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43 Days Until Kansas Football: What if Kansas were in the AAC?

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Forget everything, basketball included: What if KU were in the AAC?

AAC Championship - Memphis v Central Florida Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

For me at least, this series has been an interesting depressing look at the current state of Kansas football. So far, we’ve looked at C-USA, the MAC, the Sun Belt, and the Mountain West. We’ve even looked at the Missouri Valley, an FCS league, and the MIAA, a D2 league.

Today, we’ll take a look at the final “Group of Five” conference on our list, the AAC.

Once again, we’ll use the F+ ratings available at FootballOutsiders.com. If you read up, it does appear that yes, the two components of F+ (S&P+ and FEI) both adjust for opponents and strength of schedule, so this should theoretically give us a pretty good idea of how well Kansas would fare outside of the Big 12.

For 2018, the AAC will be a 12-team league divided into two divisions, obviously with a conference title game at the end. As usual, we’ll do our best to ignore the divisions for this exercise.

Kansas in the AAC

School 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
School 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
KANSAS 123 108 127 99 101
Central Florida 8 67 128 60 21
South Florida 25 47 44 123 99
Temple 71 36 45 67 98
East Carolina 127 102 73 61 40
Cincinnati 109 98 72 47 64
UConn 120 124 80 119 93
Memphis 22 40 41 41 83
Houston 36 30 26 73 46
Navy 49 48 21 44 58
SMU 75 90 106 127 84
Tulane 76 97 119 93 70
Tulsa 111 44 95 117 94

First thing I notice? What a roller coaster Central Florida is!

Overall it looks like the Jayhawks generally wouldn’t fare too well in this conference. By the numbers, KU would have had one conference win each of the past three seasons, four in 2014, and none in 2013.

As for the most recent head-to-head matchups, in 2016 Kansas (108) lost at Memphis (40) 43-7. In 2015, Kansas (127) lost at home to Memphis (41), 55-23. Prior to that you have to go all the way back to 2008, when Kansas (28) lost at South Florida (34), 37-34.

A few more things to note. Why in the hell are we scheduling home-and-home series with a school like Houston that is a perennial top-50 program (and beat Oklahoma in 2016)? Get UConn in there!

As for coaching candidates for KU, there probably aren’t very many likely coaches currently in the conference. Willie Taggart built up South Florida from 2013-16 and is now the head coach at Oregon. Ken Niumatalolo is a dream hire but he has reportedly turned down BYU and Arizona recently.

I see only two even slight possibilities for your consideration. Mike Norvell, who just took over Memphis in 2016 from Justin Fuente, is currently the highest paid coach in the Group of Five at over $1.8M. Also, former Texas QB Major Applewhite is the current head coach at Houston, a position he took over from Tom Herman in 2017.

But back to the overall point of this article, which is that it appears as if Kansas wouldn’t do much better in the AAC than it is currently doing in the Big 12, and I have a feeling that things may continue to look grim as we continue this series with the Power 5 conferences.