Sunday, September 22, 2013

AAC commissioner talks about future and bowl tie-ins

Before last night's game against Michigan American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco sat down with the media for about 20 minutes and did what conference commissioners do and that is express optimism regarding the future prospects of their member schools.

Aresco certain did his fair share of that.

"The last 10 months have been pretty interesting but we are in a pretty good place with the conference and optimistic about the future," Aresco said.

"The top of our conference will be fine. This is a crossroads period for UConn obviously and they will build the program, no doubt about it. When teams used to join the old Big East they elevated their program whether it was Cincinnati, Louisville or South Florida. I think that is going to happen in this league. I am very optimistic. I talked to people who felt and still feel that this league has a chance to be a better football league than the old Big East because of where our markets are, where our teams are, the commitments our presidents and Ads are making to those programs. It is going to take a little while but Temple went out and played competitively against Notre Dame, played competitively against Houston yes we’ve have some FCS losses but so has everybody. You saw some losses in all the big conferences to FCS teams and there are some good FCS teams. SMU had a very good win against Montana State, that is a very good team so that is going to happen."

Aresco said specific details surrounding the AAC bowl tie-ins could be announced by the middle of next month.

"We will have in the range seven tie-ins. We haven’t finalized anything yet but we are very close. We will be working with the ESPN bowls again, St. Pete, Birmingham, Texas, we feel very confident we will get those finished. We also had a chance to go to Hawaii, we have the Military Bowl already done. We will be announcing our bowl game in Miami, we are getting it finished and it is going to happen. We think it is a great thing. The kind of conference we are and where we stand, we are competing with those five and we want to be closer to them and we think we are. We needed to do something innovative and bold and with the game in Miami we are getting very close and we will have good opponents to play.

"In addition we are going to do some backup deals. We’ve done one with the Liberty. We talked about being a backup so we can potentially put a team there, the power tier conferences some of them have gone pretty deep and there is a question of whether there will be a team available for certain bowls. We are going to have a couple of backups and remember we also have the opportunity to play in the college football playoffs if we are the highest ranked team among the conferences among the five conferences Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and MAC. I think based on this year I think we will have a shot. I don’t know if it will be every year but we certainly think we could. If we are in one of those spots, we don’t lose any of the other spots we had in the bowls.

"We will have an 11-team league in ’15 so we may not need seven tie-ins in ’15 but most years we will have seven tie-ins. We will announce the rest of the games fairly soon, we think by mid October we will have it completed. We will be able to play the tier teams, In the Military Bowl we are playing the ACC all six years, in Birmingham we would play the SEC all six years, in Texas we would play a combination of Big 12 or Conference USA, in Hawaii we would probably play the Mountain West and we will have some other opportunities to play if we were ever in the Liberty Bowl down the road, we think we will have the opportunity to play either SEC or Big 12 and I think that might happen a few times over the six years, maybe even three times and some of our other backups will give us that opportunity. We are hopeful in our Miami game, the Pac-12 has not gone as deep as some other conferences and if there is a team available we can talk to them and we would hope that they would consider going to Miami to play one of our teams. We tried to keep flexibility of where we send our champion if our champion doesn’t go to the college playoffs, we have a range of bowls were we could potentially find a good team for that champion to play the most appropriate team in the most appropriate bowl. What we told our membership is we wanted to go to desirable destinations which we pretty much are and we also felt like we wanted to play as many of the power tier teams as possible. I think our bowl situation is going to work out well for the conference."



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