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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

The American Way

As a follow-up to the recent article about UConn‘s sad status of being left out of a “Power 5” conference (SEC, B1G, ACC, Big XII, Pac12), and speculation of Texas someday joining the ACC, I started to think about what could be next for the teams in the American Athletic Conference, as well as other “mid-major” football programs.

As pointed out by one of the astute commenters, the schools in the new Big East will make more money per year than schools in the AAC. It’s a sad fact that the schools WITH football teams are making less money than the BASKETBALL schools.

Frankly, if anyone can make a compelling argument for being included as “Power Conference” it’s the Big East (for basketball) and possibly the MAC (football).

Which is why I think that I may have finally found a solution that could work. Instead of trying to compete  against each other to get the illusive “sixth spot” and be considered as an equal to the rest of the Football Conferences, the mid-major conferences of the MWC, C-USA, and AAC should form a new league: the Mountain West Conference USAmerican Athletic Conference.

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Now, instead of just forming a new Super-conference and trying to compete among the “big boys”, I would actually argue that these teams should form a whole new football subdivision; something in between the FBS and the FCS, but would be more like the NFL complete with an 8-team playoff system.

Teams: 

There would be two conferences within this new league (American and National) with regional divisions:

American Conference: National Conference:
Eastern Division: Eastern Division:
UConn Temple
Old Dominion Marshall
Navy* East Carolina
UCF USF
Central Division: Central Division:
Cinci Boise St.
Tulsa Rice
Air Force Colorado St.
Memphis Middle Tennessee
Southern Division: Southern Division:
Houston North Texas
Florida Atlantic Florida International
UTEP SMU
Tulane Louisiana Tech
UAB UTSA
Western Division: Western Division:
San Jose St. Fresno State
San Diego St. Wyoming
Hawaii New Mexico
UNLV Nevada
Utah St. Idaho/New Mexico State

*Navy – It is unlikely that Navy and Notre Dame would give up their annual game, so if a cross-over is not allowed between the two football subdivisions, then I would expect Navy to leave for the ACC or as an FBS Independent with BYU, Army, and ND.

Schedule:

The schedule consists of 12 regular season games: each team will play a minimum of 10 games within their conference: each team for their division once (3 or 4 games total),  8 or 7 games respectively within their conference (depending on the number of teams in their division), and 2 Non-Conference games.

The divisions are devised so that each team is partnered with a regional conference rival that they would play annually (1 non-con game), and have one open spot for anyone else (which could be a spot for a league crossover with the FBS).

The playoffs would include 8 teams (the champ of each division), culminating into a conference championship. The League Champions and Runners-up will have played a total of 16 games for the season. This could be scheduled to coincide with a Championship Game on New Year’s Day.

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13 thoughts on “The American Way

  1. Then they could secede from the NCAA, announce that they will allow schools to pay players, and see how long the SEC continues to dominate recruiting…now that somebody else is running a pro league…

    • M. Caffrey on said:

      I considered that but decided against it. First, I think we’re just few years away from NCAA football players getting paid anyway, thatt would be expedited if an “inferior” conference or subdivision suddenly had a recruiting advantage. Secondly, I dont think these schools can afford to pay their players.

      Also, if anyone secedes from the NCAA it will probably be the B1G.

      • The more likely scenario would be the top 5 conferences creating a new, higher sub-division within the NCAA and those players would be paid. Through in the MAC with those in the article & you would have a solid D1A.

        • M. Caffrey on said:

          Why would the Power 5 conferences change? They are already top dogs; they have all of the power and the money. Its incumbent on the have-not conferences to adapt if they want to compete.

        • The power 5 would change to set up a whole new standard to qualify and to rewrite the rules. New recruiting rules and ways to pay players. The NCAA pres. has already said that he is open to this. By creating a higher division you technically aren’t kicking anyone down a division.

        • M. Caffrey on said:

          The Power 5 have no reason to create a higher division: they already are the de factor higher division.

          The next higher step for them would be to become the NFL-Development League…but then they’d have to pay taxes.

        • I’m sure we have all heard the rumors of the power 5 breaking away from the NCAA. One way to to satisfy both sides would be to create a new division. I can imagine that it would be skewed to keep out everyone not in the power 5 without actually bumping anyone out, you can’t do that while keeping the divisions as they are now. Emmerit has already mentioned this recently.

        • M. Caffrey on said:

          “One way to to satisfy both sides would be to create a new division. I can imagine that it would be skewed to keep out everyone not in the power 5 without actually bumping anyone out, you can’t do that while keeping the divisions as they are now.”

          What the hell are you talking about? That’s pretty much how the system is right now. You keep missing the most important point: the Power 5 ALREADY comprise the de facto highest subdivision, there is NO REASON for them to have to change anything.

          Look, if the teams in the Power 5 want to pay their players, or change the recruiting rules, etc…. They will find a way to do so without having to elevate their status any more. The NCAA needs the Power 5 conference because of the massive amounts of revenue they generate.

          However, the NCAA also knows that the Power conferences will never leave the NCAA because of the huge tax shelter they get.

          There IS a reason for the have-not conferences to try and level the playing field, however they live with this delusional idea that someday they can become the 6th Power Conference. So instead they continue to compete against and cannibalize each other trying to become the equals to the Power 5, but they never will be.

        • The smaller schools wouldn’t be able to afford this higher division. The MAC, AAC, CUSA, MWC & the Sun Belt can’t nor will ever be able to compete with the big boys financially. Texas budget is $163 million while Louisiana Monroe budget is $11.3 million. And yet they compete in the same division & have equal voting rights.

          http://www.chron.com/sports/college/article/Another-NCAA-subdivision-for-large-schools-4563685.php

          http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/blogs/college-gridiron-365/os-new-subdivision-for-5-power-leagues-a-possibility-20130602,0,3020967.post

  2. The smaller schools wouldn’t be able to afford this higher division. The MAC, AAC, CUSA, MWC & the Sun Belt can’t nor will ever be able to compete with the big boys financially. Texas budget is $163 million while Louisiana Monroe budget is $11.3 million. And yet they compete in the same division & have equal voting rights.

    http://www.chron.com/sports/college/article/Another-NCAA-subdivision-for-large-schools-4563685.php

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/blogs/college-gridiron-365/os-new-subdivision-for-5-power-leagues-a-possibility-20130602,0,3020967.post

    • M. Caffrey on said:

      So instead of allowing the Power 5 conferences to further concentrate wealth/power and relegate the rest of the FBS to the bottom, thereby creating a greater disparity between the haves/have-nots, I’m suggesting that the lower conferences be proactive and voluntarily merge into a new subdivision on their own.

      But instead of being “BCS-lite” I’m suggesting it be comparable to the NFL.

      • That would mean that they would have to forfeit their share, however small, of the playoff money and their 1 guaranteed spot in a BCS caliber bowl. That would be allot of $$ left behind.

        • M. Caffrey on said:

          you’re joking right? The remaining conferences currently get squat, and 5 conferences have to fight for 1 spot. That’s insane.

          The New BIg East model actually made sense; place teams in the markets with the most televisions sets. Unfortunately, their valuation was too high and they couldn’t compete against the rest of the conferences to justify $18-20M per team.

          By contrast, you create a subdivision just for the mid-majors and you put almost 40 teams in the best markets. A mini-NFL. You can create a TV network a la the Big Ten and get coast-to-coast broadcasting, with a real, legitimate playoff.

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