The American Athletic Conference (AAC) will look significantly different in 2023 when the college football season begins. The conference is losing some of its best programs, but it’s also attempting to reload with a few up-and-coming programs.
For years, the conference has been the best among the Group of Five leagues. Outside of the Power Five, AAC teams were frequently the best in the nation. Some AAC teams were notably better than Power Five counterparts.
Can the league maintain consistent success in 2023 and beyond? That will depend largely on the success of the league’s newcomers.
Teams Leaving The AAC
Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF are leaving the AAC for the Big 12 on July 1. There’s no sugarcoating it, that’s a tough blow for the conference.
Cincinnati recently played in the College Football Playoff, becoming the first team outside the Power Five to make the four-team field. Houston is a solid football team, and the school’s men’s basketball program is currently among the best in the nation. UCF’s recent football success rivals just about any other Group of Five team, and the Knights should fare well at the Power Five level.
The AAC is losing three fantastic football programs. Replacing them is arguably impossible, but that doesn’t mean the league isn’t trying to maintain its spot atop the Group of Five in 2023.
Teams Joining The AAC
The AAC is adding six teams from Conference USA, a huge loss for that conference. Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB, and UTSA are joining the AAC for the 2023 season.
In the immediate future, UTSA looks like a major football addition. Frank Harris returns at quarterback for the Roadrunners, and they should possess the offensive firepower to quickly compete for an AAC title.
Florida Atlantic also brings significant immediate interest to the league, as former Texas Head Coach Tom Herman will lead the Owls. Herman was highly successful at Houston, and he has a 54-22 overall record as a head football coach. Could FAU become a Group of Five power?
Other programs all offer potential, and a group of new coaches should make the incomers exciting. How will Trent Dilfer work as UAB’s head coach? Can Biff Poggi make Charlotte a winner? Can Eric Morris lead North Texas to consistent success?
2023 AAC Members
In total, the AAC will have 14 football teams in 2023. The conference will feature just one division, with the top two teams meeting in the league title game in early December.
Here are the 14 AAC football teams competing in the league in 2023:
Bennett Conlin is a college football contributor for HERO Sports, and he works full-time covering sports betting industry news and legislation for Sports Handle and US Bets.