More from Q&A with American conference commissioner Mike Aresco
Q: Also Mike, for clarity’s sake, can you explain the route to the playoffs when that system kicks in next year? It’s been presented as though your conference will be frozen out of the mix. It will be more difficult sure but there is access.
A: We have every bit as much access to get into the playoffs. This is a tiered system. We have the four team playoff that’s going to determine the national champion. We have the ability to get into that just like anybody else. In fact, Cincinnati, was No.3 under Brian Kelly a few years ago, well, they would have been in it. We are going to compete. We have just as much of an opportunity as everybody else. The other opportunity if we don’t make the four-team playoff, is to potentially end up on New Year’s Day or New Year’s Eve in one of those important system bowls. One of those and three we could potentially be in are the Fiesta, the Cotton or the Chick-Fil-A and there our conference champion would need to be the highest ranked of the group of five conferences which includes Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American. As you know, we’ve got our sights set on competing with the other five, the ACC, Big Ten, nobody is the SEC, but we want to compete with that group guys. We hope that our champion is the highest ranked of the other five then our champion on New Year’s Day or New Year’s Eve. If that champion doesn’t then we would also want a top-tier program but we have every bit of as much opportunity as anybody else. We have to do on the field. Strength of schedule is key. The makeup of the selection committee is going to be key here as well.