It wasn't entirely unexpected that the Aggies would be shunned by the Sun Belt Conference.
As stated on the Cruces Sports Blog over the past handful of months, the Sun Belt is happy with its geographic footprint, and the Aggies need the conference itself more than the conference itself needs the Aggies.
Despite it being a somewhat predictable scenario, it doesn't mean it isn't bad news for NMSU. Their options are limited regardless of what some might say, and this is one of a few to scratch off the list.
NMSU used to be a part of the Sun Belt and commissioner Karl Benson used to hold the same position in the WAC. The Aggies actually had some connections to this pipeline, but it didn't matter.
So what are the Aggies options going forward?
The school has made no secret that it would like a Mountain West invitation. The Mountain West will exhaust some options before inviting NMSU, however — the Aggies won't be the league's first choice if it does in fact want to move to a 12-team football membership. Far from it, actually.
I do think the likelihood of NMSU becoming an independent football program increases by each move that's made here. This is not a long-term answer — recruiting and scheduling could well be a nightmare. And who would want to coach an independent NMSU football program? It would be a tough sell. Regardless, NMSU might not have a choice — I do not see the Aggies dropping to FCS, not immediately anyway.
A third option could be the WAC essentially becoming a glorified FCS league — grabbing schools looking to make the jump to the FBS level such as Montana, Montana State, Eastern Washington, Cal Poly, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern to name a few. These schools could feel pressure to make the jump and, if this were the case, the WAC wouldn't be a bad starting point, with a relatively level playing field and a chance to get your feet on the ground on the FBS level.
Either way, NMSU continues to run out of options. Don't know any other way to put it — it's just is a bad situation in Aggie land.
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