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NY Post
New York Post
2 Sep 2023


NextImg:AAC targeting Army to join conference amid college football realignment

The American Athletic Conference could be on the verge of adding a new member.

The conference has identified Army as its top target to replace SMU, according to ESPN.

Commissioner Mike Aresco has started exploring the process to add Army, per the report, and has already spoken to Army athletic director Mike Buddie.

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco has reportedly begun exploring how to add Army to the conference.
Getty Images

Army, a U.S. military academy, has long been independent for football and would reportedly join the AAC for football only — not for any other sports.

That’s the arrangement Navy — another U.S. military academy — already has with the conference.

Both schools have their other major sports largely compete in the Patriot League.

As an independent, there are few hurdles for Army to join a conference.

Navy (4-8 overall, 4-4 conference) finished sixth in the conference last year.

Army would simply replace SMU, who agreed to leave the AAC and join the ACC in 2024 as top college football conferences undergo dramatic transformations.

SMU was often one of the best teams in the conference and finished last year 7-6 (5-3 conference) in fourth place.

The AAC would have 13 teams without SMU, but Army would bring the total back to 14.

Army’s annual game against Navy is routinely one of the biggest games of the year in college football, which will require some maneuvering if Army joins the conference.

The game is traditionally played after conference championship games to ensure large television viewership.

Army head football coach Jeff Monken

Army head football coach Jeff Monken.
Getty Images

Along with SMU, Cal and Stanford joined the ACC to bring the conference to 18 teams, though only 17 will play football in the conference.

It’s the latest domino in college football’s realignment, as the Big Ten expanded to 18 teams, and the SEC and Big 12 expanded to 16 teams for the 2024 season.

Many of the new teams, who will officially join their respective conference next year, are not in the same geographic region their new conferences are usually based.