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Dr. Saturday

American Athletic Conference is the new name of the old Big East

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(USA Today Sports Images)

The best thing to do in the current college landscape is pick a conference name that can fit just about any school. Don't pick a direction. Don't choose a number. Realignment isn't over. Things can still change.

And so we have the American Athletic Conference, the new name of the schools that used to be in the Big East and lost the name when the Catholic basketball schools took it. No matter where the conference goes from here, any new school it adds will fit the name. Unless the AAC decides to expand abroad.

The conference announced the name, whose AAC acronym is sure to cause plenty of problems when folks are confused if you're talking about the ACC or the AAC.

The conference obviously was going to use the term "American" to fit its large geographic footprint.

"We worked with our institutions, sports marketing experts, media partners, and also solicited opinions and reactions from collegiate sports fans to create a compelling list of names," AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said. "Versions that included the word 'American' led every list. American Athletic Conference represents a strong, durable and aspirational name for our reinvented Conference.

"We engaged our fans through social media and focus groups in multiple cities, and we conducted extensive quantitative research," Aresco added. "We also received terrific input from our partners at ESPN and CBS Sports. Our name is a nod to tradition, but at the same time makes clear our determination to be a Conference with national impact and appeal. The American Athletic Conference will represent core American values of optimism, energy, growth and innovation. We have a broad geographical footprint that represents unity as well as diversity."

The name isn't too bad. The conference itself might still need work, but at least we'll know what to call it.

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