IRVING, Texas – UCF has been tabbed as the preseason favorite in the American Athletic Conference for the third consecutive season as the Knights edged Cincinnati for the top spot in the conference’s 2020 football preseason media poll.

UCF received 10 of the possible 20 first-place votes in the media poll to finish with 204 points, while Cincinnati had seven first-place votes and 201 points. Memphis was third with 192 points and two first-place votes. Navy received one first-place vote in the poll.

UCF is ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press and USA Today preseason polls after the Knights went 10-3 last season, capping their third straight 10-win season. Head coach Josh Heupel, who is 22-4 in two years with the Knights, will look to quarterback Dillon Gabriel to lead an offense that averaged 540.5 yards per game in 2019, trailing only LSU nationally.

Cincinnati has turned in back-to-back 11-win seasons under head coach Luke Fickell, who enters his fourth year with the Bearcats. Cincinnati is ranked No. 20 in the AP preseason poll and No. 22 in the USA Today poll thanks to the return of 16 starters, including 13 of the team’s top 15 tacklers on a defense that led The American in fewest points allowed (20.6 ppg).

Memphis, which went 12-2 and won the 2019 American Athletic Conference Championship, was picked third in the poll as Ryan Silverfield enters his first full season as the Tigers’ head coach.

Silverfield joins USF’s Jeff Scott as The American’s new head coaches in 2020.

The American enjoyed another banner year in 2019 as four teams (Memphis, Navy, Cincinnati, UCF) finished the season ranked in the final national polls. The American ranked fourth among the 10 FBS leagues in nonconference winning percentage (38-17, .691), while its teams were a combined 36-9 against unranked nonconference opponents and 30-2 against opponents from outside the power conferences.

The 2020 season in The American begins this week, with three games on ESPN. SMU visits Texas State Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET, Memphis hosts Arkansas State Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, while Navy hosts BYU Monday at 8 p.m. ET.

2020 American Athletic Conference Preseason Media Poll

  Team (First-Place Votes)Points
 1.UCF (10)204
 2.Cincinnati (7)201
 3.Memphis (2)192
 5.Navy (1)125
 10.East Carolina42

Preseason Poll Notes

The favorite in the American Athletic Conference preseason media poll has ended up winning the conference title twice in the league’s first seven seasons:

 YearFavoriteConference FinishChampion
 2014Cincinnatit-1stUCF, Cincinnati, Memphis
 2015Cincinnatit-3rd EastHouston
 2016Houstont-3rd WestTemple
 2017USFt-2nd EastUCF
 2018UCF1st EastUCF
 2019UCF2nd EastMemphis