Matt Rhule: AAC deserves auto bid to New Year's Six game

Dr. Saturday
Matt Rhule led Temple to 10 wins and the AAC title in 2016 (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Matt Rhule led Temple to 10 wins and the AAC title in 2016 (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Baylor coach Matt Rhule thinks the conference he used to coach in is worthy of an automatic bid to the prestigious New Year’s Six bowl games.

The former Temple coach said Monday the American Athletic Conference “deserves an automatic bid to the New Year’s Six” and cited recent teams from Houston, Navy and Memphis in addition to his former team. 

“We won that league last year, we had a couple games where — we lost to the No. 5 team in the country Penn State by a touchdown and Memphis … I think we should have gone to play in one of those games and I think we would have gone and played at a high level.”

Temple also lost to Army to open the season.

The current structure of the College Football Playoff means seven at-large teams from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC make the other four games that don’t include the four teams in the College Football Playoff. The last spot in the other four goes to the highest-ranked Group of Five team — a conference pool that includes the AAC, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt.

In the three years of the CFP, Houston is the only team from the AAC to make it as the G5 representative. Boise State was the highest-ranked team after the 2014 season — and beat Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl, while Western Michigan went from the MAC after the 2016 season.

Temple finished the 2016 season 10-3. WMU, meanwhile, was 13-0 and beat two Big Ten teams in Northwestern and Illinois. There was little dispute that Western Michigan was the most deserving of the Group of Five to head to the New Years’ Six.

You can’t blame Rhule for talking up his former team and conference though. After all, it’s part of a push by the AAC that’s been happening for a while.

Since regrouping after being left in the dust as the former Big East when the college realignment carousel stopped spinning five years ago, the AAC has been trying to change the label of Power Five to Power Six with the conference’s inclusion.

But here’s the thing; if the AAC was to get an automatic bid to the New Year’s Six, what happens to the four remaining conferences from the Group of Five? You can’t just eliminate them from the NY6 altogether. And the world doesn’t need another bowl game. Rhule’s coming from a supportive place, it’s just not a feasible one without significant remodeling to the CFP structure.

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

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