About five years ago, The Question was always answered one way:
What is the AAC all about?
Mike Aresco, the very well-paid commissioner of the league (exactly $2,246,027.00 cents per year), would always answer that the league felt it belonged as a Power conference and would accept no less than a Power 6 designation.
Now the veneer is off.
Arguably before now because the departure of cornerstone members Houston, UCF, and Cincy was known last year.
Now just about everyone knows that the AAC Media Day–which will be held on July 28–will take on another brave face: That Rice, UAB, FAU are all valuable additions and that the league will sustain one way or another.
No doubt, it will, but key members like Memphis and Temple want out and Aresco cannot claim otherwise in good faith.
The only way Memphis–which lost to quite possibly the worst Temple team in the last decade last year–and Temple (which most people would concede made a positive move jettisoning Rod Carey) stay is that they have no place to go.
That might be the truth but the larger truth is that this year the AAC is at its most vulnerable state since it was created in the ashes of the old Big East.
Memphis is renovating its stadium to the tune of $200 million (more than Temple said it would cost to build a new one) and that probably is not because it wants to remain in the AAC.
Temple’s media market (No. 4) is the only top five media market that does not have a Power 5 team within its footprint so, for that reason alone, a lot of eyes will be on the Owls and the way they bounce back from 1-6 and 3-9 seasons
Aresco can’t say that Temple or Memphis or really anyone else is committed to this league for a long time.
That said, it should be interesting how he walks on the eggshells that will no doubt be on the floor in less than a week. Repeating the same line he has in past media days threatens not only his credibility but the leagues.
Monday: There are two ways of looking at it