NMSU AD confirms Aggies will play as FBS Independent beginning in 2013

By Kevin Kelley -

New Mexico State athletic director Dr. McKinley Boston confirmed to fans and supporters in a letter Wednesday that the Aggies will play as an FBS Independent beginning in 2013.

In his letter, Boston wrote the following regarding NMSU’s FBS status:

NMSU is committed to continuing at the Division 1 level and we are committed to our football program. Our focus is to win WAC championships and to be the best mid-major program we can be. Looking ahead, we are planning to play as an independent football program in 2013.  Nine of 12 football games have already been scheduled with at least five of those games to be played at home. The entire 2013 football schedule should be available in mid-October. Even though our football program will be independent in 2013, NMSU will remain a WAC member in all other sports.

Last month, Boston stated that “unless something happens,” New Mexico State would schedule for “independent football in 2013 and possibly 2014.” “Unless something happens” likely meant if the Aggies were invited to a conference, but that never materialized.

New Mexico State and Idaho were the only two current football-playing members of the WAC that did not have a conference home in 2013. The Vandals will also likely play as an Independent in 2013 after the State Board approved the move last month. Idaho also has the option of joining the Big Sky without going to the board.

The WAC will drop football in 2013 because there won’t be any football-playing members remaining. Boise State departed the conference in 2011, followed by Fresno State, Hawaii, and Nevada in 2012. In July of 2013, Texas State heads to the Sun Belt, Louisiana Tech and UTSA to C-USA, and San Jose State and Utah State join the MWC.

As Boston mentioned in his statement, New Mexico State has secured 9-of-12 games for their 2013 football schedule, and at least five of those games will be played at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces.

Although no specific teams were mentioned, NMSU does have tentative games scheduled at Texas, UCLA, and New Mexico and a home contest vs. UTEP. The Las Cruces Sun-News also reported last month that the Aggies could face Idaho in a home-and-home series with both games played in 2013.

Football Schedules

Comments (6)

Best of luck to NMSU. I don’t think they can be an FBS independent long-term, but short term it could work. Perhaps they’ll get an invite from either C-USA, the Sun Belt or the Mountain West (although none seem likely in the short-term).

I have little hope for Idaho to do more than one season as an FBS indy (if they even manage that).

I wonder how many FCS teams (if any) they have scheduled for next year.

Best bet for NMSU, in my opinion, is in the Mountain West. 8 of the 10 current members of the MWC will be members next season, adding San Jose State and Utah State to bring the number back to 10.

MWC has time to contemplate adding NMSU and to find a 12th member to have a conference title game. NMSU might get support from the New Mexico Legislature, putting pressure on the Lobos to support their rivals.

With the way the Aggies left the Sun Belt, I think that bridge has been burned. With CUSA’s additions of Charlotte and Old Dominion in the future (bringing the total to 12 next year and 14 in 2015), the conference is likely set. I’m thinking that should CUSA decide to add Appalachian State, New Mexico State MIGHT have an opportunity. But I’m not sure how much they add to CUSA, if anything.

I don’t think a playoff game is not really going to be a money-maker for the MWC like it is for the top tier conferences. If anything it is an added roadblock for a MWC team that might get hot and jump into the NC picture one year.

If a team gets on a run and goes 12-0, why make them play another game vs Fresno or UTEP before they name the Top 4? It might help, but its more likely to hurt.

Also, where do you hold the game. Few places with major stadiums are within driving distance of more than 2 or 3 schools. Denver seems best, but even if CU, Wyoming or AFA makes it you are looking at a crowd of maybe 40K. If they don’t the game will be a tough sell to the locals. Also, what kind of TV audience will they draw when the B10, Pac 12, SEC, ACC and (presumably soon) the Big 12 are also having their games the same weekend?

Let’s not forget if big 12 goes raiding ACC to bring it up to 12 or even 14 either of those schools might get a shot if ACC brings in UCONN or Lousville n the Big East has to grab more from MWC or Conf USA