NORTHERN EXPOSURE: AAC In No Hurry To Do Anything

American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco says his conference will take its time on making its next move

For the time being, it will be business as usual for the American Athletic Conference.

On Tuesday, ACC commissioner Mike Aresco will make his annual state of the conference evaluation in Newport, RI, talking about a 12 team conference, with two divisions and a conference championship game.

He will point out that he feels the AAC is the best--by a wide margin of the Group of 5 conferences looking for membership in the Playoff Group of 5 leagues--ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC).

He will acknowledge that after this season there are no certainties because UConn has jumped from the AAC to the Big East in most of its sports and that the league will not keep a spot for UConn as a football only member.

He will say that talks with UConn are ongoing and that the cost to the Huskies of departing--rumored to be $12 million for an exit after this season--are still being worked out.

But then Aresco, who has watched the AAC grow from a hybrid conference of former Big East and other conference schools into a 12 team conference which has produced Top 20 and major bowl contending teams such as Houston, UCF, and USF, will be just fine without UConn.

So much so that Aresco sees no sense of urgency in doing anything right now.

""We have a league that is by far the best of the Group of 5 conferences that can compete with most leagues in the Playoff five and that will be strong without UConn,'' said Aresco. ""We're not going to call anybody because right now we don't see anyone of value to add. That could change and we will look at all our options.

But for now, I think we will be just fine with 11 teams. We will ask for a waiver allowing us to play a championship game without 12 teams and without playing a complete round robin (10 games) conference schedule. We will have one division and match the two best teams in a championship game.''

Aresco is careful enough to leave some wiggle room. ""Things could change, and we will examine everything at a deliberate pace, but we have a great partnership with ESPN and I think we will continue to move forward in both football, basketball and our other sports.

Aresco will not mention any specific names, but he did say, "We have had lots of interest. It's just a mater of looking at each situation carefully and decide what is best for us.''

Aresco says that the AAC is far ahead of other Group of 5 conferences cuch as Conference USA, the MAC and the Mountain West. ""I heae the talk that we're not the Big Ten or the SEC, but nobody is. Not the Big 12 and not the PAC 12. But we have teams that can compete at that level.

UCF, which has produced the best overall record in the FBS the past two seasons. is the AAC's marquee team.

UConn's value to the conference was not in football, but in other sports, such as men's and women's basketball.

The Huskies finally went against the trend when they basically made a conference switch based on basketball and the other sports, rather than football, which has driven almost every bus down the highway to conference re-alignment for the past 15 years.

Aresco made it clear that he wishes UConn luck in its future, but that life will gone in the AAC without them without much reconstruction.

As the 2019 season starts to unfold this week with various conference football media days, the AAC will move forward this week as well, with a future Aresco says is as promising as it ever was.

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Mark Blaudschun
EditorMark Blaudschun
Mark Blaudschun
EditorMark Blaudschun
Mark Blaudschun
EditorMark Blaudschun
Mark Blaudschun
EditorMark Blaudschun
Mark Blaudschun
EditorMark Blaudschun
Mark Blaudschun
EditorMark Blaudschun
Mark Blaudschun
EditorMark Blaudschun
Mark Blaudschun
EditorMark Blaudschun
Mark Blaudschun
EditorMark Blaudschun
Mark Blaudschun
EditorMark Blaudschun