As expected, the American Athletic Conference has announced its divisional alignments for 2015 and beyond. And, just as expected, it’ll prompt those who value geographical sensibility to throw up a little bit in their collective mouths.
As was hinted at earlier this month, commissioner Mike Aresco revealed Friday the makeup of the AAC’s two divisions for the 2015 season and coinciding with the arrival of Navy, the last of a handful of new additions to replace the departed Louisville and Rutgers. The conference opted to go with East-West divisional split, which, given the far-flung nature of the current and future membership, lends itself to some head-scratching.
The biggest example of that will be Navy, with the Annapolis, Maryland, service academy being dropped into the West division. On the other side, albeit not as geographically egregious, is the placement of Cincinnati in the East division. Somewhere, the Big Ten with its 14 teams and the Big 12 with its 10 teams are chuckling mildly.
Regardless, here is the complete look at how the East-West divisions will be filled:
“This is an exciting step in the continued development of our conference,” said Aresco in a statement. “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.”
In addition to the divisional alignment, the AAC also announced the tiebreak procedure for the 2014 season — a conference championship game will be held in 2015 as the league moves to 12 teams. Below is that procedure:
For the 2014 season, the American Athletic Conference Football Champion will be the team that finishes the regular season with the highest winning percentage in conference games. If more than one team has the same winning percentage, the tied teams are declared co-champions. To determine the College Football Playoff/Host Bowl representative, the co-champion ranked highest by the College Football Playoff Committee will be eligible to receive the automatic bid shared with Conference USA, the Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt conferences.