A Jersey Guy: AAC Wants Seat at Main CFB Table

The American Athletic Conference is willing to do big things to become a Power 6 conference.
By Mark Blaudschun ,

Mike Aresco knows how to work a room and a sport as well everyone.

The current American Athletic Conference commissioner and former TV marketing executive is spending most of his time lobbying the Power 5 conferences to include the ACC as a sixth member with a guaranteed CFB playoff spot when the next round of expansion happens.

That time is rapidly approaching, but Aresco knows he needs something more to close the deal, which is why sources throughout the AAC say that Aresco is not ruling out any plan which could get the AAC a seat at the adult table.

Aresco's task is huge because the Power 5 is reluctant to give up any of its "power'' at large slots in any kind of playoff, whether it is a four, eight, or, what seems likely a 12 team format.

Aresco might have to go outside of the box--by expanding to a super size 14 team, two division, coast to coast conference.

Although Aresco strongly denies that any conference expansion talk has been more than casual, here's a plan that might get some  response from the Power 5 as well as ESPN.

The current AAC would  expand from 11 to 14 teams,  with a Western based expansion which would include Colorado State, San Diego State and Boise State.

The new 14 team, two division AAC would look like this:

East

1. Navy

2.  Temple

3. UCF

4. USF

5. East Carolina

6. Cincinnati

7. Tulane

West

1. Memphis

2. Houston

3. SMU

4. Tulsa

5. San  Diego State

6.. Colorado State

7. Boise State

The selling point would be a truly  "American''  from coast to coast conference, with representatives from all time zones, stretching from East Carolina to San Diego.

Currently, the AAC is part of the Group of 5 conferences, which must compile the highest ranking among four other conferences to get a slot for a New Year's Six bowls, but offers no guaranteed slot.

Aresco feels the AAC, which has produced some contending teams such as UCF and Cincinnati in the past few years and has been highly competitive, deserves more.

A conference expansion plan, coupled with a playoff expansion plan would be a strong legacy for Aresco's career which is winding down.

Aresco contends that he can get the AAC into the mix on its own merits without adding teams.

He says that any conference expansion could not happen quickly.

But these are changing times and there appear to be no guarantees in anything.

If the AAC or any group of 5 conference wants to move up a notch, it will take some bold moves and the AAC has more bargaining chips than anyone else.