Go Out and Win the Whole Thing, Aggies
By Paul Myerberg // May 4, 2012
New Mexico State is preparing for the worst. In a joint statement released yesterday by university president Barbara Couture and athletic director McKinley Boston, the school acknowledged that it “has no major media market to bring to the table,” and in an age when college sports “are ruled by the potential for TV coverage,” this lack of “value” has left New Mexico State — and Idaho, for that matter — on the outside looking in during the latest round of conference expansion. If a decidedly pessimistic outlook on the last week’s events, New Mexico State’s stance is undoubtedly realistic: barring a last-second heave, the Aggies and Vandals will be the odd men out.
“Make no mistake, we will be playing football next year and we will be competing in a revised WAC conference for the 2012-2013 school year,” read the statement. Well, let’s hope so: New Mexico State is 118 days from a scheduled date with Sacramento State to open the season. If ensuring that the Aggies will field a team in less than four months is the good news…
“Our near-term goals are to compete successfully.” What remains undecided is New Mexico State’s long-term vision, whether it entails an attempt to join the Sun Belt; a stab at becoming an Independent; a move down to the F.C.S., either temporarily or for good; or dropping the football program altogether.
The prospects grow less appealing as you go down the line, as you’d expect. An invite from the Sun Belt would, in a way, leave N.M.S.U. better off than when this round of expansion began — as currently comprised, the Sun Belt is a far better league than the WAC. Taking on Independent status might not be feasible, given the school’s athletic budget. The latter two options are distressing; the last in particular would be devastating.
“We continue to explore all options and ask our university community of alumni, supporters and students to stand united with us as we seek solutions,” read the statement. “We want to assure the community that we will continue to take any and all measures we feel might assist us in reaching a successful solution to this current challenge.”
The university’s decision regarding its football future will come behind closed doors. It will be made by the school’s board of trustees, its athletic director, president, chancellor, key alumni and local politicians, should the latter chose to include themselves in the conversation.
The football team — this team, specifically — will not be included in the discussion. The program itself will be considered and reconsidered, but only in the big picture: what N.M.S.U. brings to the table, whether it can be competitive, raise a league’s profile, widen a league’s platform.
The Aggies will play games come late August, as the statement guaranteed, but like Idaho, they might be playing out the string. From Sunday through Friday, the Aggies are at the mercy of those power-brokers who decide the landscape of college football. Only on Saturday will the Aggies be able to return to business as usual.
There’s only one thing this team can do: go out and win the whole damn thing. Beat New Mexico — again. Knock off UTEP. Kick the snot out of Texas-San Antonio, the Aggies’ short-lived conference rival. Beat Louisiana Tech. Sail past Texas State, showing the Sun Belt what they’d be getting. Win the WAC. Earn a bowl berth. Have the best season in school history.
Leave nothing in reserve. Make the Sun Belt stand up and take notice. Show the rest of the country what those in Las Cruces believe: that this is a program on the rise. Just go out and win the whole thing. The Aggies may no longer control their fate, but they own it.
Tags: Conference Expansion, Idaho, New Mexico State, Sun Belt, WAC
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