Rest in Peace, WAC Football: Utah State and San Jose State Leaving
According to ESPN, both Utah State and San Jose State will officially be joining the Mountain West effective in 2013. It is expected to be made official at a news conference on Friday, as the MWC looks to replace Boise State and San Diego State who are moving to the Big East in 2013 for football.
This could be the proverbial stake through the heart for WAC football.
Even newly added Texas State and UT-San Antonio are heading for the hills, with Texas State apparently joining the Sun Belt and the Roadrunners of UTSA leaving for Conference USA. It's also rumored that Louisiana Tech will soon follow, as they have had talks with Conference USA.
Who is left, you ask?
In football (I am not going to get into conferences for other sports), it appears that New Mexico State and Idaho will be the only two left standing come 2013. Obviously, two teams cannot make up an entire conference. It appears that, at least in football, the WAC is drawing dead.
What will happen to both the Aggies and Vandals? Does anyone outside these small fan bases really care?
For the Aggies, there are mixed reports of the Sun Belt being interested. (They were a member from 2001-04 before joining the WAC.) As of now, there appears to be low interest in adding them again.
On the other side of the table is Idaho. The Vandals were also in the Sun Belt conference from 2000-04, leaving for the WAC in 2005. The one thing the Vandals have going for them is that they had success in the Big Sky conference prior to making the jump to the FBS ranks in the mid '90s.
Both Idaho and New Mexico State have struggled throughout their years in the big boy levels of college football, with the Aggies currently suffering a 51-year bowl drought and the Vandals coming off of one of their worst seasons in recent memory.
It would make sense for Idaho to rejoin the Big Sky conference. Geographically, road trips would be more accommodating to both players and fans, and it could help provide new rivalry matchups with the likes of the Eastern Washingtons and Idaho States of the world.
New Mexico State on the other hand—well, who knows where they will end up? It appears that their best bet is the Sun Belt. I cannot see them or the Vandals going Independent like BYU or Notre Dame. Neither is capable of competing with the big schools who like to pad their win columns for bowl eligibility.
Is the WAC dead in football for sure? How can you argue that it still has a heartbeat?
The bottom line is that the conference should roll out the red carpet of nostalgia this season and enjoy one final fall—then take Old Yeller out behind the shed and put a bullet in him.
What do you think? Should the folks at WAC headquarters try to once again save it, or is the point moot?
Where should Idaho and New Mexico State go? FCS? Sun Belt?
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