AAC’s Attempted Coup Of Mountain West Schools Won’t Work
Early June means random expansion talk.
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Three MW teams link to the AAC
Off season conference expansion is a right of passage for college athletics, specifically football, dating back to the near Pac-16 from a decade ago. The latest rounds of rumors, reports, and wishes come from the Group of Five and lower divisions.
The AAC really, really, really wants that P6 non-sense to be recognized as legitimate. Commissioner Mike Aresco says the right things and is vocal about getting his teams into the College Football Playoff discussion — take a hint Craig Thompson.
Aresco’s bold and annoying P6 is working to a degree and it helps his league has been to a New Year’s Six game more often than the rest of the Group of 5.
Expansion is only casually on his radar but there has been a lot of noise about Boise State wanting to expand its football empire with better competition and more money. There were emails sent by former head coach Bryan Harsin but that was with the prior athletic director. New AD, Jeramiah Dickey would love to make a huge impact in football and going to the AAC, might provide that. It would likely appease a lot of Boise State fans who feel the league has outgrown the Mountain West (hint: it hasn’t).
Teams are always getting floated to go the AAC and Mark Blaudschun of TMG Sports casually suggests San Diego State, Boise State, and Colorado State.
Divisions would look like this:
5. East Carolina
5. San Diego State
6.. Colorado State
7. Boise State
The idea is that a coast-to-coast conference could be enough to convince the tight-clenched fist from the Power 5 to allow the American to get in on their riches of automatic bids to the New Year’s Six and maybe to an expanded playoff.
The reality is that the P5 will try to block, as it always does, from any league to get in on the action. Also, as have said a thousand times by this here author, to be a Power league you not only need automatic access but also around $25 million per school per year to be competitive on that same financial level.
The American currently pays out approximately $7 million per year to each school. The Big 12 made the least out of the Power 5 schools and they brought in $30 million per year.
Adding Boise State, San Diego State and Colorado State would not suddenly give a new look AAC an increase in four-fold, it might not even get them to $10 million per year annually. The Broncos bring in a big name brand and the Aztecs have proven to be a fringe top-25 team the past five years, and the Rams have not been all that good for a few years and their last conference title was in 2002.
The extra games would increase the payout and some better teams but if Aresco or anyone thinks that just getting to 14 teams is enough to be considered as a power league, well they better go back to the drawing board.
This is something the Mountain West needs to look at because losing those schools would severely cripple the league. Thompson and others should be out on the offensive and at the very least have conversations open with potential schools to bring in the fold.