I briefly touched on this topic a while back, since the powers that be in the American Conference have really been pleading their case to become a ‘Power Six’ conference. You might think that it is a little ambitious but how ambitious is it actually?
Over the 2015 and 2016 seasons, American programs won 19 games over Power Five schools including Houston’s win over Florida State in the Peach Bowl (above). And ironically enough some Power Five schools have started their head coaching search in the American Conference including schools like Texas and Oregon.
For me it is still a little premature to consider the American Conference the newest member of the Power Six but it is definitely overdue for them to be acknowledged for clearly separating themselves from the rest of the non-Power Five conferences. It does not help their case very much that only one school is currently ranked (South Florida is ranked 22nd) although it is safe to say that AAC schools like UCF, Navy, Memphis, Tulsa and Houston could very easily find themselves ranked before the season is over. According to another article I wrote a few weeks ago, Navy will be ranked before the month of September is over.
Commissioner Mike Aresco is done waiting for validation from the rest of the College Football audience. The schools in the American Athletic Conference all sported ‘P6’ stickers (above) on their helmets for games. And in many AAC press conferences, the same ‘P6’ logo can be seen on the backdrop (below). Commissioner Aresco has openly talked about the American Conference being apart of the Power Six and has set a goal for his conference to be accepted into the P6 from the CFB community.
I don’t disagree with Mike Aresco’s assessment, the American Conference is an extremely competitive conference and has consistently shown the ability to go toe to toe with Power Five opponents and win some big games, including Central Florida’s Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor just last season.
And perhaps you’re reading this thinking that the American Conference should not belong in the high regards that conferences like the SEC, ACC, etc are held in. To you I’d say watch some AAC games against Power Five opponents for the pure football not necessarily the storylines, it will surprise you. The AAC did beat the Big XII in draft picks for the 2017 NFL Draft after all.
Cover Photo via USA Today
Article Photos via SB Nations, 247 East Carolina Sports and CBS Sports