The American Athletic Conference consists of 12 prestigious institutions: the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati, East Carolina University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Houston, the University of Memphis, the U.S. Naval Academy (football only), the University of South Florida, Southern Methodist University, Temple University, Tulane University, University of Tulsa and Wichita State University (non-football).
In 2018, The American once again saw a member school claim a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl as UCF capped a 12-win season in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. It was the the fourth time in six seasons that The American placed its champion in a New Year’s bowl. UCF was ranked No. 11 in the final Associated Press poll, while Cincinnati was No. 23 in the final coaches’ poll.
The 2017 football season saw The American enjoy unprecedented success as UCF finished as the only undefeated team in the nation, and the first in the previous four college football seasons, capping a 13-0 campaign with a win against Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. UCF claimed a national championship as the No. 1-ranked team in the Colley Matrix and was ranked No. 6 in the final Associated Press poll.
Individual teams in The American have enjoyed some of their best seasons in program history as members of the conference. UCF has finished in the national top 10 twice in six seasons as a conference member – in 2013 and 2017. Houston went 13-1 in the 2015 football season, setting a school record for wins, while Navy won a program-record 11 games in its first season in the conference, also in 2015.
Memphis, which had not won 10 games in a season since 1938, has registered two 10-win seasons in the last four years (2015, 2017), while Temple enjoyed its first 10-win season in school history in 2015. USF finished in the top 25 for the first two times in program history (2016, 2017). Cincinnati registered its third 11-win season in program history in 2018.The American holds media rights partnerships with ESPN and CBS Sports which give the conference outstanding national exposure on the two industry leaders in sports television.
American Athletic Conference teams have access to the pinnacle of college football’s postseason structure. An American representative would be chosen for the College Football Playoff semifinals if it is among the top four teams in the CFP selection committee’s final ranking. Otherwise, the league would place its champion in a New Year’s Bowl if it is ranked higher than the champions of Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference and the Sun Belt Conference.
Additionally, The American holds primary or secondary partnerships with nine bowls for the final year of its current six-year cycle, ensuring multiple annual matchups against the nation’s top conferences and providing desirable postseason destinations to member institutions.