I mean who is even left from when it was called the Big East (which was up until 2012). Let’s break that down first:
- UConn was in the Big East from the get go but only joined in football in 2004.
- Temple was terrible, was kicked out, went to the MAC, got good again, and was re-invited to the Big East in 2012 for football (and a year later for all sports).
- Cincinnati joined in 2005.
- USF also joined in 2005.
So a third of the conference. That’s it. And with rumours of UConn, USF, and Cincinnati potentially moving in the next few years, there’s not much left to connect the AAC to the Big East. Kind of sad really. I had done a what-if post about how the Big East fortunes could have changed with one simple vote. Would have changed a good chunk of the college football landscape from the way we see it today.
Alright, let’s get on with the predictions. Let’s be honest here: The American Conference and the Mountain West conference are the cream of the crop of the G5. If they somehow got their act together (and if travel costs didn’t matter to them) they could create a Power conference that would be able to compete with the other P5 conferences. That may never happen but it’s something to think about. So for now, AAC prediction time followed by some ruminating (not marinating):
- Yes, USF will be that good. They have the schedule, the coaching, and the talent to mow through the AAC and get the New Year’s Six spot (this is what I predict to happen). The only potential landmine games are against Temple, Houston, and Tulsa and they get all three at home. Not saying the New Sombrero is much of a home-field advantage but I’m certain the Bulls will feel better not having to travel to these locales.
- Surprise! Tulsa is the team I have tabbed to win the AAC West. Yes they won’t have a better overall record than Houston or Memphis (the two teams I have them tied with); however the Golden Hurricane gets both these teams at home and I expect them to win both which would be the tiebreaker. I mean let’s be honest, they more than likely will get smoked by USF in the AAC Championship. But just getting there is a feat in and of itself for a school that is one of the smallest in FBS. This also means Philip Montgomery will have one foot out the door if all this comes to fruition.
- SMU is on the way up. Chad Morris has his program going in the right direction. Now I am not saying they are back to the early-to-mid 80s in terms of how good they are. For one, those teams were amazing and two, I am sure Morris couldn’t find enough boosters to pay these guys the same amounts even thirty years later. What does this all mean? Morris is probably gone if they meet or exceed my prediction.
- I am not as high on UCF, Cincinnati, Navy, or East Carolina as many prognosticators it seems. Navy will be good but they have three other good G5 teams in their own division. UCF, Cincy, and ECU don’t have that same issue but I also don’t believe they have the talent to break through to be bowl eligible. Saying that, it wouldn’t fully surprise me if one of those teams did make it at least to the .500 level. I will say that everyone should watch out for Scott Frost’s Knights next season though.
- So getting back to the AAC Title game, it should be a blowout. Should be. We know how those types of games have gone in the past. For every blowout that was supposed to be a blowout, we have a close game/upset. But seriously, USF should blow the doors off anyone it faces in the American Conference Championship Game.
- Since USF would go to the New Year’s Six, six AAC teams would fill bowl spots. Problem is? They have seven bowl tie-ins. Who thinks up this shit? Seven is way too many for a conference like this. I digress. Anyway, I have UCF filling that final bowl spot if their football players are smart enough. What a stupid way to fill a bowl spot.
Alright, done with this ragtag bunch of upper echelon misfits. Next up, the Mountain West Conference. Ladies and gentlemen (I probably could say Gentlemen and more Gentlemen but anyway), we are 24 days away from opening day. Brace yourselves!