Five potential AAC media day story lines
As a precursor to the American Athletic Conference Summer Kickoff and Media Days (which officially commences today), we're previewing various parts of the conference, from schedules to story lines to significant players. Today: five story lines that could prevail at Tuesday's media session.
1. Pitching the 'Power Six'
Unlike last summer, when the league's future seemed destined for limbo amid talk of Big 12 expansion, stability has prevailed. With the conference on solid footing for now, expect Commissioner Mike Aresco to trumpet his 'Power Six' mantra profusely. Aresco is sure to laud his league's across-the-board competitiveness against Power Five foes as rationale for the AAC becoming the sixth power conference. But a canyon of revenue disparity remains between the AAC and its peers in the power leagues, and until the next major round of realignment, we doubt the autonomous Power Five will split its monetary pie six ways.
2. Bulls a Unanimous Pick?
The only real suspense surrounding the conference's preseason media poll (which should be released around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday) is whether USF will be a unanimous pick to win the East Division. If the Bulls aren't, we may be inclined to suspect an operative from Moscow -- or Orlando -- tampered with the election. As for the overall championship? We see the Bulls as more of an overwhelming choice than a unanimous one.
3. Derby days ahead
No fewer than five teams enter preseason camp with bona fide quarterback competitions on tap. At Tulsa, coach Philip Montgomery will choose between sophomore Chad President and touted redshirt freshman Luke Skipper as a replacement for Golden Hurricane all-time leading passer Dane Evans. SMU's Chad Morris will oversee a derby featuring incumbent Ben Hicks, Arkansas transfer Rave Peavey and former Wisconsin signee D.J. Gillins. And in the East, new Temple coach Geoff Collins' roster features four quarterbacks who have combined for 11 collegiate pass attempts.
4. Edsall's encore
After a mediocre half-decade at Maryland (22-34 in four-plus seasons), Randy Edsall -- winningest coach in Connecticut history -- is back for his second stint with the Huskies. His rebuilding task will require time -- predecessor Bob Diaco left him with little -- but Edsall showed in his first go-round in Storrs what a little patience and perseverance will do (74-70 record, four consecutive bowl berths from 2007-10).
5. Stoking the 'Civil Conflict' (UCF vs. UConn)
On second thought, nevermind.