The UConn Huskies are leaving the American Athletic Conference following the 2019-20 season, according to various reports.
UConn is planning to move their Olympic sports back to the Big East Conference beginning with the 2020-21 season. The Big East doesn’t sponsor football, which will leave the Huskies football program with a big decision to make.
Dropping down to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) is not on the table, according to Brett McMurphy of Stadium. He further reports that the Huskies will pursue membership in the Mid-American Conference (MAC), Conference USA, or even the American as a football-only school.
However, McMurphy indicates that the chances of football-only membership in either of those three conferences is essentially slim to none. UConn football has been dreadful since playing in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, going 28-69 since, and wouldn’t provide much value.
That leaves UConn playing as a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Independent, along with Army, BYU, Liberty, New Mexico State, Notre Dame, and UMass.
Filling out a 12-game schedule as an FBS Independent would be tough for UConn, but the Huskies could partner with the other Independents, except for Notre Dame which is typically scheduled out each season. UConn could also look to some of the Northeastern FBS schools with an annual contest against an FCS team.
As of today, UConn has completed their non-conference schedules for the 2020 and 2021 season. If they did become Independent, they would have a huge challenge in assembling a schedule for next season.
Speculation has also begun on who the American Athletic Conference will replace UConn with. Names such as Air Force, Army, Boise State, BYU, Charlotte, Georgia State, and Old Dominion have been mentioned, among others.
The American could also choose to stay at 11 teams, although that would create an imbalance in their divisions. That could be solved by eliminating divisions and staging their championship game with the two teams with the best records in conference play, similar to the Big 12.
Edit: The AAC can also keep their divisions with a slight imbalance and still play a championship game, per NCAA rules.