The American followed through on their intention by eliminating football divisions.
In late August, one month after UConn's departure became official, AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said they didn't intend to replace the Huskies with another member and already began the NCAA waiver process to play a conference championship with 11 teams and no divisions.
"We think playing 10 [conference] games is out of the question for all sorts of reasons," Aresco said. "We also don't want to be forced to add a team and raid another conference. We also don't want to be forced to jettison a team."
On Monday, that became official when the American announced an eight-game conference schedule for at least the 2020 and 2021 seasons:
The 2020 season will be the first for The American with 11 football-playing institutions. The 2020 and 2021 schedules will include eight conference games – four home games and four road contests – for each team in each season. Each team will face the other 10 teams at least once in the two-year cycle.
“This scheduling model provides balance and competitive equity and will contribute to the exciting seasons to which we have become accustomed in the American Athletic Conference,” said Aresco. “It is a fair model that was unanimously supported by our athletic directors.”
The American will not have a divisional format for its 2020 and 2021 football seasons. The conference will determine the procedures for determining the participants in the American Athletic Conference Football Championship at a later date."
Bravo to the American for making the smart, obvious move. And even if they add a 12th member in the future, divisions shouldn't return. No FBS conference should have divisions, especially if the College Football Playoff becomes an eight-team auto-bid format.
The one bizarre piece: "The conference will determine the procedures for determining the participants in the American Athletic Conference Football Championship at a later date."
The first- and second-place teams play in the conference championship. That's it.
Sure, they may need to sort out tiebreaker procedures, which, if they're anything like the Big 12's, will be messy. But there's no other way to determine title-game participants other than looking at the top teams in the standings. It's still early and unlikely the conference concocts a stupid title-game system without the first- and second-place teams, but it's still a bizarre TBD piece to their announcement.
FBS RANKINGS: No. 1 to No. 130