Photo courtesy of UTSA athletics
With the Big 12 imploding before the 2021 season even started, we knew the conference would act fast to rebuild itself the best that it could.
That rebuild led to invites of Cincinnati, UCF, Houston and BYU. With this taking effect, the recently-poached American Athletic Conference had to act itself.
The American’s legal predecessor was the Big East, which dissolved in 2013. After that, the conference now known as the AAC took a purge of Conference USA. From 2013 to 2014, C-USA schools UCF, Houston, Memphis, SMU, East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa joined the league. Cincinnati, Temple and South Florida are the only remaining holdovers from the Big East, but for the Bearcats, that won’t be for long.
Fast forward to 2021 and the AAC is reportedly purging C-USA to rebuild its conference once again.
• North Texas
● The AAC is expected to receive an application from these teams according to @PeteThamel
Interesting list of teams. pic.twitter.com/bzqDRh88ie
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) October 18, 2021
Fun Fact: If this were to go through, that would mean The American would have three teams that sport the nickname, Owls. The SEC is the only other conference with three schools having the same nickname with three sets of Tigers.
Remember when Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby threw a tantrum at ESPN when Oklahoma and Texas were first reported to be transitioning to the SEC? Obviously, Bowlsby has a reason for this.
ESPN is playing a huge part in conference realignment. The American is not considering these teams without the ESPN programming money talking in its ears.
Appears the AAC had no choice but to poach CUSA. ESPN likes its discounted Sun Belt property that saw TV viewership up 135% last season and nixed Coastal Carolina to the AAC. CUSA's TV rights are with Stadium, CBSSN, and ESPN+ only.
So, ESPN just took the CUSA teams it wanted.
— C. Austin Cox (@CAustinCox) October 19, 2021
Rumors are that the Sun Belt is slated to take Marshall and Southern Mississippi from Conference USA with the possibility for two other members. A lot of USF fans are not excited about the AAC’s move, and feel like the Bulls are getting lapped by UCF.
Remember in 2007 when USF was No. 2 in the nation? Now, some fans would even consider joining the Sun Belt. The bottom line is that South Florida fans are NOT happy with this potential outcome.
If this is who gets added to the AAC, USF needs to get in the Sun Belt NOW https://t.co/fhflYnlsDT
— Isaac (@IsaacYoho) October 18, 2021
If you’re a USF fan & you’re ok with this, you were also likely a USF administrator for most of this century.
From the Conference USA to the Big East to the AAC to Conference USA 2.0 in 17 years.
A public humiliation for the school that is 100% deserved. We tried to warn you. https://t.co/L6stIKrAfG
— Collin Sherwin (@CollinSherwin) October 18, 2021
Death to C-USA?
With the AAC potentially poaching six C-USA teams, and the Sun Belt playing clean up, is this the end for Conference USA?
If the latest rumors of the AAC are true (UAB, Charlotte, FAU, UTSA, North Texas, and Rice), and then the @SunBelt grabs schools like Southern Miss and Marshall, then CUSA is pretty much done.
Getting the fingers warmed up to post the video….
— Ragin Review® (@RaginReview) October 18, 2021
— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) October 18, 2021
I know UTSA, and UAB fans are ecstatic about the AAC but I just don't care. Conference affiliation just doesn't matter a great deal when FAU is linked with the likes of Temple, Tulane and C-USA's best. No shade, but the TV money is not gonna come close to justifying this move.
— Cyrus Smith (@CoolCyWrites) October 19, 2021
— CUSAbbs (@CUSAbbs) October 19, 2021
Map of the New AAC
Shoutout to @houstonniner for the updated AAC map.
First question, does Navy go "East" now? If yes, who winds up the 7th East team? If no, does Memphis/UAB go East? pic.twitter.com/MLVEHJPcit
— Agent 49 (@_agent49) October 19, 2021