He could have danced around the issue. He didn’t. He could have downplayed its significance. He didn’t.
American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco went into this week’s AAC football media day festivities knowing that the focus would be on the stability of his conference, with a raid from the Big 12 appearing inevitable.
Aresco, who has been commissioner of a league which started as the Big East football and basketball conference and then morphed into the AAC when the Catholic 7 segment of Big East basketball broke away, actually used the term “elephant in the room.”.
And then he switched to the schools that are still part of the AAC. In doing so, Aresco mentioned Condoleeza Rice, John F. Kennedy, Paul Bear Bryant and the Broadway play Hamilton.
I was sitting next to my friend, ESPN’s Ivan Maisel at the AAC meetings in Newport as Aresco went on his tour of historical figures. Maisel tweeted the references and I thought back to the famous speech in Animal House in which John Belushi gave a pep talk to the boys from Delta House and talked about the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor.
Like Belushi, Aresco was on a roll as he talked about a future for his conference which he viewed with glasses which many suggested could be rose-colored in tint.
No one, including Aresco knows how this will play out. But with another college football season looming, which means that the Power 5 conferences will regain their starring roles, this week belonged to the AAC and Mike Aresco, who is TMG’s first Newsmaker of the Week.