It looks like we’re getting a sneak peak of the new American Athletic Conference website (theamerican.org) before it’s officially launched on July 1st.
It’s very clean, easy to navigate, modern, and offers a lot of good information. One of my favorite features is the little profiles and quick facts they give about each university that go beyond simple athletics; they even include each school’s PSA. I think it’s important for this league to brand behind the power of the schools on an institutional level instead of just the playing field. Well done, Mr. Aresco.
If we’re comparing this site to the other major conferences, I’d say the American did a pretty fine job. Having this site be a success is absolutely imperative to the future of this conference and they needed to get it right.
Image Credit: The American Athletic Conference
Central Florida rolled out its new court today and, I have to say, I kinda love it. It’s not hard on the eyes and it’s undeniably distinct. The “blacktop” is really more of a transparent gray and the whole floor has a very bold look to it. It’s nice to see some standout playing surfaces in this league, especially when those games are all over television. And even if this came out terribly, you have to appreciate the homerun swing the folks at UCF took with this. It could have very well been a disaster.
Image Credit: CBS Sports
I have to say, there’s part of me that isn’t happy about UC getting new turf at Nippert Stadium. Or, at least, I’m a little bittersweet about it.
One of the coolest things about the stadium at UC is its accessibility to the whole student body. The school encourages students to use it to toss frisbee, use as a shortcut to class, lounge around, etc. So this isn’t just turf that’s getting replaced for the player’s sake, but turf being replaced for thousands of students.
Of course, I’m just being sentimental. The new turf will be just fine. I kind of wish it were possible for them to auction off pieces of the old turf, but apparently it’s not feasible.
I have to say I am looking forward to seeing the new American Athletic Conference logo when the new field is installed.
So, Memphis it is. The FedEx Forum. It’s not the Garden. But playing at Madison Square Garden with this group of teams wouldn’t feel right anyway.
On the surface, this is a great place to host the tournament; it’s geographically accessible to all the teams’ fan bases and it’s a large arena that seats more than 18,000 fans. As a city, Memphis certainly provides enough entertainment and accommodations (again, no New York), so it should be a solid first year.
I’d be curious to see what kind of fan support the Florida and Texas schools can draw for the event. We already know the fans will be overwhelmingly Memphis Tiger’s. Hopefully there’s just a little balance.
I know the defending national champion Cardinals are going to be a big draw, but I really wish we could skip forward a year so we don’t have to wonder about the conference that could have been if they stayed.
Regardless, they’ve certainly nailed down the best possible venue for a men’s tournament, and that’s a great step in the right direction.