Mike Aresco must be losing some sleep these nights. Just weeks ago, he was accused of clandestinely working with ESPN to hijack some Big 12 goodies for the American Athletic. Today, the Big 12 (minus 4) is poised to poach three of the AAC’s most high-profile members – Houston, UCF and Cincinnati. To quote Michale Scott, “How the turntables.”
With the elimination of those three programs, the conference is distilled to Memphis, Navy, Temple and five plucky programs who have local value. Should Aresco lose his top three to the Floundering 12, he’ll be forced to do his own conference poaching, triggering plenty of passive aggressive (and aggressive aggressive) jockeying among the gentle Group of Five community.
Let’s avoid all that ugliness. Instead, let us think selfishly and ruthlessly, like the SEC, and take advantage of this imbroglio by melding the nation’s two strongest G5 conferences – the Sun Belt and the American.
Behold, the American Sun!
This eighteen-program super conference bears a reasonable footprint while bringing hard value to everyone involved. The Sun Belt is both financially and athletically sound, currently featuring twice as many programs in the AP Top 25 as the AAXC. The American brings with it some solid basketball cred, which the Belt would greatly welcome. Both conferences have strong baseball credentials. Combined, the two conferences would be without peer.
|American Belt East||American Belt West|
|Appalachian State||Arkansas State|
|Georgia Southern||South Alabama|
The rivalries feel so organic! So right! Memphis versus Arkansas State. Appalachian State versus East Carolina. Louisiana versus Tulane. SMU versus Texas State. Book the stadium sellouts.
I know I’ve advocated a CUSA/Sun Belt super conference, but that’s so 2020. Let them eat MAC! Imagine Aresco and Keith Gill uniting the clans and laying waste to a cringing college sports community! Glorious purpose!
Just think it over, you guys. Take the long weekend, if you must. If we have to bounce ULM to make this work, we’ve got room to negotiate.