American Athletic Conference releases divisions for 12-team play beginning in 2015

Nick Bromberg
American Athletic Conference releases divisions for 12-team play beginning in 2015

The American Athletic Conference divisions have been finalized.

The conference is moving to 12 teams in 2015 with the addition of Navy and will separate into two six-team divisions. And of course, since the conference will have 12 teams, it will be able to have a conference title game.

Here's how the divisions stack up. Right now, the East looks tougher than the West:

"This is an exciting step in the continued development of our conference," AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. "With our performance on the field and the exposure we received from our media partners, I couldn't be more satisfied with our first year of American Athletic Conference football. Creating this divisional format will allow us to build upon that success. Our fans will enjoy our divisional play and the championship game that will be established in 2015."

Yes, you may notice that Navy is in the West while being a geographic fit for the East. Consider it the AAC's version of Missouri being in the SEC East. However, Navy coach Ken Niuamatalolo said his team doesn't mind being in the West.

"Texas is our No. 1 state for players," Niumatalolo told The Advocate. "So we'd prefer to play at either Houston or SMU every year.

No plan is perfect, and we'll be happy wherever they put us."

Like the Big 12's setup when it was at 12 teams, each team will play the five teams within its division annually. The other three games will rotate amongst three opponents from the other division, meaning each team is guaranteed a home-and-home series with every other conference team in a four-year period.

This year, the American will have 11 teams because of Navy's absence. Since each school is playing eight conference games and therefore not playing every other team in the conference, the team with the highest winning percentage will be declared the conference champion. If there's a tie in the standings, the teams are declared co-champions and bowl placement will be determined by the rankings from the College Football Playoff committee.

The conference is also experimenting with an eighth on-field official in 2014 for all of its games, similar to what the SEC is doing. While the SEC is doing it with a single crew, all American conference games will have eight officials.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!