Should be a great Final Four weekend. Now on to the mailbag.
Rob in Big ... er, AAC Forever writes: Andrea, count me OUT as someone who thinks the new conference name is a good choice. My first three honest reactions to the new conference name ... 1) It sounds like a cheap knock off of Conference USA, they would have been better off buying that conference name (with its established branding and logo) along with poaching 75 percent of that conference's schools; 2) At best, it sounds like one of the many Mid-Major D-I basketball conferences around the country; 3) What will the conference nickname be, AAC? Sounds too much like the ACC. There is nothing creative about the name, it's too general, it's not a name that the new collection of schools can rally around and create a unique identity, there are many conferences that span a large, "American" geographic area. It just appears like the conference presidents got lazy and settled. Wouldn't surprise me if based on public opinion this new name is re-considered in the near future. Just one man's opinion in a world full of them.
Luke in Louisville, Ky., writes: American Athletic? When do they start manufacturing jock straps and mouth guards?
Andrea Adelson: So what you're saying is you don't like the name? On first blush, I have to say the acronym caught me off guard, considering AAC is loosely pronounced ACK. You see why commissioner Mike Aresco told CBSSports.com that he does not want the league to be known as the AAC but perhaps as "The American" or "American Athletic." Not so sure about whether that is going to catch on. The name is fine. It's just uninspired.
Nigel in Kingston, Jamaica, writes: I've been hearing Internet rumors about the Pinstripe and Russell Athletic Bowls wanting to cut ties with Double A C. My question AA: Will AAC have a better bowl lineup especially with two Florida teams and two Texas teams?
Adelson: I do not see how the bowl lineup is going to be better. First of all, the AAC is losing its automatic entry into one of the elite-level games. While it has the opportunity to win a spot with a high-enough ranking, there are no guarantees. So that automatically downgrades the bowl lineup. Second, the Russell Athletic Bowl is currently the No. 2 bowl behind the BCS. So losing that would be a double whammy. The bowl lineup will work itself out, but I think it will be a step back from what the league currently has.
Rich in Longport, N.J., writes: They will have 12 for football but 11 for everything else (including basketball)? Will they make Navy all sports or bring in another state non football school to make it 12?
Adelson: Navy will not join as an all-sports member. I think the most important thing was getting to 12 for football for a conference championship game.
Phil in Pittsburgh writes: Any chance the Big East holds a conference championship game in 2014 and holds Rutgers and Louisville to their contract of the 27-month waiting period? Especially with Louisville, I think this helps the league re-establish itself, especially if a team committed to the Big East past 2014 beats them.
Adelson: No chance, Phil. Even if there were, I don't think it helps the league re-establish itself. Those teams are goners.
Jackson in Atlanta writes: Could you help settle a debate between my friend and I? He says that UCF has the potential to fill more seats than USF (because it is a larger school) and thus has the potential to be more of a power program. I say with USF's big Tampa market, it could potentially gain a lot more non-student fans and thus has the potential to be more of the power program. I also want to point out that even with 10-win seasons, UCF has occasionally had trouble packing the house, even with its massive student body. PS -- we are both really excited about being in the same conference this year.
Adelson: Jackson, you sure know how to stir things up! I guess you missed my earlier mailbag in which I questioned why UCF cannot sell out its home games. First, I don't think you can really compare attendance and use that as a gauge for who can become the bigger program. USF plays in a much, much larger stadium than UCF. It should be easier for the Knights to sell out games for that reason, but that doesn't mean they would be any more of an elite program. I just spent some time in Clemson. When one staffer here found out I lived in Orlando, he said, 'Boy, watch out for UCF.' He seems to believe the Knights are the sleeping giant. But we have heard this sleeping-giant moniker for years. I know I am not really answering your question here, but let me put it this way. Given the resources, facilities and area they are located, BOTH teams should be in the hunt for league titles every single year. They just need the right coach to get 'em there.