AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco Pushes Back On Proposed Playoff Expansion

Mike Aresco doesn't want to see Power Five privilege exist under an improved College Football Playoff expansion model.

"I don't want to see a system that would reward privilege for the sake of privilege," Aresco said to the AP.

The American Athletic Conference (AAC) commissioner has been fighting an uphill battle of trying to convince the playoff committee that his conference champion should have a chance to be in the playoff. In 2017, it was UCF, who went 13-0 and defeated SEC power Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. This year, it's No. 5 Cincinnati, 10-0 but unable to crack the top-4 of the College Football Playoff.

The AAC is facing a reality where an undefeated conference champion doesn't qualify for the playoff once again. Aresco wants change, with the first glimmer of hope coming during the summer.

The 12-team model was proposed in the summer, including six guaranteed spots for the highest-ranked FBS conference champions. The remaining six spots would belong to six at-large selections. In most years, the model figures to include the Power Five champions and the winner of the AAC, largely seen as the best non Power Five conference.

The 11 member CFP management committee met last week in Dallas to discuss expansion. A unanimous decision must be made before expansion can take place. The committee will meet again on Dec. 1, in hopes of coming to an agreement. Talks in the summer suggested that a new playoff model beginning in 2024 was on the table.

Aresco said he will continue to work to remove the P5/G5 designation that exists. He says the labeling damages teams in the AAC.

“This branding is very harmful to us,” Aresco said. “It’s as if we play in a different division.”

Written by
Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.