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How does it feel, AAC?

What’s it like to feel robbed, violated, ransacked and all the other variations of those words, which are found so easily in any Roget’s Thesaurus?

How does it feel, American Athletic Conference, to be on the receiving end for a change?

Not too good, I bet.

What a pity.

In the school of “what goes around comes around,” the AAC is getting what it deserves. And the league doesn’t like it a bit. Right, Mike Aresco?

Pardon his silence, but there just isn’t much the AAC’s commissioner can say these days. Fate often has a funny way of doing that.

Oh, sure, Aresco was living large seven or eight years ago. He was the raider back in those days, and Conference USA was the raidee. He victimized what was then a successful league, sweet-talking UCF, Houston, Memphis and SMU into leaving C-USA in 2013 and, then, East Carolina, Tulsa and Tulane in 2014.

Basically, the AAC gutted Conference USA. And C-USA has done nothing but languish ever since, steadily dropping until it is now regarded as No. 10 among the 10 FBS leagues.

More or less, Aresco and the AAC ruined Conference USA. That was particularly true for Marshall University and Southern Miss because they were the two most notable schools that got left behind.

But, now, the roles have been reversed. The AAC is the league getting hijacked. It’s the conference that is losing its heavyweights, its cash cows, its top commodities.

Such Group of Five powerhouse programs as Brigham Young University, the University of Cincinnati, UCF and Houston have set sail for the much greener pastures of the Power Five by joining the Big 12.

Who can blame them?

The increase in revenue will be outstanding. The upswing in prestige will go hand-in-hand with the revenue. It’s a game-changer for those four schools.

Well, guess what?

It’s also a game-changer for the AAC.

Although it has been regarded as the No. 1 conference in the Group of Five ever since the AAC built its league on former Conference USA members, now the AAC’s status will begin to wane. It will be losing Cincinnati, UCF and Houston in two or three years and there won’t be much left.

The remaining eight members would be Memphis, East Carolina, SMU, Tulsa, Tulane, South Florida, Temple and Navy. Not exactly a “Who’s Who.”

So, can the AAC re-invent itself? Not likely. The Mountain West is too far away to raid. The only C-USA school that could afford to join would be Old Dominion, and the Monarchs’ football program wouldn’t enhance the AAC in the least. Here’s a fiscal example. East Carolina showed $59.97 million in revenue in 2019, according to the Knight Commission. In the same year, Marshall showed $32.91 million in revenue.

Marshall simply doesn’t possess a large enough athletic budget to compete in the AAC.

So, does the AAC try to raid the Sun Belt? Good luck with that. The Sun Belt was close to being on a par with the AAC before the American got raided. Once Cincinnati, UCF and Houston leave, the Sun Belt clearly will be superior.

And all this will happen sooner, not later. According to Sports Illustrated, the Big 12 is supposed to vote on extending offers to BYU, UC, UCF and Houston on Friday. It will be at least two years before Cincy, UCF and Houston will be able to join. But BYU could join as soon as 2022.

So, what happens to the AAC? Who cares! Just like the AAC didn’t care what happened to C-USA.

Karma is a you-know-what.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at

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