The American Athletic Conference confirmed the rumors that were floating around Twitter last night, and released the conference's divisional alignments for 2015 and onward. Here's how it shapes up:
East: USF, UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, Temple
West: Houston, SMU, Memphis, Tulsa, Tulane, Navy
It doesn't take a genius to see that these divisions are pretty dreadfully imbalanced, and USF landed in by far the tougher of the two. Looking at football alone, the East has three of the league's four best teams as of now (UCF, Cincy, ECU), along with two traditionally solid teams that have been down lately (USF, UConn). The West has... Houston? Tulsa's had some good years recently, but they bottomed out last season and don't seem to be going anywhere. SMU is endlessly entertaining and endlessly 6-6. If you take a look at 2013's records, the disparity doesn't look that big (The East went a combined 37-37, while the West went 35-40), but that's with USF and UConn having uncharacteristically poor seasons, and three of the West's teams playing C-USA or Independent schedules.
How did this wind up happening? Supposedly because Navy asked to be in the West, pushing Cincinnati into the East, but couldn't the power imbalance have been avoided by swapping Cincinnati for Tulane or Memphis? I like playing Cincy every season, but this just doesn't seem logical.
This isn't good for the Bulls, predominantly because there's only one BCS slot for the best of all the non-Power 5 teams. If USF gets to a point where they're competing for that slot (along with teams like Boise State and BYU, I might add), it'll be really challenging to get through that East division unscathed, even with a really good team.