Temple is projected to finish 10th in the American Athletic Conference’s football preseason rankings, two spots below the team’s predicted finish from a year ago.

The Owls finished second to last in the conference with a 1-6 record last year, playing an abbreviated season and the fewest total games of any team in the conference. Their 46 points in this year’s preseason poll are their fewest since they joined the conference in 2013.

Cincinnati was appointed the early favorite to win the AAC title thanks to 22 first-place votes from select media members.

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Last season’s conference championship was the first for the Bearcats (9-1l, 6-0) since they joined the AAC. They were led by quarterback Desmond Ridder, the conference’s 2020 offensive player of the year.

Central Florida, SMU, Houston, and Memphis round out the top five projected finishers among the conference’s 11 member institutions.

The conference’s preseason favorite has ended up winning the league title twice since its inception in 2013, Cincinnati tying for the title in 2014 and UCF winning it in 2018.

Temple graduate center C.J. Perez received individual recognition, being named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, awarded to the nation’s best center. This is the second consecutive year he’s been named to the list.

The only other Owl named to a similar list is Re-al Mitchell. The redshirt sophomore quarterback made the watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy, recognizing student athletes who have a positive impact on society.

Last season, the AAC sent a team to a New Year’s Six bowl for the fifth time in the seven-year history of the College Football Playoff structure.

The Owls’ 2021 season will begin Sept. 2 at Rutgers, with kickoff at 6:30 p.m.