NEWPORT, R.I. — Temple has been picked to finish fourth in the East Division of the American Athletic Conference’s preseason football media poll. The poll was released during Tuesday morning’s AAC football media day.

Two-time defending overall AAC champion Central Florida was picked first, followed by Cincinnati, USF, Temple, ECU and UConn.

Memphis edged Houston as the preseason pick in the West.

Last year Temple finished second to UCF in the East. The Owls were 8-5 overall and 7-1 in the AAC, with the lone conference loss being a 52-40 defeat at UCF back on Nov. 1.

The Owls were picked to finish third in the East in last year’s preseason poll.

“We saw that and laughed because every year it seems we are picked fourth,” said Chapelle Russell, a graduate school linebacker, who was fourth on the team with 70 tackles last year. “We go out and exceed expectations and that is what we have to go out and do again.”

Besides being picked to win the East, UCF was also selected as the favorite to win the overall AAC title, earning 12 of a possible 30 votes.

The fourth AAC championship will be played Saturday Dec. 7 at the home site of the division champion with the best conference record.

2019 American Athletic Conference Preseason Football Media Poll

EAST DIVISION

Points (first place votes in parenthesis)

1. UCF - 169 (19)

2. Cincinnati - 157 (11)

3. USF - 107

4. Temple - 101

5. ECU - 68

6. UConn - 30

WEST DIVISION

Points (first place votes in parenthesis)

1. Memphis - 165 (15)

2. Houston - 162 (14)

3. Tulane - 108

4. SMU - 87 (1)

5. Navy - 70

6. Tulsa - 38

AAC CHAMPIONSHIP

Votes

UCF -12

Cincinnati - 8

Memphis - 6

Houston - 4