Monday July 1st was the official date the real Big East died and the new American Athletic Conference was born. Must to the dislike of all Cincinnati fans the Bearcats are headed to a new home, one that feels like a step down after the numerous accomplishments of the past 5 years.
The American Athletic Conference will be home to 10 teams for the 2013-2014 season. In 2014 The American will lose two teams in Syracuse and Rutgers to the ACC and the Big 10. While losing two they will gain three schools in East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa.
The members of The American for 2013 are as follows: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, South Florida, Central Florida, Memphis, Rutgers, SMU, and Temple.
The members of The America for 2014 are as follows: Cincinnati, Houston, South Florida, Central Florida, Memphis, SMU, Temple, Tulane, East Carolina and Tulsa.
In 2013 the lineup for the conference doesn’t look to hateful. In terms of football the two favorites are Louisville and Cincinnati, it would be very surprising to see someone else win or even share a part of the conference championship considering UofL and UC have won or shared the Big East Championship for the past 5 years. Once Louisville leaves in 2014 Cincinnati becomes the favorite followed by UConn, UCF, Houston, East Carolina. Really its and open field from second on down.
Basketball in The American will be much more competitive. Favorites in the first year have to be defending National Champions Louisville. Cincinnati, UConn and Memphis are likely to compete for the conference championship as well.
Outside three or four schools the rest are rather weak athletically. Tulas and Tulane are head scratchers as to why they were invited in to the conference. It wasn’t because they were so great they conference needed them, it was more for the fact that they needed more schools to have a respectable conference.
The American is a conglomerate of forgotten Big East schools and the best of Conference USA. The conference isn’t that impressive, don’t expect Cincinnati and UConn to stick around very long.
If The American is run like the old Big East in any way it will fall into Mid Major territory. Commissioner Mike Aresco has his work cut out for him.
Xavier fans in Cincinnati this is for you. You are not playing in “#TheRealBigEast” you are playing in a faux Big East, a glorified A10 is all the Big East is. All that magic that happened at MSG over the last 34 years is dead now, that isn’t a part of your Big East history. Enjoy conference mediocrity like UC and see you in December.
The American officially kicks off this fall as the conference takes the field for its first season in football. Until then UC fans, myself included will continue to convince ourselves this isn’t that bad. While dreaming of an ACC/Big 12 invite.