By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For years, Temple had banged the door for admittance to the prestigious Big East Conference in all sports. Finally, in 2012, the Owls returned to the Big East in football (after being kicked out in 2004 for being non-competitive), and just when it appeared it was all set for the Owls’ other sports to join the Big East, it wasn’t the Big East anymore.
As of July 1, however, what used to be the Big East has now dissolved into the American Athletic Conference, which is what basically used to be Conference USA. That’s where Temple now resides.
The American Athletic Conference (or AAC, not be confused with the ACC) is an all-sports conference that has fragments of three conferences — the Big East, Conference USA and the Atlantic 10 — with 10 member schools: Central Florida (formerly in Conference USA), Cincinnati (Big East), Connecticut (formerly in Big East), Houston (formerly in Conference USA), Louisville (formerly in Big East), Memphis (formerly in Conference USA), Rutgers (formerly in Big East), Southern Methodist University (formerly in Conference USA), South Florida (formerly in Big East) and Temple (formerly in the Atlantic 10, and Big East in football).
While it’s going to be the new sports home for Temple, the new conference will jettison defending NCAA men’s basketball champion Louisville after 2013 to become a fulltime member of the ACC, and Rutgers is also using the AAC as a one-year home before becoming a fulltime member of the Big 10 in 2014—opening its Bog 10 schedule with Penn State.
In 2014, East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa will be joining the AAC and in 2015, Navy will join the conference.
But after Rutgers leaves for the AAC — which is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island despite carrying five of its 10 original members from the Midwest — Temple and Connecticut will be the most Northern schools in the AAC.
One benefit, at least for the 2013 football season, is that the AAC will be one of the Power Six Conferences of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), with the ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference.
That will change, however, in 2014, when the AAC will be cut out of the automatic BCS picture and vie for a bowl berth with Conference USA, the MAC, the Mountain West and the Sun Belt Conference in a playoff for entry into one of six major bowls.
Another benefit, for 2013 at least, is a visit during basketball season by defending national champion Louisville.
Temple opens its football season at Notre Dame, Saturday, August 31.