Options for American Athletic Conference after Cincinnati, Houston and UCF leave AAC to join Big 12

The subsequent domino in realignment fell on Friday when the Big 12 officially invited Cincinnati, Houston, UCF and BYU to the convention. The 4 groups will change Texas and Oklahoma, who introduced in July that they’re leaving the Huge 12 for the SEC. The information out of the Huge 12 begs the query — what will occur to the American Athletic Convention? Three of the 4 groups headed to the the Energy 5 presently play within the AAC, which payments itself as a “Energy Six” convention.

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco shortly addressed the defections of three of the highest packages in his convention in a press release launched Friday morning.

“At the moment’s information confirms what we’ve mentioned all alongside relating to our standing as an influence convention,” Aresco said in the statement. “The irony that three of our faculties are being requested to take the place of the 2 marquee faculties that are leaving the Huge 12 just isn’t misplaced on us. Our convention was focused for exceeding expectations in a system that wasn’t designed to accommodate our success.”

It is time for the AAC to begin determining the place it goes from right here. It will have eight soccer packages as soon as the mud settles, and Aresco is open to including extra.

“Our remaining faculties are unwavering of their dedication to competing and succeeding on the highest stage and we won’t permit exterior elements to place a ceiling on our potential,” he mentioned. “We stay unified and resolute and can take into account all of our choices as we transfer The American into our second decade and past.”

It is a protected assumption that it’s going to attempt to discover comparable markets to the departed three faculties both from a media market or geographic perspective. Let’s break down just a few of its choices

The most important media market plan

Candidates: UAB, Georgia State, Charlotte

If the AAC chooses to go after media markets, it bodes properly for a program like UAB, which sits in the midst of football-crazed Birmingham, Alabama, has a model new stadium that is opening this 12 months and is a constant winner beneath coach Invoice Clark. The fan base is so passionate that it efficiently gained the battle to deliver this system again after it was shut down following the 2014 season.

It may look to Georgia State which, whereas comparatively younger in soccer, is smack dab within the heart of downtown Atlanta and performs in Middle Parc Credit score Union Stadium — which is the previous Turner Area and 1996 Olympic Stadium. 

Charlotte would even be a match right here. The Charlotte, North Carolina, media market is not as large as Atlanta and the 49ers program continues to be in its infancy, nevertheless it has a coach on the rise in Will Healy and hasn’t completed under .500 in convention play since 2017.

Dennis Dodd joined Chip Patterson to interrupt down the whole lot on Huge 12 growth together with if it should add any extra members, who might be subsequent, why SMU wasn’t invited, what this implies for different conferences and rather more. Pay attention under and subscribe to the Cover 3 College Football podcast for top-notch perception and evaluation past the gridiron.

The current success plan

Candidates: Liberty, Coastal Carolina, Appalachian State, Louisiana

Soccer drives the bus in faculty athletics, so one route Aresco and the remainder of the AAC may take is the one which results in current soccer success. A number of groups talked about above match that invoice, however there are others to be examined. 

Liberty went 10-1 and completed ranked No. 17 within the AP High 25 final 12 months and has a coach in Hugh Freeze who’s extensively generally known as one of the vital modern teaching minds within the nation. It has solely been an FBS program since 2018, however hasn’t completed under .500 since 2005 when it went 1-11 as a member of the Huge South convention within the FCS.

Coastal Carolina would even be a stable choice. The Chanticleers went 11-1 final 12 months — its fourth season in FBS — and has one of the vital sought-after coaches within the nation in Jamey Chadwell. 

Fellow Solar Belt squads Appalachian State and Louisiana may additionally match this invoice. Neither workforce is in a significant media market, however the historical past of the Mountaineers is well-chronicled and the Ragin’ Cajuns have performed in each Solar Belt Championship Recreation because it started in 2018.

The nationwide plan

Candidates: Boise State, San Diego State

The AAC has restricted itself to the Japanese and Central time zones, and has a big footprint within the Southeast and in Texas. Does it have to remain that method, although? Not essentially.

It may increase to develop into a nationwide model by poaching Group of 5 energy Boise State away from the Mountain West. The Broncos have 17 double-digit win seasons since 1999, have completed within the High 25 13 instances since 2002 and have been to the Fiesta Bowl 3 times. 

It would not damage to get the state of California within the combine, and San Diego State checks a number of containers. The Aztecs are in a significant media market, have double-digit win seasons in 4 of the final six seasons and might be opening a brand new on-campus stadium in 2022.

If the AAC can add these two within the combine along with different groups inside its established footprint, it will actually be a nationwide model. | Choices for American Athletic Convention after Cincinnati, Houston and UCF go away AAC to affix Huge 12


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