Will AAC Cement Itself Over Mountain West In Football?
What if the American gets two teams in a New Year’s Six game?
Can the Mountain West play catch up?
With the Mountain West on the sidelines this fall there are a lot of teams playing, specifically the AAC. The Mountain West and American are entangled in a fight to be considered for the best Group of Five league.
The AAC does a better job of promotion with its still lame claims as the sixth-power league but on the field it is close with the American having a slight edge over the past few years.
This year could be a game-changer for this battle. The FBS is going forward with its major awards like the Heisman Trophy, College Football Playoff, and the New Year’s Six bowl games.
CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm put together — or shot a dart — his bowl projections which look very unique with four conferences not playing this fall, just like seeing a Sun Belt team in the Holiday or Outback Bowl as Palm projects.
With only 76 teams playing this fall, it allows for a lot of teams to move up and the big gut check to the Mountain West is seeing two AAC teams in a big time bowl game. Cincinnati is projected to play Texas A&M in the Fiesta Bowl and Memphis vs. Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
That is huge publicity for those two schools plus it gives them a whole lot of extra money — assuming payouts are the same with attendance still up in the air — and exposure for being in the biggest games of the year.
Also, UCF is in the Citrus Bowl which has a higher payout than most, if not all, of the AAC bowl tie-ins. This allows the league to make more money, exposure, and playing against Power 5 teams.
Of the games that the American are in, they are facing five teams from a Power 5 conference. That is huge for the chance to knock them off and gain even more publicity.
If the AAC wins both New Year’s Six games and knocks off another P5 team then they will vault up higher and that will make it nearly impossible for the Mountain West to catch up.
A spring season for the Mountain West will likely feature just eight games, none against a Power 5 team, and who knows what a postseason if any will happen. Having a Mountain West team or two beat up everyone with ease won’t move the needle compared to winning vs. a Power 5 team, even a bad one.
The Mountain West is in a lose-lose situation vs. the American. The only way the league won’t fall further behind the AAC is if they either don’t go to those New Year’s six games but if they do the American needs to get blown out.
Basically, it is out of the Mountain West’s hand to remain competitive or prove itself to be as good or better than the American.