The University of South Florida and the University of Central Florida are now together in the American Athletic Conference. It may not be where either school wants to be right now but they have to make the best of their new conference.
One interesting side benefit to the AAC and recent conference realignment suddenly both USF and UCF are very attractive opponents of the Super Conferences teams.
It should be noted that both USF and UCF have had success in getting big name programs on their schedules in years past. However, things are likely to get easier much in the future. Right now USF has Michigan State, Maryland, Wisconsin and Indiana of the Big Ten on their future schedules along with North Carolina State plus already long standing established deals with FSU and Miami all three of the ACC.
UCF has games on present and future schedules with Penn State and Maryland of the Big Ten, Missouri and South Carolina of the SEC and a trip to Austin to face Big 12 power, the University of Texas in 2017.
Since the AAC is not considered a power conference both UCF and USF would be wise to load up on teams from the Super Conferences. Elon might allow you to put some big numbers on the board but beating big time conference opponents on your non conference schedule builds the all important resume needed for bowl qualifications, ratings and possible inclusion in any conference expansion in the future.
The Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and even the Pac 12 are more than happy to schedule both the Bulls and the Knights to long term home and home deals. Part of the reason that UCF and USF are attractive is because of the recruiting done by the Super Conferences in the state of Florida.
However, speaking last week to a number of conference executives the bad blood between conferences for poaching has caused them to want to schedule more AAC and Mountain West schools. Last week the University of Maryland, who will be playing their last season in the ACC before moving to the Big Ten found out how tough things can be.
Only FSU, Miami ,Clemson and Georgia Tech were willing to go on the record to say that would consider playing Maryland in any sport once they leave the ACC. But the Terps are not the only team to get the cold shoulder.
Pitt and West Virginia who played the “Backyard Brawl,” 14th oldest in the history of college football is no more. The Mountaineers, now in the Big 12 and the Panthers newly minted in the ACC aren’t talking to each other about future games. Texas and Texas A&M quit playing each other when the Aggies headed to the SEC. That halted a 118 year in state rivalry. Now the Longhorns are telling anyone who asks that if and when the two teams play again it will be on their terms not Texas A&M.
So as you can see from this sample size look at the rancor that is college football the Bulls and the Knights will have no problem finding big name opponents. It is time to schedule strong and go the Boise State route of making your program relevant by who you beat in the non conference schedule.