when conference realignment changes G5 conferences' makeup in the coming seasons, but the current AAC tends to be better than most at both the top and the bottom. We'll talk about the former next week and the latter today. In part one of this offseason's AAC preview, we'll look at the bottom six teams based on recent SP+ projections: Tulane, East Carolina, Tulsa, South Florida, Navy and Temple.

Every week through the offseason, Bill Connelly will preview another division from the Group of 5 and Power 5 exclusively for ESPN+, ultimately including all 131 FBS teams. The previews will include 2021 breakdowns, 2022 previews and burning questions for each team.

Earlier previews: MWC West | MWC Mountain