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Realignment Mania Hits American, Mountain West Conferences

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In more news from the world of conference realignment gone crazy, the American Athletic Conference is eyeing some Mountain West powers to try to improve its lineup of schools.

Or as has been the case with the Power Five lately, change programs for the mere sake of change, perhaps so they can say, “We did it, too.”

Per Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, the AAC is looking to add some teams following the “Big 12’s raid” of Cincinnati, Houston and UCF. Schools under consideration by the AAC, per Dodd, are Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, San Diego State and UAB — with UAB actually being a member of Conference USA.

“That suggests AAC commissioner Mike Aresco could be looking mostly West in search of equal television value for the three prize pieces he lost to the Big 12,” Dodd wrote.

Aside from UAB, it wouldn’t make sense for any of the above schools to make a move from a logistics standpoint. But college sports are no longer about logistics. Not when there’s so much television money to be made. Greed has overtaken common sense, and no program from a Power Five conference is safe.

“What’s emerging is a tug-of-war for the best brand names available at the Group of Five level,” Dodd wrote.

Anyway, it seems Boise State and UAB are the schools the AAC wants most, though Boise State has also been linked to the Big 12. So yes, of course, this goes beyond the AAC and Mountain West. When it comes to realignment, you can just pick your poison, and the NCAA will probably be fine with it — as long as it gets a piece of the financial pie too.

“Big 12 executives are also watching closely as the Pac-12 negotiates a new TV deal in 2024 when its current agreement with Fox and ESPN expires. If the Pac-12 media rights revenue approximates that of the Big 12 at that time, there is a feeling within the Big 12 some Pac-12 schools might be interested in joining,” Dodd wrote.

Having a hard time keeping up? Don’t know the conference in which your school is playing? Sticking solely to the NFL and giving up on big-time college sports entirely?

You couldn’t be blamed for any of it, and the AAC-Mountain West talk is just the latest reason why.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and NBA.com, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side, FortyEightMinutes.com.

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