The Bishin Cutter wrote:
GAH! No! I couldn't disagree more on either count!
A10 aside, were the AAC to lose Cincy, the AAC should go right back into Ohio for either UMOH or OU. Especially if Temple is still there in the conference. You want to be in the PA-NJ-OH-MD swath...it helps with exposure into NY and VA, which is pretty much the northern edge of relevant football territory. While the AAC is sparse up north and east, it's got the proper bases covered (it would be really good, though, if they had Army for additional "saturation").
I feel the AAC could easily lose UConn and survive. It's Cincinnati that makes life a living hell for that conference. It's one of the biggest schools, it's the one with the most comprehensively competitive athletic departments, it's geographically strategic for the connection between the conference's eastern and western fronts, and it's probably the one with the best chances of joining a major conference. And you simply can't replace them. Take Houston out of the AAC, for example, and Rice could be tapped. Directional Florida? Meet FIU and FAU. ECU? Charlotte. Heck, even taking away Navy...ODU still keeps them in the Mid-Atlantic and with Temple, still covers that I-95 corridor and puts the conference in Virginia's athletic "honey pot." The AAC is like that: parts can be easily interchanged in places (which is why I think they could easily merge with someone). Cincinnati is not as easily replaceable. UMOH, probably the next best Ohio school solution, is a considerable step down in terms of school size and overall program coverage; it's also not consistently competitive...a Cincy loss would be instantly noticeable.
Does anyone think that if it comes down to it, a school like Cincy or UConn could buy their way into a major conference, like VT did for its olympic sports to the Big East?
I know what you mean Bishin. I was using the A-10's situation as an example. Another sample situation is The Summit, which I believe that its geographic and traditional footprint should be in the Upper Left Midwest states as ND, SD, NE, KS, MO, IA & MN, but has schools in the Right Midwest states (specifically IL & IN like WIU & the IUPUI schools).
Anyways, back on the AAC. To be honest, since its formation, the conference is mostly Deep South/Mid-South/Southeast-based (with UConn and Cincy as the "Northeast" schools; now with Louisville & Rutgers out of the conference). And since there's technically NO Eastern region in D-I in the football level, the closest conferences that represent the East/Northeast (to my understanding) are the East Coast-based ones like the ACC (FBS), the CAA (FCS), the A-10 (non-fb), the NEC (FCS), the MAAC (formerly FCS, now non-fb), the Patriot (FCS), and formerly the old Big East until the 2012-13 season. With that being said (and that's if UConn & Cincy are out of the Go5 picture and possibly in the P5 scene), shouldn't there be a major conference realignment between the AAC, the Sun Belt and C-USA? This would leave the MAC and the MW as the only Go5 FBS conferences intact.
By the way, at the time VT was in the old Big East for football before going for full membership in 2000, the Hokies were in the Metro & A-10 for all Oly sports (both non-fb conferences). WVU & Rutgers were in a similar situation, but both were A-10 Oly sports members until 1995 before joining the old Big East for full membership (along with Notre Dame as an Oly sports member from the Horizon). Unless UConn could try following Notre Dame's steps to join the ACC for Oly sports while being an FBS Indy with ACC bowl-granting rights; while Cincinnati could be next in line to be a Big XII school, just to add a close travel partner in WVU.