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Which college football team is each AAF team’s counterpart?

These rosters were designed to be quite regional, but let’s find each team’s college counterpart.

Alabama v Auburn
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Alliance of American Football should be a fun spring pastime, with lots of players and coaches you’ve heard of trying out a more TV-friendly version of football on CBS platforms. But unless you live near one of the eight cities with AAF teams, you might be unsure which team to claim.

The league did a smart job of making sure each team’s roster includes lots of locals, but we can get more specific. Let’s count up alumni from each roster in order to narrow each AAF team down to a single college, then apply that information as a scouting report.

The Arizona HOTSHOTS are actually UCLA

Arizona State and the Bruins have five HOTSHOTS each, but the head coach is Rick Neuheisel, a former UCLA quarterback, assistant, and head coach. Expect the HOTSHOTS to draft early every year and thus have a roster full of top talent, produce little to show for it, and somehow avoid anyone really noticing that disparity.

Other teams with multiple HOTSHOTS: Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Oregon State, Texas A&M

The Atlanta Legends are actually Georgia Tech

Sadly, the five Jackets won’t be able to stage a coup and install their alma mater’s since-discarded flexbone option offense, as most of them play defense. The Legends might’ve nearly had an offense really heavy on the QB option though, with Michael Vick originally planned as OC (he’s since taken a lesser role) and former Michigan all-purpose QB Denard Robinson on the roster.

Other teams with multiple Legends: Georgia, Georgia Southern, Louisville, North Carolina, Ohio State, Valdosta State, Virginia

The Birmingham Iron are the Kick Six

Bama has a whopping 10 players on the Iron, but the identity of one of Auburn’s five players means we have to provide equal time to this entire video now:

Me, every day at Iron practice as Chris Davis does sprints alongside his teammates:

“He’ll run it out to the 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 45! THERE GOES DAVIS! OH MY GOD!”

Other teams with multiple Iron ........ Ironmen? Ironmans ................... Ironpersons: Maryland (Mike Locksley recruiting connection), Mississippi State, Missouri, NC State, South Carolina

The Memphis Express are actually LSU

With eight big, beautiful Bayou Bengal Tigers on the roster, including QB Zach Mettenberger and punt god Brad Wing, the Express are hellbent on mucking every contest into a 19-12 eye sore that delights only the most hardcore manball appreciators. How will they do this in a league with rules designed to favor the offense? Please. LSU regularly turns five-star receivers into fourth round draft picks. Have a little goddamn faith in LSU. (Also, Christian Hackenberg is the quarterback.)

Other teams with multiple Express ..... Expressionists: Baylor (counting head coach Mike Singletary, another devoted 19-12 creator), Memphis, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Tennessee State, Vanderbilt

The Orlando Apollos are, uh, actually the Florida Gators for real

Seven Gators on the roster, plus Steve Spurrier as head coach and longtime assistant Bob Sanders running the “defense.” Ha! This team ain’t playing defense. It has about 37 wide receivers who stand 5’11, 186 pounds and former five-star SMU QB Garrett Gilbert. I think everyone involved in the AAF knows all people want is Spurrier letting that thing whistle all over the ballyard.

Other teams with multiple Apollos: FAU, Florida State, JMU, Miami, Notre Dame, South Carolina, UCF, USF, West Virginia

The San Diego Fleet are actually San Diego State

Finally, an easy one.

Other teams with multiple Fleets (just Fleets), and this list is more aquatic and Fleet-y than it might appear at first: Colorado (has rapids), Minnesota (has lakes), Pitt (has rivers), Rutgers (near other ocean), San Jose State, Stanford, Syracuse (near waterfall), UNLV (has casino fountains), USC, Washington (fans tailgate in boats)

The Salt Lake Stallions have as many Utah Utes as any other team has anything

This team is going to make you punt your ass off. The AAF is gonna make rules against punting because of this team. If the Utes’ influence continues to permeate this franchise, the entire team and fanbase will look like a front seven. Will the Stallions ever score? Yes, on blocked punts.

Other teams with multiple Stallions: Arkansas, Arkansas State, BYU, Colorado State, Idaho, Nebraska, Temple (Philadelphia is in Utah, this is canon), Utah State, Wyoming

The San Antonio Commanders are Big 12 expansion

Four Houston Cougars and four TCU Horned Frogs. The Commanders have either recently made it into the Big 12 or will forever be teased with membership.

Other teams with multiple Commanders: Baylor (in the Big 12, though no one knew why for a long time), Cincinnati (another longtime Big 12 applicant who’ll never join), Indiana (often loses 41-38, a Big 12 tradition), Montana (has won multiple playoff games this decade, so is not a Big 12 team), Oklahoma (the good Big 12 team), Penn State (the first team to ever screw up the math in a conference’s name — the 10-team Big 12 is just playing catch up to 1990’s 11-team Big Ten), Purdue (Drew Brees is from Austin), Texas (Big 12’s CEO), Texas A&M (HAS NEVER BEEN IN THE BIG 12, DON’T LOOK IT UP), Toledo (also prone to 41-38 games).

Based on all only these college corollaries, let’s POWER RANK the AAF

  1. Birmingham/Iron Bowl
  2. San Antonio/Big 12
  3. Orlando/Florida
  4. Memphis/LSU
  5. Salt Lake/Utah
  6. Atlanta/Georgia Tech
  7. San Diego/San Diego State
  8. Arizona/UCLA

You can also bet actual money on the Alabama team winning it all, which is only feasible because there isn’t a Clemson team.