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Entering the Mike Aresco Spin Zone

Mike Aresco is in an unenviable position, but that one stop him from trying to work the best spin zone he possibly can over three AAC teams leaving the conference.

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Cincinnati Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area called the Mike Aresco Spin Zone.

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco isn’t new to the spin zone game. After all, this is the man who brought you Power Six, instead of just arguing that the AAC was the clear top-tier Group of Five conference. For years now, his entire marketing campaign for the conference was to pretend that this was a group of teams committed to one another, to make sure that this conference was as good as it could be. Clearly, that was never the whole truth, but everyone already knew that.

Now, we have the latest of Aresco’s attempts to spin reality into his vision. Three AAC teams, noted as being the most valuable football assets to the conference, have moved on and were invited to the Big 12 on Friday. This will undoubtedly affect the AAC’s media deal, taking money out of the pockets of every remaining team in the conference. That’s before you consider the hit to the perception that the conference is going to take in multiple sports.

In a statement, Aresco wrote, “Today’s news confirms what we have said all along regarding our status as a power conference. The irony that three of our schools are being asked to take the place of the two marquee schools which are leaving the Big 12 is not lost on us. Our conference was targeted for exceeding expectations in a system that wasn’t designed to accommodate our success.”

Sure. That’s one way to look at it. If your friends stop hanging out with you for a new friend, it’s probably a tell that you’re actually awesome since they hung out with you at all. It’s definitely not you being forgotten about for something better.

Really, this statement could have said, “Oh yeah, I don’t want to be friends with you anymore. Enjoy the Big 12. I’m not even mad about how this is going.”

At the same time, what do you expect Aresco to say? It’s his job to promote this conference. He needs to seem positive about the future, even if there is no good reason to seem positive right now. I just hate these statements that make him seem ignorant of reality, like he’s got his eyes and ears closed through this entire process.

Mike Aresco and the AAC have also made it clear that they want to expand, and Aresco seems to think that there won’t be any other defectors despite reports that the Big 12 may not be done yet. Aresco would say, “Our remaining schools are unwavering in their commitment to competing and succeeding at the highest level and we will not allow external factors to put a ceiling on our potential. We remain unified and resolute and will consider all of our options as we move The American into our second decade and beyond.”

So, now it’s time for Aresco to do what he can to save the revenue and reputation of the AAC. He was fairly successful doing that once, but this time is going to be much harder. And, he’ll also have to hope no one else wants out of the AAC now.