AAC additions: A glance at the conference’s six new teams

charlotte 49ers


A glance at the American Athletic Conference’s six new members:

 

Charlotte 49ers

Location, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Enrollment: 29,000.

Football stadium (capacity): Jerry Richardson Stadium (15,314).

Current record: 4-2, under coach Will Healy.

Notable: The football program was started in 2008 and became a full fledged member of Division I’s highest level in 2015. The 49ers have had one winning season since.

 

 

Florida Atlantic Owls

Location: Boca Raton, Florida.

Enrollment: 30,377.

Football stadium (capacity): Lockhart Stadium (20,450).

Current record: 3-3, under coach Willie Taggart.

Notable: Former Miami coaching great Howard Schnellenberger helped launch FAU football. He was the program’s first coach from 2004-11, reaching two bowl games. The Owls peaked under Lane Kiffin, winning two Conference USA titles and two bowl games over three seasons (2017-19).

 

North Texas Mean Green

Location, Denton, Texas.

Enrollment: 40,796.

Football stadium (capacity): Apogee Stadium (30,850)

Current record: 1-5, under coach Set Littrell.

Notable: Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Greene’s alma mater was also coached by College Football Hall of Famer Hayden Fry. More recently, North Texas had a solid run of three straight bowl appearances that included a Conference USA title game, but the team is head for its third straight losing season.

 

Related: American Athletic Conference rebuilding with 6 C-USA schools

 

Rice Owls

Location: Houston.

Enrollment: 6,740.

Football stadium (capacity): Rice Stadium (47,000).

Current record: 2-4, under coach Mike Bloomgren.

Notable: Rice is the oldest and most tradition-rich of the AAC’s new football members, but it has had a difficult time sustaining football success in recent years. A former member of the old Southwest Conference with schools such as Texas and Arkansas, the Owls have played in five bowls games since joining Conference USA in 2005.

 

UAB Blazers

Location: Birmingham, Alabama.

Enrollment: 22,563

Football stadium (capacity): Protective Stadium (37,167).

Current record: 5-2, under coach Bill Clark.

Notable: UAB’s football program has made a remarkable recovery, having been canceled after the 2014 season and then returning after a two-season hiatus. Since restarting, the Blazers have gone to the last three Conference USA championship games under Clark, and won two.

 

UTSA Roadrunners

Location: San Antonio, Texas.

Enrollment: 34,742.

Football stadium (capacity): The Alamodome (65,000).

Current record: 7-0, under coach Jeff Traylor.

Notable: UTSA’s football program was started in 2012 and has had five winning seasons and made two bowl games. The Roadrunners (7-0) are currently undefeated and ranked for the first time in program history at No. 24 in the AP poll under second-year coach Traylor.



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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.