Wednesday marked a meeting of the FBS conference commissioners as well as officials from the College Football Playoff to discuss a myriad of issues. One of those issues was conference realignment, and the commissioner of the AAC, Mike Aresco, sounded his displeasure.
The AAC has been complaining for years about the distinctions between Power 5 and Group of 5 conferences. And, they have a point.
Many years, the AAC has had some teams that were definitely Power 5-caliber. Cincinnati made the College Football Playoff in 2021, and UCF had arguments to make it in both 2017-2018.
But, they’ve been treated like second-class citizens for too long. With the playoff expanding from four teams to twelve, and the six conference champions ranked the highest getting automatic bids, that was set to help the AAC get routine access into the playoff.
But, with the PAC 12 looking likely to not exist this time next year, that throws that format up in the air. It’s possible that the only teams who will get automatic bids will be the top four conference champions, instead of six. After all, the Power 5 will turn into a Power 4.
That has led to a stratified system, with universities doing anything they can to stay in the Power 5.
But, AAC commissioner Mike Aresco hates that distinction, and he spoke out about it after the meeting. Here’s The Athletic with more.
“I’ve talked about how destructive this whole P5 thing can be,” Aresco said. “It’s all about branding. It’s all about the P5 conferences. We heard, ‘Well, Stanford and Cal have no place to go.’ They had a place to go. It may not be the place they wanted to go ideally, but they weren’t orphans. They had a chance to go somewhere.
“There’s this desperation now because of the P5 branding. That’s really what’s going on. … I understand the issue of money, and it’s based on TV deals. But guys are willing to go for virtually nothing because they feel like they have to have that — they feel that they need that branding.”
He raises a great point, admittedly. Unfortunately for him, I don’t see the idea of power conferences changing anytime soon.