At least the famous clambake should be good for headlines – one of the top two newspapers in Hampton Roads claims “The league’s annual Newport, R.I., clambake towers above all media days.” But somehow peanuts in your cold drink at ACC days might have generated even more buzz at the college football food nexus. (Y’all Yankees really didn’t know about that?). Still, the clambake got some pretty good coverage from the new members of the conference (including the rehashing of prior crustacean-related coverage).
In the year before Navy’s move, my interest in the event was limited to the important things:
It would have been understandable had there been NO mention of Navy at all – plenty of work to do to build buzz for the coming season. After all, three new teams joined this month. However, I found it notable that right after welcoming those new members, Commissioner Mike Aresco talked about Navy.
As you know, Navy joins us in 2015, giving us 12 teams, and I want to recognize and thank Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk for his efforts in positioning Navy to join our conference and for his active involvement and support as we have built this league. I want to thank Vice Admiral Mike Miller, who recently retired as the superintendent of the Naval Academy. He is an outstanding gentleman who was instrumental in our league’s development and I will always treasure my warm friendship with him.
He would later bring Navy into the conversation again, when his narrative was establishing the American’s bona fides in beating so-called “Power Five” conferences. He rattled off 37 teams that have been beaten in the last five years by the 12 American members for 2015 – by my count Navy has four of those scalps. He went on to say “And that does not include multiple wins over Notre Dame.” I would have liked to watch UConn coach Bob Diaco’s face at that second.
Clearly Navy is important to Aresco’s and the American’s plans from 2015 forward.
Navy does have one 2014 opponent from the American – we play Temple on 6 September for those of you who haven’t looked beyond game planning for Ohio State. With Army-Navy in Baltimore, playing Temple at the Linc allows Navy coaches to tell recruits about playing in four NFL stadia in 2014 (M&T, FEDEX, the Linc, and Qualcomm should we win 6 and go Poinsettia Bowling again). Temple was picked to finish eighth in the conference by the media. Not too surprising, given the Owls’ 2-10 (1-7) record in 2013. However, there are some marquee players: QB P.J. Walker ranked third in the conference in efficiency behind Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles as a true freshman, and Linebacker Tyler Matakevich is on some pre-season watchlists.
2015 AMERICAN WEST
I also tried to listen in on our future West Division foes. Houston looks like the team to beat there – joining ’15 East teams Cincy, UCF, and ECU in the top four. Next, our Gansz Trophy rivals from SMU at fifth. Tulane may have been picked to tie for ninth with UConn, but I will give them two sentences here because coach Curtis Johnson’s entire transcript is posted here for your reading pleasure. Every coach is brimming with optimism in July, but it is certainly nice to see the new arrival, potential cellar-dweller sound like the Commissioner does.
As for Aresco – let me reiterate what I said in my previous post – the senior leaders of the American are intent on being a top conference in college football and in college sports. Twelve months from now, Navy will join the American. It is good to know that the leadership is moving forward.
Oh – and there will be a clambake.