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.
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.
There would be two conferences within this new league (American and National) with regional divisions:
|American Conference:||National Conference:|
|Eastern Division:||Eastern Division:|
|Central Division:||Central Division:|
|Air Force||Colorado St.|
|Southern Division:||Southern Division:|
|Florida Atlantic||Florida International|
|Western Division:||Western Division:|
|San Jose St.||Fresno State|
|San Diego St.||Wyoming|
|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.
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.