The San Diego State Aztecs were all-in on their move to the Big East for next season when the move was first announced. They, along with the Boise State Broncos, would join the BCS ranks as a football-only member of the Big East. However, with the death of the BCS looming, the Big East dissolution appearing imminent and Boise State pulling out of the move, SDSU is left with more questions than answers about their football future, and the future remains murky.
The Mountain West Conference, where the Aztecs currently play, would like to keep the conference intact and have extended an invitation to the Aztecs to return. SDSU has a stipulation in their contract with the Big East that the school can back out without penalty if there are no other teams committed to the Big East west of the Rocky Mountains. With Boise State no longer committed, that stipulation is activated.
However, neither conference is showing that much enthusiasm about having the Aztecs in 2013. The MWC has extended the right of first option to the school, but put a deadline on it of January 31. They’ve also been adamant that the conference would not be extending the same concessions to the Aztecs that it did to the Broncos.
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson has come out and flatly told the world that SDSU is “not going to get the terms and conditions Boise State got, and they know that.” Some reports are even saying the conference will low-ball the Aztecs to try and get them accept a less-than-beneficial deal for them. Many feel the MWC is extending the offer to SDSU hoping they pass and the conference can then pursue the BYU Cougars, who they prefer over the Aztecs.
And their new potential home, the Big East, isn’t doing much to show they’re still a desirable addition, either. The sense among Big East officials is that the conference will move on with or without the Aztecs without much of an impact. For a conference that is losing programs left and right across multiple sports, it’s pretty clear that the Aztecs were brought in to pair with Boise State, who was the real prize of the of the expansion plans. Without the Broncos, the Big East has lost interest in San Diego State.
Head coach Rocky Long says “I think it’s 50/50 right now” on the future of the program. Whether they stay in the Mountain West or go through with their departure to the Big East, it looks like the program will be in a worse situation next season than it was this year. With the ever-expanding landscape of college football, some programs try and over-reach and they end up getting burned. San Diego State is quickly learning that lesson now, and it’s one they’re sure not to forget.