“Life in Mountain West Conference–Just Got Harder”
The gap between the Haves-and-Have Nots just got bigger in college football. The Power 5-Conferences have pulled farther away from the Group of 5-leagues.
San Diego State will open its 2022 season in a shiny new stadium next fall, with hopes of playing quality big name opponents in San Diego, charging higher prices, and getting a bigger TV contrac,t all part of the plan to take Aztecs football to a bigger spotlight on the football radar stage..
That job just got harder.
The Pac 12-Big 10-ACC just announced an ‘Alliance’ for football and basketball, that will have a terrible spillover effect on San Diego State, and virtually all the other schools in the league.
The new ‘Alliance’ will involve the 41-schools linked from the West Coast-to the Midwest to the Deep South. The agreement involves scheduling marquee non-conference games to boost the TV contracts of each league member.
Can you say Oregon-Clemson? UCLA-North Carolina? USC-Miami? Washington-Florida State?
What it means is that the Pac 12, which plays 9-conference games a year, will fill two of its non-conference dates with marquee schools from the ‘Alliance agreement’.
Those non-conference dates were ‘money games’ that schools like San Diego State, Fresno State, Wyoming and others filled, to get recognition and payday games, and with the hope they’d pull off upsets to get national attention..
The Aztecs non-conference games included marquee names in the future:
In the past, the Red & Black went to places like Ohio State-Michigan-North Carolina in football alone.
You can look for some of those schools to cancel out of playing SDSU, leaving big holes in the Aztecs future schedule. Sorry, playing New Mexico State, Towson, Eastern Michigan out of conference isn’t an attention getter.
Oh there may be replacement games, because this ‘Alliance’ cripples the Big 12, so maybe you wind up with an Oklahoma State-or TCU showing up, but not likely.
The Mountain West isn’t the only one damaged by this. The American Athletic Conference, led by a building Cincinnati program, had hopes of elevarting itself even further. Now they will have schedules with holes in them too.
It’s a nightmare in the big picture for AD-JD Wicker, who has guided SDSU thru the horrors of Covid, and led a tremendous team effort watching this new Stadium go up. Now he is facing the enormous challenge of how to grow a good football program, and a nationally ranked basketball program, while watching his non conference schedules take swiss-cheese size hits in the future.
It’s all about TV contracts, and all these neon light non conference games the Pac 12 will add will make their TV deals even more valuable. For San Diego State, which has a new TV deal that pays them 3M per year, that value drops if they don’t have marquee games to play.
And think about this. The Big 12 is in huge trouble. Down to 8-teams because of the defection of Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC, they have no marquee TV markets. Their flag carriers are Oklahoma State and TCU on the grid-iron, and Kansas in basketball.
What happens if the Big 12, takes Boise State and BYU to rebuild their conference? What is left in the league for San Diego State to play? Can you say we are all about to revisit the dreary days of the old Western Athletic Conference of no-name opponents and disinterested football matchups?
The SEC goes to 16-teams. The Pac 12-Alliance responds with a 41-team agreement. The TV contract wars have gone to Code Level 5. The SEC can play Saturday night football in the deep south of Dixie but maybe the real story will be how a nation of fans responds to all the neon-light non conference games they will get to see thanks to the Pac 12 deal.
The bad part, where the Aztecs wind up schedule-wise, and what happens to the entire Mountain West Conference. Not good for those of us who care about where we live, and the adopted Aztecs programs we cover, follow and root for.
And the gap between the Power 5-Conferences and the Group of 5 Conference is now like the distance between Maine and Maui.