Aresco Should Practice What He Preaches

Mike Aresco talks BYU and the Power 6

One of the dichotomies of American Athletic Conference Media Day was Mike Aresco preaching Power 6 and the football schedule of the league not practicing it.

The SEC and Big 10 commissioners have moved to eliminate scheduling FCS opponents and there is some talk now of them eliminating Group of Five opponents in the near future.

Screenshot 2019-07-21 at 3.33.57 PM

The irony of that is they don’t need to do it.

The AAC, if it is indeed going to be a Power 6 conference, does. The AAC needs to schedule Power 5 opponents and beat them if they are going to be seriously considered as a P5, even if that means giving up a home game here and there. Commissioner Mike Aresco cannot force conference athletic directors to schedule additional P5 opponents, but he can strongly suggest (and even shame them) into doing so, saying it’s for the overall good of the league.

He has not done that and it’s been showing up on the schedules, games that do nothing to advance the conference’s profile.

Here are five WTF games that jump out on the AAC non-conference schedule. We’ll skip the Wagner at UConn game for obvious reasons:


  • Bucknell at Temple–We’ve already talked about this game until we’re blue in the face but this made no sense when it was first scheduled and make less sense with each and every passing day. A better competition would have been to put Anthony Russo and Isaiah Wright as the captains of the Cherry team and Toddy Centeio and Jager Gardner as captains of the White team and have them alternate picks for a real pickup game with full contact. That’s water under the bridge now. Let’s hope Pat Kraft doesn’t make the same mistake twice.
  • Holy Cross at Navy–Unless the ghost of Gordy Lockbaum shows up, this team has no business being on the Navy schedule. Holy Cross lost a home game to Bucknell last year and was beaten, 62-14, by Boston College and lost to Harvard and Dartmouth of the Ivy League.
  • Prairie View A&M at Houston–Prairie View lost to Rice and UNLV last year in addition to Alcorn State and Jackson State. The Cougars have a long history of scheduling and beating better foes. They should have stuck to that philosophy, particularly when they showed they are the only G5 school willing to spend the big bucks to woo a successful P5 coach.
  • Florida A&M at UCF–This is precisely the kind of game that sets up UCF for some kind of legitimate criticism should it go undefeated again. The Knights are playing Stanford but essentially weakened their argument by not playing P5 foes instead of Florida A&M and Florida Atlantic.
  • Southern at Memphis--Southern, one of the best teams in the SWAC, still lost to TCU (55-7) and Louisiana Tech (54-17) last year so Memphis, trying to position itself for an NY6 bowl, still impresses no one with this possible win.
  • On the other hand, the league deserves kudos for games like Georgia Tech and Maryland at Temple, UCLA at Cincy and Cincy at Ohio State,  Tulsa at Michigan State, Ole Miss at Memphis, Wisconsin at USF, Tulane at Auburn and Washington State at Houston.

For this conference to achieve the goals its commissioner preaches, it needs to practice more of that kind of scheduling and less of the WTF games.

Saturday: Plausible Deniability


21 thoughts on “Aresco Should Practice What He Preaches

  1. nice piece

    the AAC out of conference schedule coin currently has two sides, P5 and FCS.

    Aresco should mandate eliminating the FCS side and replacing it w/either G5 or P5 opponents

    Temple vs BYU, Boise St, Hawaii, or San Diego St, etc., is infinitely better for all than Temple vs Bucknell.

    Now Temple must DESTROY Bucknell, no prisoners. The second and third teams must play down and distance situation football. Those kids deserve it, it is why they chose Temple.

    • Hard to imagine we’ve regressed over 50 years in the scheduling of this game. The 1967 team beat them, 82-28. That should be about the same score of this one.

  2. Did Temple call Lewisburg or did Bucknell make a call to Philadelphia? Is there a basketball game as part of a package? On the other hand, at least Coach Carey should start his job 1-0. Predecessors can’t say that.

  3. Both UCLA & Ole Miss Were horrible last year.
    As long as Chip Kelly is coaching UCLA , Cincy should be able to win that game. Memphis should also be able handle Ole Miss. USF has a shot at beating Wisconsin at home. With the exception of Temple , most of G5 teams will remain underdogs against P5 teams.

  4. I feel where Commissioner Aresco is fumbling is his Conference’s Post-UConn Future. I feel Navy would not want to be in the American after UConn, and there are so many things the American is at fault, that it would take Blogs to deal with all of them. And, I don’t necessarily think the Seas would open without a Conference Championship Game, but, it could open up what would be later on.

    • I think Aresco was being coy when he said that the league “currently” isn’t considering adding another team. Of course they are but do not want to identify any of the teams they certainly are considering to avoid a tampering allegation. They are not the Big Twelve with Texas and Oklahoma as members, big dogs that get all of the bones they want including a championship game despite not meeting the criteria. Therefore, the idea that the conference will receive an exception and be granted the right to play a championship game is based on mere hope. As for the P-5 banning games with G-5 teams, although some P-5 coaches are supporting the idea, a majority of the schools and coaches will never support it because it would mean that too many of the P-5 conferences perennial also-rans would not get to six wins and a bowl. It would be suicidal for too many schools and coaches to enact such a rule. On top of that, too many schools do not have the depth to play what would be twelve games all against the real opponents. One caveat though. if it would mean more money for the P-5 bye bye games against G-5 teams.

      • The belief is that a waiver is a given if needed because that is the reward for not raiding a lesser conference and starting a lower echelon domino

      • They would take BYU in a heartbeat. A trade that would help both ballclubs. Also would seriously consider Army. Not interested in ODU, JMU, App. State or UAB

  5. A bit unrelated news here, but the Jaguars have already placed Armstead on the Physically Unable to Play list with a hamstring injury. This poor kid couldn’t even make it to training camp before hurting himself.

    I sure hope he gets a shot and can stay healthy, but….

  6. Fordham and Villanova beat us recently. I recall Delaware (with Rich Gannon) dominated Arian’s team. Don’t take Bucknell for granted. Players underestimate the FCS opponent who are hyped up for a big win plus a turnover or big play and you have an ugly L.

  7. It’d definitely make a difference in recruiting. Imagine a Temple schedule with 8 AAC games, plus Vanderbilt, Indiana, Maryland, and Rutgers. Throw four beatable P5 teams on there and tell kids “We’re gonna make a point to the fatcats.”

  8. Easy travel games would build the TU fan base. RU, Pitt, WV, and MD would be awesome, Trips to Lehigh Valley, Baltimore, or Newark could be fun. Stella could make the trip. It’s good to see the Cherry and White spread it’s wings.

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