Every night a certain political commentary program ends its night with a Tip of The Day. Forget the fact that the “tip” isn’t really a tip but a closing thought by the anchor, but, after getting a good look at the AAC composite schedule (above) a tip is in order:
The AAC, if it is going to be a serious conference, needs to step up its game. It is not going to happen this year and, because of the way schedules are made years in advance, it may not even happen next year. But it needs to happen.
The South Carolina States, Tennessee-Martins, Towsons and, yes, even Stony Brooks have to be removed from the schedules, the sooner the better. It’s not like the AAC is a Power 5 conference and the in-conference games are not sooooo tough that the league’s members need to bake cupcakes for the early portion of their schedules.
The AAC needs to do what it did last year—play the ACC seven times and beat them four times in the regular season. That’s the way a conference builds a strong reputation, not beating up on the Tennessee-Martins of the world. Yet that’s the team Cincinnati opens with on Sept. 3.
Other head-scratching games opening week include South Carolina State at UCF, Maine at UConn, West Carolina at East Carolina and South Florida hosting Towson. Those could have been scheduled against P5 teams and the AAC needs to schedule those games and win them. (Yet, UConn deserves a lot of credit for scheduling three ACC opponents.)
Temple could set an example in the process by dumping the Stony Brook game (9/9). It would take some work by Dr. Pat Kraft, but it would be worth it. Have Stony Brook play Howard that day, then offer to go on the road to Rutgers, which is scheduled to play Howard that day. Rutgers is just arrogant enough to think it could beat Temple and, from Temple’s perspective, the game offers P.J. Walker and Jahad Thomas—among others—a final chance to win there. It would also wipe out the bad taste of 2013 and give the Owls a chance for consecutive wins over Big 10 teams. It’s worth picking up a phone, making calls to Stony Brook, Howard and Rutgers and making this happen.
That’s the way a G5 conference builds a reputation, not by playing cupcakes but by seeking out the power schools and beating them. That’s how John Chaney built Temple into a national basketball power and lifted up the A10 in the process. Temple football can do the same for the G5.