Thursday, May 3, 2012

For Aggies, options seem limited

The New Mexico State Aggies find themselves between a rock and a hard place in conference realignment.

If they want to remain an FBS member, I only see a couple.

• The Sun Belt Conference, although after listening to Karl Benson's press conference the other day, it's safe to say, at this point, the Aggies need the Sun Belt more than the Sun Belt needs the Aggies.

• Going independent, something NMSU did a long time ago. Don't think this would work now, and most certainly not long term.

(Really, either of the two options above would seem like short-term ones — perhaps two to three years)

• Perhaps a door will open in the Mountain West. But the Aggies don't have a lot of allies in that league — can't imagine the University of New Mexico or Nevada going to bat for NMSU. Maybe not even Fresno State.

The Aggies need a power player — whether it be a UNM or a Benson for instance — to help open a door for them. They need some political pull, although the issue is that it's nobody else's job to make sure NMSU survives this. It's the Aggies job to pick up their level of play and make themselves more attractive to other conferences.

Really, how did it come to this?

I realize Las Cruces isn't a burgeoning TV market, but is Ruston, La.? Does Logan, Utah and Utah State offer that much more that Las Cruces. I could make the argument that these two locations and schools face similar dilemmas to that of NMSU.

The truth is that a school's brand is very important in all this, and NMSU has clearly not made itself marketable enough. Their national perception — whether it's true or false — is not where it needs to be. Everyone saw this train barreling down the tracks, yet nothing appeared to be done — or at least not enough was done — to stop it, and now it's at the edge of a cliff. What if these options don't work out? It's a scary time.

Obviously if the Aggies were a top-20 team in football and had good attendance figures, they'd be in the Mountain West by now. But that obviously isn't the case — and with that being said, you still have to make yourself marketable and sell yourself. You have to be aggressive in this whole process and believe in what you're selling. I know NMSU's plight isn't an easy one, but it's also seemed reactive, not proactive.

With that being said, I do not see the Aggies dropping to the FCS, at least not when the dust settles on this most recent round. I just don't think Athletics Director McKinley Boston is going to allow it to happen.

Think worst case scenario is that they'll wind up as an independent, or that something will open up in the Sun Belt.

Again, the Aggies could really use a winning year and a bowl appearance in football. A couple winning seasons in a row would be ideal, and would make them instantly more attractive.

Again, either of the above options — Sun Belt or independent — would seem like short-term BandAids, but not long-term answers.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg


Anonymous said...

Just be patient, no need to be alarmed. Analyze the sunbelt thing with your cool head, see the geographic distribution of its members,I bet it would be more costlier than the indy.NMSU will find a spot in C-USA sooner or later. Fact is all rio grande sohools have similar credentials.FCS should not be a option at all.It's like downgrading NMSU to a community college.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to put any more pressure on Coach Walker and his team but, this realignment thing is about TV & Football.

Obviously we don't have a TV market but, we have a FB team that needs to start winning NOW!!

I like CDW but, this year is MUST win year for his team.
In a nutshell; the Football team is playing for the future of NMSU athletics!

Have a winning year, beat utep and unm, and win those winable games in the WAC.
Do those things and we will get an invitation.
Go back to our losing ways and, heaven only knows!


Anonymous said...

I think that the indepenent route would be a better option than begging a D1 conference for membership.We'll be able to find out just HOW committed Mr. Boston AND the student body & community are to producing a winning football program-50+ years of mediocrity is all NMSU has to show just because it would rather "keep up with the Jones" than focus on winning....

Anonymous said...

No door will be opening in the MWC . You people have so many enemies in the west it isn't funny.

It's amazing to many of us why you just don't get it,yes TV,a finical commitment to sports and football are the main ingredients but you also need friends and you have very few.

Anonymous said...

I think the long term solution for small TV market teams like NMSU would be to find a solid long term home.

If the WAC could somehow come up with way to lure in the Montana and Dakota schools while keeping Idaho and NMSU it would be a stable home. If you could can UC-Davis and Cal Poly SLO then that would help with a recruiting base, and add some west coast appeal.

Let's face it none of those programs are ever going to have large television contracts and be upper tier D1 programs. Might as well find a competative home at the lowest D1 level and compete for a Bowl every year.

NM State has been bouncing from conference to conference for decades. Time to try and find a home. We can still play UNM and UTEP on an annual basis. Let's face it attendance drops off after those early games anyway. Maybe some rivalaries will build and we could work from there????

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:37,

"You people have so many enemies?"

That your head talking because your tail knows better? And talk about an inane, uninformed, and unsubstantiated statement. When you can qualify that statement, please do.

This isn't about friends and enemies. It's about football prowess and market share.

Anonymous said...

Dude. Aggie baseball looks like they might be highly overrated.

Also I see where Aggie volleyball brought in another player who has a criminal record. She's a transfer from Texas State.

Anonymous said...

NMSU administration didn't hire the right people, didn't poney up the money needed, and didn't have a plan. NMSU is terrible about marketing its product (sports teams) in the city, so its no surprise that they can't sell nationally.

You can hold your breath until the cows come home, and it won't do any good because the people at the top are clueless.

If you think the Sunbelt is going to be the savior of the Aggies, you might as well forget that too. It's leg by Carl Benson, the guy who hightailed it out of the WAC when the WAC needed him the most. He knows that Aggies will turn and run to the MWC or CUSA at the drop of a hat. Why would he invite the Aggies?

Anonymous said...

Passive and reluctant leadership seems to be the pattern in the athletic department at NMSU. Persuasiveness is lacking. Who goes to bat for the Aggies? Who speaks with passion? Who leads as if he is a true Aggie? 'Wait and see' seems to always be the plan. We will remain behind in the fight for a competitive edge unless there's a change in athletice administrative leadership.

Anonymous said...

NMSU Administration didn't do squat when the re-alignment wheel started turning!!

Now, they are caught with their pants down and have no clue had to dig themselves out of this hole.

No more private money for NMSU until heads start to roll!!

Anonymous said...

Mention of NMSU.

If, IF-IF-IF, NMSU administration is paying attention, it ought to use this article, go with outrage to the national news, and make a case that NMSU and Idaho deserve better. That collegiate athletics is about more than a slice of the TV audience.

(I have very little faith in NMSU administration.)

Anonymous said...

Don't know about the rest of you but, I got a letter from Barbara Couture this past and she tries to explain how the Administrators are working diligently to find a place for NMSU.

I'm sorry but this should have been done TWO years ago not, when your 1 of 2 schools left in the WHACK!!!

NMSU administrators should get fired for sitting on their fat a$$ and putting us in this position!!

Robert Dennis said...

New Mexico State has been masquerading as an FBS school for a long time. They do not have the attendance figures of an FBS school and never will. Their attendance figures are on par with FCS schools. NMSU has not been to a bowl game since 1960 and most likely continue to be one of the worst FBS programs. They would be better off in FCS. They would be more competitive, possibly championship caliber.
Besides, being FBS is not all it is cracked up to be because the elite schools will see to it that that lower profile schools are never on an equal footing. If you are not in a prestigious conference or are not a highly regarded independent program, you do not have a fighting chance and you never will.