Sources: AAC targets Army as SMU replacement
Pete Thamel, ESPNSep 2, 2023, 09:38 AM ET Army has become the American Athletic Conference’s leading expansion target, sources said.After a call with AAC presidents and athletic directors Friday morning, it was clear that Army was the league’s leading choice to replace SMU, sources said. Commissioner Mike Aresco has begun informally exploring Army as an expansion candidate.Aresco has engaged
with Army athletic director Mike Buddie about potential subscription, sources said. The addition of Army would be for football just, an arrangement similar to the one Navy has with the conference.Editor’s Picks No choice looms, as both sides need to explore more information, sources stated. Army would take the spot
left by SMU, which agreed Friday to sign up with the ACC in 2024, leaving the American with 13 teams. Army would come in as the 14th. Other schools were discussed Friday, but none gained substantial traction and just Army has gotten outreach from the AAC.One thing that will be very important to Army is keeping the Navy game on the exact same date at the end of the college football calendar, which would likely imply it’s a nonconference game. The Army-Navy game takes place on the weekend after the championship game games, a window that guarantees big viewership.Army is presently an independent, which would limit the normal issues of leaving if both sides continue with the courtship.SMU left the AAC on Friday, joining Cal and
Stanford in increasing the ACC to 18 teams, 17 of which play football. Beginning next year, the Big 10 also will have 18 programs, while the
SEC and Big 12 will have 16 each.