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Report: Colorado State, Air Force Latest College Football Programs Eyeing Move to AAC

As conference realignment continues to change the college football landscape, two Mountain West Conference programsColorado State and Air Force are expected to join the American Athletic Conference.

Action Network's Brett McMurphy first reported the news, saying the move could likely happen next week. 

While the AAC has a clear stance on adding more teams to its conference as three prepare to leave, Matt Norlander of CBS Sports reported there is a disagreement over whether those schools leaving for the AAC is ultimately a good move.

"The biggest problem right now is no one has any faith in Craig Thompson as commissioner and there is growing concerned about the league," Norlander reported. 

Colorado State and Air Force are both charter members of the MWC. Air Force has never won a conference title in football, while Colorado State won conference titles in 1999, 2000 and 2002. 

However, the Rams have not been bowled eligible since 2017 and the Falcons last bowl appearance came in 2019 in a 31-21 victory against Washington State in the Cheez-It Bowl. 

The AAC's Houston, Cincinnati and UCF, plus BYU, independently accepted invitations for membership into the Big 12 as previously reported by Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde. The teams would likely join the conference in 2024. 

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San Diego State and Boise State were heavily courted by the AAC but refused to leave the conference. Per Norlander, the Broncos are hoping for an invite to the Big 12. 

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Despite teams leaving the conference, the league plans to remain the sixth strongest conference in college football. 

“The American has been Power 6 all along and will be one moving forward,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco told SI in an interview earlier this month.

“The Big 12 is taking our teams because of what’s happened to them. That tells you all you need to know in terms of where we are. Teams will be interested in us that have the resources to compete at the highest level in our league with an outstanding TV partner in ESPN.”

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