San Diego State Makes Its Case For A Pac-12 Invite
Aztecs have been the worst-kept secret for Pac-12 membership
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SDSU would give the league a SoCal presence
San Diego State has been making a play to join a power conference for a long time and for a brief moment was in the Big East when it was a BCS league and sponsored football.
That fell apart when Boise State decided to stay in the Mountain West, as the Aztecs did the same. Since then, San Diego State has been building up its football program — which is the most important for expansion — and kept its hoops team in the national spotlight with frequent NCAA Tournament visits.
When the Big Ten decided to raid the Pac-12 and take USC and UCLA, it left a Rose bowl size hole over the Southern California market for the Pac-12.
San Diego State has done a lot of things right with finally getting SnapDragon Stadium, there has not been a losing season since 2009, a bowl appearance every year since 2010 (COVID-19 year not included), and three conference titles in that time.
It is no secret that the Pac-12 is actively looking at expansion and while San Diego State would not recoup the losses of the Bruins and Trojans, but it would give the league recruiting access and a presence in the hotbed of high school football that is in that area.
The Aztecs also perform well against the Pac-12 with an 8-8 record since 2010. They are capable of competing with the conference.
Does The Pac-12 Need San Diego State?
This is the big question and it is something that the Aztecs can not really control. San Diego State fits the mold of the Pac-12 and even more with expansion pulling away two flagship universities.
It all really depends on if the Aztecs can help increase the value for the media rights deal. That is something the Pac-12 is currently working on and with just the current 10 teams in the league right now.
If San Diego State can improve that value and then also find another team as well then it makes too much sense to invite the Aztecs. The obstacle could be finding that 12th team.
The media rights deal should be done sometime by the end of the first quarter of 2023, and then expansion could be considered.
An article written by Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports he points out how the Aztecs are ready for the move. One particular quote that stood out from a professor at San Diego State.
“Now that USC and UCLA are gone, there’s nobody really to block us,” said Jack McGrory, an SDSU alumnus, professor on campus for 25 years and now a member of the California State University board of trustees. “We’re the only viable option to have a team in Southern California.”
“It’s not an if, it’s a when,” said a high-ranking industry source regarding SDSU’s future opportunity to join the Pac-12.
Athletics director J.D. Wicker is putting on the hard sell and has a very interesting comment that says power leagues are fighting over San Diego State.
“You want San Diego State in your league at [a full media rights share] because you don’t want us in the Big 12,” said Wicker. “All the Big 12 schools [would] have a reason to come to Southern California to recruit.”
It is not 100% sure when that quote was taken because the Big 12’s new TV deal says expansion teams must come from a Power 5 league. Things are always negotiable so that might not be set in stone but it’s in the contract.
Also, the comment about being a full-share member in year one is not going to happen. The Aztecs do not have that type of leverage. If Cincinnati went to the College Football Playoff in 2022, BYU is a huge national brand or UCF has been to a few New Year’s Six games aren’t getting a full share; then there is no way that San Diego State is going to command a full share from the start.
Wicker seems to be overplaying his hand to subtly threaten that the Big 12 would come after San Diego State if the Pac-12 doesn’t offer his Aztecs.
He is right about one thing and that is the Big 12 would like to have better access to Southern California.
Also to consider is that Kevin Warren no longer the commissioner of the Big Ten and that league looking for a new man in charge, their priority of maybe poaching Washington and Oregon could both be good and bad for the Aztecs.
With the Big Ten not out hunting for more schools, that could lead to the Pac-12 being patient with expansion options. as they work on their media deal.
SMU is the other team that the Pac-12 has reportedly had conversations with, but San Diego State seems to be the No. 1 choice.
San Diego State has done all it can to make its case for a Power 5 league and has done a good job for over a decade of improving itself.
Now, they just need to get the phone call that has a decent chance of happening.