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Jeff Jacobs: AAC Needs To Make On-Field Statement - Hartford Courant

NEWPORT, R.I. — In his football media day speech last year, American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco quoted St. Francis of Assisi, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Michelangelo. This year, in the continuing pursuit of demonstrating his conference's fight and vision, Aresco quoted Larry McHugh.

As Aresco's former football coach at Xavier-Middletown, McHugh has to love being included in such august company. As chairman of the UConn Board of Trustees, McHugh undoubtedly would rather have his school included in the Big 12 or Big Ten, one of the Power Five conferences.

"I do not like the perceived divide that has developed in college sports, especially in college football," Aresco said Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency. "I would like to see more media attention, which influences public attention and public opinion, focused on us, not simply on the so-called Power Five.

"Although this situation now poses challenges for us, we have no intention of surrendering to it. … If we look and act like the so-called Power Five, we will be in the conversation and eventually 'Power Six' will enter the media and public lexicon and perceptions."

Defiance always sounds good in August. And when UConn basketball rises up in April, defiance still sounds pretty swell. Yet the fact of the matter is the slide from a Big East BCS league to one of the "other" five football conferences has been one of erosion for UConn. Erode enough and you will corrode enough.

Football fills the college bank vault. As the Power Five conferences fill their vaults higher and higher, the American scraps.

"We can do it for a couple of years," UCF coach George O'Leary said. "We obviously can't sustain. When you are not getting a $35 million check, it's hard to have that cost of attendance and keep up with everything."

There is only one thing for the AAC football conference and UConn to do.

Just win, baby. Quit talking. Start...

Source: www.courant.com


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