For a second there, I was falling into a trap of publishing a power-ranking-only kind of site. That is not by design, but by circumstance. Please do not say I am sitting back, idly, while the league goes unranked. Do not compare me to Judy. Judging by the twitter timeline, it looks like every fanbase of a team with a +.500 winning percentage believes they should be in the AAC. We have written in this space previously, that the league was put together by something like convenience, and that has an effect on everyone’s loyalty. Old members do not like the new members, new members do not appreciate the old members. Everyone feels like it is way to spread out.
You will see sneering comments about how being in a league with “those” teams is not as good as [some list of regional teams]. This is often presented as insightful, or clever, or an epiphany. It is not, and will not ever be so. Having talked with fans across this league in various capacities1 as a writer and podcaster I have encountered a version of this same sentiment. Few are very familiar with furthest reaches of the league. The Texas schools’ fans are not overawed by Marshall. Marshall’s follower group does not respect the lack of history of the Texas schools. Southern Miss’ people are not happy to be associated with the Texas or Florida schools. Tech’s alumni are not impressed with Charlotte, etc. This is the way of it.
There is one main factor with two aspects that influences the future: That factor is money and those aspects are these: chance of getting to the CFP, and revenue, primarily from broadcast/streaming rights. The league as is, does not have a great profile and that means no team in this league is moving the needle. Whatever rumors you are hearing have to do with not being so much dead weight that it brings down the potential future league members’ chances at a solid strength of schedule or television revenue.
I have heard just about every possible combination of team except for UTEP. No one wants UTEP, not even the Mountain West and that is said and yet understandable. The school has been down for a while in both basketball and football and is far from every possible southern-focussed league. If the Mountain West does not want UTEP, then there is no clear fit.
Power Ranking Time
Time to rank these football teams.
1. UAB 1-0, 3-1
The Blazers escaped a late Tulane charge and played some typical Blazer football. It was ugly but it got the result. Next Liberty comes to town at new Protective Stadium and a new era begins.
Next up: vs Liberty at Protective on CBSSN 6pm
Last week: 1st
2. UTSA 1-0, 4-0
UTSA escaped by Memphis after pulling off a program-record comeback. A lot has been written about this group which is 4-0 and getting some buzz. I see some cracks in the performance, where Traylor’s team has some poor stretches but they have a lot of fight and that just about makes up for that.
Next up: vs UNLV on ESPN+ 5pm
Last week: 2nd
3. La Tech 1-0, 2-2
I am a believer in this play-to-your-opponent team and it has to do with the talent and the coaching. In a game and a season you can see the high and low of this team. They were good enough to look like they could blow out anyone on the schedule thus far, but also bad enough to have lost two and nearly dropped a big lead late vs a poor NT team.
Next up: at 23 NC State on ESPN+ at 5pm
Last week: 4th
4. Charlotte 1-0, 3-1
The 49ers had a little shootout against Middle Tennessee and that got some of those cobwebs off the offense a bit. It was a league win and that is really all that matters thus far.
Next up: at Illinois on BTN at 11am
Last week: 6th
5. Marshall 0-0, 2-2
An ugly ending to the App State game. It was a showpiece game and Marshall did not take full advantage. That takes some of the shine off Huff’s brief start but there is still everything to play for in front of them.
Next up: at Middle Tennessee on Stadium at 6pm
Last week: 3rd
6. FAU 0-0, 2-2
That was an ugly loss to Air Force and I am not liking my pick of this team as a dark horse in the East right about now.
Next up: Shula Bowl vs FIU on Stadium at 2:30pm
Last week: 5th
7. WKU 0-0, 1-2
There is a lot to like here but that is mostly on the offensive side of the ball. We thought the Tops would be formidable if they could keep a stout defense and simply add an explosive offense. Nope. They ent down and scored vs Indiana but were unable to stop the Hoosier pass game. They got sliced and diced all night, and that is a theme this year.
Next up: at 17 Michigan St. on BTN at 6:30 pm
Last week: 7th
HERE THERE BE TERRIBLE TEAMS
This group either has no shot or is not worthy of much of a blurb. It depends.
8. Rice 0-0, 1-3
Yay! You beat Texas Southern.
Next up: vs USM
Last week: 9th
9. Southern Miss 0-0, 1-3
Here by default. Teams were losing bad and Alabama whooped you. That is so expected that we almost didn’t factor it in.
Next up: at Rice on ESPN3 at 5:30pm
Last week: 10th
10. North Texas 0-2, 1-3
You are right that NT probably deserves to be ranked lower but is here simply because I think they are less bad than the rest. That defense held Tech to 0 points for 2.5 quarters and that is something.
Next up: bye
Last week: 8th
11. FIU 0-0, 1-3
FAU is going to win the Shula Bowl again, aren’t they?
Next up: Shula Bowl at FAU on Stadium at 2:30pm
Last week: 11th
12. Middle 0-2, 1-3
A couple of close conference losses to decent squads had us considering moving Middle up a bit. Only considering.
Next up: vs Marshall on Stadium at 6pm
Last week: 12th
13. ODU 0-0, 1-3
A close loss to Buffalo was probably a season highlight.
Next up: at UTEP on ESPN+ at 8pm
14. UTEP 0-0, 3-1
I have watched all or part of each of the four games and I have been un-entertained by the football on display in each.
Next up: see above.
Last week: 14th.
I do not claim to have covered it all, or to have been everywhere, but in this capacity as publisher and in others I have read and watched way more that my fair share↩