The bold move by the American Athletic Conference to try to brand themselves as the obvious addition to the Power Five is a valiant effort.
Seriously though – P6 WON’T HAPPEN.
The idea that the Power 5 will ever let a Group of 5 conference become strong enough top to bottom to compete with them on a consistent basis is just a pipe dream. Let’s take a look at what they did to the Mountain West conference a few years back.
In 2011 the Mountain West Conference started to become a force to reckon with. It was impressive throughout it’s roster. It boasted TCU, Utah, BYU, Boise State, Air Force, San Diego State, Colorado State, Wyoming, New Mexico and UNLV. Let’s jog your memory a bit.
In the 2010 season, TCU went undefeated including a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin to finish 13-0 and ranked #2 in the nation. That included a win over Utah when both teams were ranked in the top 10, while San Diego State went 9-4 and had the fifth best record in the conference.
Then the “Wild West” occurred what with all the conference realignments. The BCS was in full swing and the P5 conferences started playing keeping up with the Joneses. The result was to poach the next most powerful conference, which at the time was the Mountain West. The Pac 10 snatched Utah to form the PAC 12, and BYU decided to go independent.
That was somewhat offset by a Boise State team that was pulled in from the Western Athletic Conference and finished a one-point loss to TCU away from an undefeated season, and the Broncos and Frogs both finished the year ranked in the top 15. Then the next offseason TCU jumped ship in order to join the Big East Big 12, and the Mountain West had to scramble for a second round of WAC-ception in order to add Fresno State, Nevada, and Hawaii and round out their member base for football.
In the post-conference-realignment mess, the Mountain West had no choice but to reload itself for survival and wound up having to backtrack into being the Super-WAC once again.
Now, let’s fast forward to last year and all of the noise surrounding the Big 12 expansion. Who were they going after?
Naturally, the Big 12 was going after the top teams from the G5 conferences again, especially the AAC. Teams like Houston, Cincinnati, Memphis, Temple, and UConn.
The Mountain West was also part of the conversation with Air Force, Boise State, San Diego State and Colorado State. Bottom line, they would poach the best of the G5, let the pieces fall and again be successful in keeping the G5 under the P5 thumb. The Mountain West has not been able, even at its recent historical peak, to be anything more than “the best conference worth being poached by a P5 conference,” and now they’ve even been debatably surpassed by the AAC… for the right to experience the exact same fate.
Credit to commissioner Mike Aresco for continuing to beat the drum and create noise for his conference, but the AAC is never going to become a 6th power conference without some other external forces intervening. Sorry, guys.