American Athletic Conference Football Divisions Announced

By Kevin Kelley -

The American Athletic Conference football divisions were officially announced today by conference commissioner Mike Aresco.

Beginning with the 2015 season after Navy joins the conference, the American will have East and West Divisions with six teams in each.


UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, USF, Temple


Houston, Memphis, Navy, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa

The conference will continue to play an eight-game football schedule. Each team will play five games against the other teams in their division plus three from the opposite division.

The division winners will then meet in the American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game, which will be played at the home site of the higher ranked team.

“This is an exciting step in the continued development of our conference,” said Aresco. “With our performance on the field and the exposure we received from our media partners, I couldn’t be more satisfied with our first year of American Athletic Conference football. Creating this divisional format will allow us to build upon that success. Our fans will enjoy our divisional play and the championship game that will be established in 2015.

“The East-West format we have adopted gives each division a distinct identity, provides long-term competitive balance and protects traditional rivalries while allowing each school to travel across the conference’s geographical footprint on a regular basis.”

  1. Josh
    May 30, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    I would like to know why Navy is in the West. Cincinnati would have made more sense there.

  2. Larry
    May 30, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Switching Navy and Cincinnati would make more sense geographically. I bet Cincinnati demanded to be in the East to tie into Florida recruiting.

    • Bearcatvol
      May 30, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      I think both schools are fine with that. Cincy heavily recruits Florida, Navy recruits Texas.

  3. Dan
    May 30, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    As a Navy fan, I really hope we don’t have to put up with this conference experiment for more than a season or two. No offense to any of the teams in the conference, but not a single one of them excites me. I’m happy to play any of them occasionally, but Tulane, Tulsa, Memphis, SMU and Houston on the schedule every single year… no thanks. Plus with 8 conference games and Army, Air Force and ND on the schedule every year, we have almost zero schedule flexibility.

    • prenticejames
      May 30, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      I agree Dan. No need for Navy to do this. They’re Navy and would be just fine as an independent, much better than BYU. Patriotism alone guarantees them the ability to schedule well. Same for Army and Air Force to a certain extent. No need for Navy to join a conference. Next to ND, the most attractive independent.

    • Jay
      May 30, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      I honestly didn’t know Navy had football fans. Nice to meet you

    • ND
      May 30, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Navy joined the conference because it means more $. Get used to it. They are not leaving.

  4. Dirk
    May 30, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Navy is very happy to be in the West Division so they can play more games in Texas.

  5. Dirk
    May 30, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I wish the American would add UMASS and Rice, and stay at an 8 game Conference schedule, and require one game with the Big Group of 5 every year as well?

    • bradleysmith1212
      May 30, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      The American would be WAY better off to add Air Force and Army. Bring the Commander-In-Chief trophy in conference. Perfecting branding move.

    • ND
      May 30, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      The American did invite Army. They turned them down as they felt they couldnt be competitive. They were not competitive years earlier when they were in Conference USA. UMass is not coming as the conference doesn’t feel they add any economic value to the conference. UMass will head to Sun Belt for football only. BYU is who the conference really covets. If BYU ever agreed to join, it would open up other schools out west joining them. (San Diego St again, conference would hold their nose and invited Boise St again)
      Air Force declined to join conference previously.

    • John
      May 30, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      Rice makes zero sense. They already have the Houston market covered with UH. If they wanted to add another Texas team it would be UTSA no question. No need for 2 teams in Houston. And UH would never allow that

    • JoeD
      June 3, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Navy has done what they could to try and stay relevant. Army has seemingly given up scheduling down to get a few wins while waiting for the Navy game. Air Force is perfectly happy in the MWC, thank you very much.

  6. JC
    June 2, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    All I know is I’m pretty excited about this AAC divisional breakdown, especially looking at the East. Those who think Navy won’t have real competitive conference play year in and year out need to think twice and worse case scenario Navy can always stack up its out of conference schedule by adding a p5 team every year. I feel every team in the AAC should play 2-3 p5 games every season and just do what they can to get talent in the conference and even try to persuade BYU and Boise St. to join. If that happened, oh man! Don’t underestimate this conference people, if you do you’ll probably look as dumb as ESPN annalists looked when they made their predictions for the 2013 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

  7. jst5
    June 2, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    I think that geographically they should have gone to this direction

    North: UCONN Temple Cincy Memphis Navy ECU

    South: SMU Houston Tulsa Tulane UCF USF

  8. Greg
    June 3, 2014 at 2:22 am

    Tough slate for the eastern division teams. Temple is really going to struggle in this set up.

  9. Mike
    June 3, 2014 at 3:11 am

    UH doesn’t cover the Houston market. They typically draw 20,000 in a city of 4 million.

  10. Dan
    June 3, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    UTSA would be a great add if UConn left or the conference wanted to expand further. San Antonio is a football crazy area with no other competition in the city (no NFL or major college team in the city). To the guy that said Houston only draws 20k in a city of 4 million – It’s not just about attendance, it’s about television markets. I would venture to say most of the people in Houston are probably aTm, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, etc fans first – then Houston fans after that. A lot may not spend money to go to the game, but would watch if Houston was playing SMU on a cable channel. I live in Tulsa & can tell you that first hand. A ton of people here are Oklahoma State or Oklahoma fans, but also want Tulsa to win (except when they play each other). For instance, I will watch Tulsa games on tv, but rarely go to them in person (unless it’s a Thursday or Friday night game). Just saying it’s not a simple – if I’m a fan of school x (big 5 school) then I won’t be interested in following school y’s season (non AQ smaller school).

    • Mike
      June 3, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      UH alumni only funded 50% of the new stadium. Increased student fees were slapped on future students or there would have been no stadium. Naming rights have been cut in half and still no takers. Texas, aTm, Baylor, Texas Tech and UTSA fans do not care about UH football.

  11. Dan
    June 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Well my larger point is it’s about television markets (Why Houston, SMU were added specifically). And even if only 5-10% or so of the residents of Dallas or Houston are “fans” – it still represents a larger population versus the metropolitan area surrounding Marshall or Louisiana Tech. You said UH doesn’t cover the Houston market – what market would it cover then? The American conference isn’t the SEC, nor will it ever be. I’m merely stating it’s not as black and white as you think – and that the mere presence of a university in a large city (even if it’s playing 5th fiddle) is worth something to the conference.

  12. Klutch
    June 11, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Yes, I think Navy and Cinncinnati are in the wrong divisions but we will get used to it. What I see is a major discrepancy in the balance of power, at least initially, with the East being a lot better overall than the west.

  13. Mike
    June 19, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    The West is two urban schools and four private. Total imbalance when compared to the East.

  14. sokorissokoris
    September 29, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Navy grad and long time season ticket holder…not super excited about the move because we are virtually locked in with 8 conference games plus, AFA, ND and Army pretty much permanently scheduled. Leaves room for one game and I am imagining that would be an FCS team someplace near the East Coast. No games – or only one game – west of the Rockies every year seems to hamper our ability to get exposure out west. We’re not recruiting for football as much as we are for kids who will serve in the Navy and Marine Corps after graduation. We might get better football recruit exposure in Texas where we recruit specifically for that, but not for future grads west of Colorado Springs. I get that it’s about the do-re-mi, but I am a little bummed that we are so locked down. Hopefully, as more teams join the AAC, we can drop the three out of division games and get a little more flexibility to play on the West Coast or even a Big ten Team.

  15. Paul
    November 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    BYU might join the AAC at some point if offered. After going indy, they are hesitant to join any conference, but their preference would be the Big 12, as it is closer to them. The PAC took Utah but did not want BYU, presumably because they are a church owned school (PAC said the reason is that BYU is not a research school). BYU kind of likes being indy because of their broadcast facility, which is first rate, and can broadcast not only nation-wide but world-wide, on BYUtv. However, they only have broadcast rights on some of their games, not all. The only game that was broadcast live this year was the Savannah State game. Others were broadcast on a delayed basis (ESPN games). I’m still looking to see if the BYU – Cal game (which was broadcast on the PAC 12 network by way of Dish) will be re-broadcast on BYUtv. Hope so, as it appears to have been a great game. Tried to watch it at a BWW sports bar, but they did not have Dish where we were at the time (Farmington, NM). If the Big 12 doesn’t offer BYU a chance to join, would love to see the AAC offer BYU an opportunity to join, as a 2nd option. I think it would work for BYU and I feel it would enhance the footprint of the ACC and may entice other teams in the western part of the US to be offered and perhaps also join. The next two years should be interesting to see what happens to the college FB playoff situation. Will it go to an 8 team playoff? Perhaps.

  16. robert66667777
    February 4, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    i can’t understand the !@#$#@# imbisol who did a poor job of planning things out didn’t think this through logically and hypothetically and systematically through any geometric major can tell you unless your to stupid to figure out for your brainless self and unless a stubborn hairbrain can not do the math itself .My point being anybody stupid enough to think C Florida S Florida belong with Connecticut East Carolina Temple and Cincinnati in the East have another thing coming Navy fits the east not the West Memphis also fits the east and not the West.Cental Florida and South Florida belong with Houston SMU Tulane &Tulsa.Not the other way around