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Aztecs to Big 12? It could happen…

Why SDSU Fits the Big 12

Braden Surprenant
June 07, 2018 - 5:21 pm

By: Braden Surprenant


On Thursday morning, Brett McMurphy tweeted out that the Las Vegas Bowl will no longer pit the Pac-12 against the Mountain West champion starting in the year 2020. In doing so, the Mountain West champion for football will most likely be headed to the Arizona Bowl in Tucson. The Arizona Bowl currently has a tie-in from the Mountain West and the Sun Belt conferences. If this remains, the reward for winning the Mountain West conference will be a date with the Sun Belt conference at the University of Arizona.

So how does this effect San Diego State and potentially joining the Big 12 conference?

It is simple…San Diego State has outperformed their Mountain West competition and now is the time to move on to bigger and better things. Las Vegas Bowl announcing the switch is a red flag, and one of the first domino to fall in the landscape that is becoming inevitable in college football. FOUR. POWER. CONFERENCES.

It is going to happen, whether we like it or not, and it is only a matter of time. In the next coming years San Diego State will either have to move on to bigger and better things or simply get left behind. Look we all want San Diego State to fill in and replace something close to our hearts that moved up the road and here is how they become that.

Join the Big 12 in all sports!

Hear me out on this one because the Big 12 makes the most sense for San Diego State and the most sense for the Big 12 conference.

Why does it make sense for the Aztecs? (In no particular order).

  1. Recruiting. Recruiting. Recruiting. San Diego county is loaded with high school football talent. What do Reggie Bush, Alex Smith, Terrell Davis, Marcus Allen, Rashaan Salaam, Ricky Williams and Junior Seau, all have in common? They are all San Diego athletes that left for bigger schools instead of staying home. Why do most San Diego athletes not stay home and play at San Diego State? The big stage. SDSU can not offer the big stage in the Mountain West, joining the Big 12 gives them that edge over competing recruiting schools such as USC and UCLA. Not only that, Texas all of a sudden opens up as a new recruiting hotbed for the Aztecs.
  2. Fill the Seats and Create a Buzz. Instead of seeing Wyoming, Air Force and UNLV come to town, you see Texas, Oklahoma, and TCU in Mission Valley every year. Not only that but Iowa State, West Virginia and Kansas every year at Viejas Arena. Let that sink in. Texas Longhorns playing San Diego State in football? Imagine the buzz around town and on campus with Texas or Oklahoma coming to town. It will be a premium ticket in San Diego
  3. Television Revenue. When deals like this are made it all comes down to dollar signs and this would be a huge payday for the Aztecs athletic program. Currently in the Mountain West revenue sharing gives each team around $1-2 million a year. The Big 12 just announced each of their schools are going to make $34.3 million. Imagine what the Aztecs could do with that type of return for their athletic programs.

Why does it make sense for the Big 12?

  1. Location. Location. Location. Southern California is a very appealing market for the Big 12 when it comes to recruiting and television viewership. When conferences are looking for teams to add they want to add teams in markets that are not only big, but in areas that they do not already have a presence. That is why the Pac-12 adding SDSU does not make a whole lot of sense and why the Big 12 has not added Houston. The Pac-12 already has a presence in So-Cal with the two schools from Los Angeles, not to mention USC and UCLA are not going to give up a huge leverage point of being in a better conference to their recruiting rivals to the south. That is why the Big 12 is interested, new place for people to watch the Big 12, and a new hotbed of talent to recruit. I will also throw in this quick note, especially football, where would you as a school rather play a football game in the middle of November, Morgantown, West Virginia or San Diego, California? I’ll let you think that one over…
  2. School needs to be competitive. San Diego State has proven it can hang with the likes of the Big 12 in multiple sports. The Aztecs went to Lawrence, Kansas and defeated the Jayhawks on their home court, which only a few schools can say they have done. Aztec football has proven it can win high profile games against teams like Stanford or an Arizona State. The baseball team has
  3. They simply need two teams to join their conference, since they have not been taken seriously in sports since the departure of Missouri, Texas A&M, Colorado, and Nebraska.

The hurdles?

There are a lot of hurdles to jump before this can become a reality. First and foremost, San Diego State needs a new football stadium. It does not matter whether you are pro one stadium proposal over another, we can all agree something needs to be done in Mission Valley and San Diego State football needs to play in no more than a 45,000 seat stadium. The next problem is finding a partner to join the conference with especially out west. Boise State comes to mind, but they are out there in terms of location, BYU has been thrown out there a couple times but TCU and Iowa State have been against the Cougars joining in the past. The last problem that arises is how in the world is San Diego State going to send non revenue sports to West Virginia for a weekday conference game? That is a huge scheduling hurdle that is the one major dent in this plan. The positive side to that was SDSU was moments away from joining the Big East and got out of it when TCU bailed on the Big East to join the Big 12.

There are a lot of pros and cons to this idea of the Aztecs one day playing the likes of Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, West Virginia and Kansas State in sports. I am not against San Diego State joining the Pac-12 either and it is also definitely a possibility and something the Aztecs need to jump on if the Pac-12 extends the olive branch. One thing is clear, thank you for the memories Mountain West but it is time for the Aztecs to move on.