Friday, February 17, 2012

As WAC's future becomes clouded, one wonders about the Aggies future

With former WAC commissioner Karl Benson leaving for the Sun Belt, it brings about questions regarding the New Mexico State Aggies and conference affiliation.

Benson going to the Sun Belt has long been speculated, and he said during a Thursday teleconference that he was looking to expand the league from 10 football-playing schools to 12.

Benson said he was happy with the conference's “geographic footprint,” which stretches from Florida to Texas. He said the central timezone was the “heart” of the league's geographic locations.

He also added that the conference would be willing to add FCS schools to the equation.

This leaves open the question, will NMSU land on its feet with all the program-shuffling taking place in conference realignment?

Not the Aggies olympic sports. These should be fine. Namely, it's football, and if it can stay out of harms way amidst the national realignment scene where the rich just seem to get richer.

First off, the WAC CANNOT afford any more football departures and it seems inevitable that at least a school or two could leave once again. Maybe it's Utah State or San Jose State in the Mountain West/Conference USA merger. Perhaps it's Louisiana Tech to the merger or the Sun Belt, or maybe Texas State and/or Texas San Antonio. Any such departures could very well dissolve the WAC as a football-playing league.

Could NMSU be a part of the MWC/C-USA merger? Perhaps. But it also seems that the Aggies have a lot going against them in the fight. A lack of a TV market and quality football program at the moment. Many have wondered about the Aggies overall financial commitment to athletics — namely football — and there is also the belief their regional rivals — UTEP and UNM, who are both part of the new merger — haven't lobbied for NMSU's inclusion. If true, none of these things can help the Aggies cause.

So perhaps it is off to the Sun Belt. But that also doesn't sound like a guarantee at this point. Again, Benson talked about being committed to Texas and not going further, while he's also willing to entertain FCS programs. Perhaps the Sun Belt is also raided in realignment and will be looking for football-playing members to help fill the void. At this point, it could be the Aggies best hope.

NMSU is faced with four real options right now.

• Find a conference, which I'm sure they are trying to do at the moment.

• Become a football independent, which Athletics Director McKinley Boston said the program couldn't afford financially.

• Drop to the FCS. Big Sky anyone?

• Drop football all together. You couldn't ask for a bigger black eye.

Boston said the Aggies are doing their due diligence in the face of conference realignment.

In this time, however, they can't be the ones left holding the bag.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg


Anonymous said...

Nothing says confidence like the Captain jumping ship, while the crew is trying keep it afloat.

Karl Benson is the reason the WAC is in this mess!!
He did absolutely NOTHING to improve the league, while the Mountain West plucked it's teams, like a bully stealing his lunch!

I find it hard to believe that NMSU would even consider the Sun Belt, now that Benson is their. He will sink that boat too!

NMSU needs to join the MWC/ C-usa merger or bust. Easier said than done!

Here's one last jab at Karl Benson via the Panamaniacs: "Nice shot A-hole!"


Anonymous said...

The dark clouds surround the WAC and it does not favor NMSU.

Jefe is right.
Karl Benson did absolutely nothing to strengthen the league and he decides to bail when the going gets tough! QUITTER!!!

I say FCS is in store for us. NMSU football is just not sexy enough for TV or, on the W-L column.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Benson!

Enjoy your time in the Suck Belt conference!

Anonymous said...

Karl Benson is a hypocrite!

Wasn't it yesterday that Fresno, Nevada and Hawaii decided move and Benson was calling them out for not sticking with the WAC.

Yet, he decides to go some where when the rest of the league needs him.
What a bold face liar!!

Anonymous said...

On the T&B show you guys were right on about UTEP being a blocking vote but you should also know that they are not the only ones. You can also include New Mexico,Nevada and Fresno State for sure.

It's no secret that FSU and Nevada don't even speak to NMS unless it has to do with remaining schedules.

Anonymous said...

Benson moves to the Sun Belt and them makes an offer to the WAC to link up. Just watch.

The Aggies deserve better.

Anonymous said...

I'm in favor of NMSU going to the Big Sky conference-there will be no local support for college football athletics in Las Cruces until this football program starts to build an attitude and tradition of winning -the sme way the local high schools have done-they can still keep the other programs in the WAC or the Sun Belt Conference-they need to prove to the local community that they have the ability and resolve to become a winner and to develop a strong fan base in order to move back up to the FBS level of competition in football-other universities have done it before-it's time that NMSU reads the writing on the wall-and realizes that they can't remain a loser anymore if they want to experience success on the college football world- A long-suffering Aggie Grad