Anyone who picked 2021-2022 for the next year when things got crazy with realignment, you may want to get ready to go collect your winnings.
The BIG 12 is needs to replace Texas and Oklahoma after the two up and left in the middle of the night.... Yes we live in a world where the BIG12 will be without Texas and Oklahoma. Meaning the SEC is up to 16 schools and the BIG12 is down to eight members.
They need to move and move fast, and their list seems to be BYU, Cincy, UCF, and Houston. Notice that three of those names are in one conference, the American.
The American stands at 11 full members, this scheme would bring them down to 8 full members and only seven for football.
If they are going to add, they may look to add at least three back because NAVY is a football only member. But if the Shockers are not going to bring in their own football program it may behoove the conference to add four new members.
Even with the losses the footprint of the AAC is pretty much the same. They lose Ohio but still have a presence in Florida and Texas. They can focus on the south, which has been their desire, or look for the best possible schools to stabilize the conference while maintaining quality.
Buffalo has to be on the list of the top four G5 schools to fill that gap IF the AAC does not look to just add four schools out west.
The Bulls have been two three bowl games in the past thee years, winning two of them. They’ve been nationally ranked in football and hoops (mens and womens), and the schools infrastructure has improved markedly.
On top of that, as an academic institution, it’s top notch in the G5, being on par with many Big10 schools.
So, for the first time since entering the Division one era, Buffalo is well positioned to make their case for a conference move up at a time when conferences are getting jubmled.
Normally I’d not look at a move to the AAC as critical to UB. They are, basically, only a tiny step up from the MAC and add a lot of travel expenses for the non revenue teams.
But these are not normal times. College football is approaching a breaking point where I fear you’re going to start to see G5 conferences collapse.
There is no doubt the MAC will be around in 10 years, but will they be supporting football at the highest level? And if they cannot, will the support football at all or move to a different model.
College football is going to stay big, and the AAC can manage to stay relevant if they play their cards right. If they think focusing more in the SEC’s footprint and only in the SEC’s footprint get’s them that, well it was nice knowing them.
Here’s the top two expansion candidates from each conference in my opinion:
- Buffalo (Ok market, great performance over the past five years)
- Toledo (ok market in Toledo, and proximity to Detroit, solid history of performance)
Worth noting that I think OhioU is a better program add than Toledo but it’s in the middle of nowhere
- Marshall (Good athletic history)
- UTSA (Nice recruiting footprint, good market, good facilities/potential)
- Boise (Not quite the darling they were a decade ago but good football)
- San Diego State (Great market, good performance)
- App State (They have just succeeded at every level)
- Georgia State (Not a ton of history but a good location if you’re looking south)
This is all going to hinge on who the conference wants to be, but if they decide on quality of school and athletic performance over geography Buffalo is top four on this list.