The American Athletic Conference is the newest mid-major in the world of college sports. Competing in both major Division I sports, football and basketball, the AAC has given in to quantity over quality as far as membership goes for their league. However, that does not mean they don’t possess a few well-above average programs who have yet to bounce for greener pastures.
One such program of that nature is the Cincinnati Bearcats. Their football program has been surprisingly strong for some time now. Given that the remaining schools in the AAC are mostly comprised of abominations, it is safe to assume they will continue to be a major player — at least in the AAC, but maybe not as much nationally as they have in the past because of their Big East relations.
The hoops program is as solid as any on the upper-east coast. Really, under Mick Cronin‘s leadership, Cincy has been a favorite coming into each season in the conference. Now, with the ability to play much weaker foes on the regular, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Bearcats run rampant through the AAC schedule each year.
The question remains, though, how long do they want to be a member for a “lesser” league? Both their major sporting programs are too good for the AAC as currently constructed. While the initial money might be too good to pass up, it is hard to fathom Cincy wanting to be a part of such a trend-setting joke of a league down the road.
It really comes down to the Bearcats answering two questions. One being if they want to bounce while the bouncing is good, and the other is if they think they could end up being such a great program that they can carry the flag for the league, and help them earn some respect on a national level.
But who are we kidding, like any sane school, the Bearcats are going to go or stay based on who has the most money at this point — and I don’t blame them one bit.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone