Earlier this week, both Idaho and New Mexico State made their presentations to the Sun Belt Conference on why they should be retained as football-only members through the end of the 2017 season.
Good arguments have to be made, as deregulation has eliminated the necessity for a 12-team conference in order to hold a conference championship game. This could put a pinch on each school's presence in the conference on a long-term basis, so a good sell is needed.
Thursday, both school's power-point presentations were made public. Idaho's has already earned much ridicule.
But as bad as Idaho's power point was, New Mexico State's presentation was really good. Despite having the longest bowl-less streak in FBS at 56 years and being geographically disadvantaged, New Mexico State highlights their positives and hides the negatives in a way that should be commended.
The Aggies make compelling points without dragging the rest of the Sun Belt down. Past mistakes are admitted while showing the steps that are being made to bring future success.
They do throw their previous coaching staffs under the bus. But looking at those seasons, it's well deserved. I do question calling out the poor true freshman kicker, though. Kickers are people too!
Further, the youth of the team is used to show that the Aggies are building to a better future.
The first few slides point out NMSU's commitment to FBS football with scholarship numbers going up, facility enhancements, increased spending, an investment by Learfield Sports and the ever-lovable Aggievision. All valid points and they don't use isolated stats like Idaho tried to do.
Perhaps the biggest shock out of the power point is that NMSU is the third-highest football spender out of all the Sun Belt members. It's somewhat understandable due to geography, but you would think in that case, Idaho would be higher up. Also of note is that the top three in the Sun Belt 2015 standings are in the bottom half of spenders.
Despite only appealing for a renewal of football-only membership, NMSU makes it a point to talk about their overall athletics investment is showcasing enhancements for basketball, swimming, baseball and more.
Funny enough, NMSU also seems to make a case for Idaho to stay in the Sun Belt as well. The votes to either retain or dump Idaho and NMSU are separate so you could have one without the other, but it's also easy to see how both are intertwined together. With that likely in mind, the Aggies make a better cause for Idaho than Idaho did. NMSU pointed out simple math.
A 12-team league is a lot easier to schedule than an 11-team league. You play everyone in your division, then three of the six teams in the other division, then after two years, you play the other three.
Not only does New Mexico State's power point look great, it makes Idaho's look that much worse. For what it's worth, Arkansas State AD Terry Mohajir said he was impressed with both school's presentations. Still, there's a lot riding on the March 10th vote and the Aggies know it.
NMSU A.D. says their backup plan is wait for conference realignment, independent status, or and FCS league that might have an interest.— 93.1 KTIK The Ticket (@ktik931fm) February 17, 2016