Thursday was a big day for the American Athletic Conference as they added six programs to the conference to replace the four that jumped ship to the Big Twelve. With those six additions to the AAC came a little backlash towards Mike Aresco, but to be honest, four out of the six have a lot to offer, and the other two are very strong in secondary sports, which would make the American all that much better.
Now, I know what you’re thinking how could adding UAB, UTSA, Rice, North Texas, Charlotte, and Florida Atlantic be a good fit for a proud conference like the American? Well, in all honesty, it’s a valid question, one that a lot of folks will be asking for years.
Yet, the answer can be found in both the long-term success of these programs and the market fan bases they bring to the table for the American Athletic Conference. Not to mention, adding UAB to the conference brings back one of the greatest rivalries in College Athletics between the Blazers of UAB and the Memphis Tigers.
Over the last five years, College Football alone has taken stark notice of programs like UAB and UTSA. Both programs have turned into the sweethearts of College Football, and with them joining a much better conference in the AAC, the sky is the limit. Both UAB and UTSA have also put an enormous amount of money into their football programs, putting them within the top 50 programs in the nation.
As far as the other four go, all four have had sustained success over a long period in various sports. For example, Rice has seven College World Series Appearances, including a 2003 National Championship. To simply put it, Rice adds a whole new level of baseball competition to the American, a level of competition in baseball that the conference has never seen before.
Now, let’s talk about the almighty dollar bill and how that factored into the AAC’s decision to add these six teams. All six universities are in or around major TV Markets that rank within the top 15 nationally. So what does that mean for the AAC? Honestly, more money for every school in the conference, including the charters members like Memphis and SMU.
Overall, with the addition of these six teams, the AAC is still in the best shape its ever been in, and the future is bright. It might not have been the programs that everybody wanted, but to grow the conference, you have got to trust the process and what Commissioner Aresco is trying to build the AAC into. As it stands now, the American is primed and ready to take the step into the future of College Athletics.