AAC sneak peek, Part 1: Burning concerns and players to watch
The American Athletic Association changed quality with amount. It will take a while to figure out if that was the right move.Easily the most consistently strong of the conferences known (to AAC commissioner Mike Aresco’s inconvenience)as college football’s mid-major Group of 5, the AAC lost Cincinnati, Houston and UCF– winners of the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021 conference titles, not to point out the 2014 Fiesta Bowl(UCF ), 2015 Peach Bowl (Houston)and 2018 Peach Bowl(UCF) and individuals in the 2021 College Football Playoff( Cincy )– to the Huge 12 in the latest round of the Realignment Wars. Other AAC programs have flourished sometimes throughout the CFP era, however that’s a lot of program power to lose.As tends to be the case with conference adjustment, when members are plucked away by somebody higher up on the totem pole, the exact same is then done to someone lower. The AAC took a tremendous six schools from Conference USA, consisting of the winners of the past 6 C-USA crowns: UTSA (2021 and 2022), UAB (2018 and 2020) and Florida Atlantic (2017 and 2019). They tossed in the 2013 champ (Rice), a team that has played in two C-USA Championships six years (North Texas) and a major-market Charlotte team as well.Only one of
these teams (UTSA) is predicted to contend for a conference title right away. 4 of the other 5 are breaking in brand-new head coaches, and Rice stays interred in a long-lasting rebuild. But when you can’t have a much better AAC, you may also have a bigger one.Let’s preview the AAC! We’ll look at the six newbies this week and the eight holdovers next week.Every week through the offseason, Bill Connelly will preview another division from the Group of 5 and Power 5 specifically for ESPN+, eventually including all 133 FBS groups. The previews will consist of 2022 breakdowns, 2023 sneak peeks and burning questions for each group.