Could the AAC be a landing spot for remaining 8 Big 12 schools?
Undoubtedly, the upcoming Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns move to the Southeastern Conference has shocked all college football.
The remains of the Big 12 are in an uproar and look ripe to be picked from the rest of the Power Five. And while a power five target would be most popular for the remaining Big 12 schools, there is no guarantee that the remaining eight will find a new home among the elite of college football.
Instead, some schools could be part of an expanded American Athletic Conference. According to a report by Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic (subscription), the AAC appears poised to tap into the weaker members of the Big 12 herd in their own conference expansion plans.
Multiple sources believe (Michael) Aresco, the AAC commissioner, is determined to try such a tactic. And it makes perfect sense from the AAC's point of view. This is a league that urges respect and a seat at the table next to the Power Five conferences. Being an aggressor and potentially adding members would also better position the AAC to gain autonomy in the NCAA legislative process, as the Power Five leagues have done. Back in May, ahead of news of a possible 12-team college football playoff that would include access to all 10 FBS leagues, the AAC's board of directors sent an eight-page letter to the Autonomy Five (the official name of the Power Five) . Conferences to apply for the AAC to be included as a conference of autonomy, a designation from which, in his opinion, it was "unreasonably" excluded. This has been the case since 2014, when Division I voted to allow ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC to legislate for their own members only in certain areas. - Auerbach
Schools like Baylor and TCU have no natural landing areas when the conference is reorganized. However, AAC members SMU and Tulsa provide a template for where the bears and horned frogs might best fit. If the Big 10, Pacific Athletic Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, or the SEC chose not to add any of the remaining eight to the Big 12, the AAC would be a solid home for the conferences' less-valued programs.
As this continues to unfold, it is becoming more and more likely that the Big 12 are heading towards their final days as a conference. There have been few reports of possible expansion through the Power Five conference. And any expansion would feel disappointing compared to losing Oklahoma and Texas.
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