OK, let’s talk a little bit as to what has happened over the past year in AAC, formally known as the Big East. The conference lost Pitt, Syracuse and Notre Dame to the ACC with Louisville a year away from joining them. Then this will be the final season in the AAC for Rutgers as they are headed to the Big Ten.
The Catholic seven, the basketball only members, of the conference bolted to form their own league and by the way they took the Big East name with them.
July 1st the conference became known nationally as the American Athletic Conference and we are about to see how things work. The AAC started by welcoming Central Florida, Southern Methodist University, the University of Houston and the University of Memphis as new members. 2014 will bring the University of Tulsa, Tulane University and East Carolina University. Coming in 2015, as a football only member will be Navy.
Those schools looking to join another conference soon (I am talking to you Cincinnati and UConn), all of the so called power conference are set. Their TV deals are in place and only the Big 12 might be looking but it is NOT a priority for them to expand. They have deals in place with ESPN and Fox that give them stability and the big guns, Texas and Oklahoma like the conference at ten. They feel that without a conference championship the Big 12 could send two schools to major title games in the future.
The new AAC is very much a futures conference with University of South Florida, Central Florida, and Houston are all growth teams. The future success of the AAC is based in the success of the Florida and Texas schools, all three institutions have enrollment above 30,000 students and are considered as potential powerhouse over the next decade.
So in the meantime, we are about a month away from the first ever AAC football season, and it looks on paper, that two of the three favorites are schools on their way out. Louisville, the defending champs, Rutgers University and the University of Cincinnati are expected to vie for the championship.
The University of Central Florida, who went 10-4 in C-USA is seen by many as the dark horse to win the first AAC crown.
So if we were handicapping the AAC 2013 here is what what the Vegas line is from Statfox. As always the odds listed are for entertainment only.
Odds to Win American Athletic Conference
10-to-1: Central Florida
23-to-1: South Florida