It was do or die time for Utah State, and the Aggies did.
Joining the Mountain West Conference in 2013 was an absolute must for the entire athletic program. The Aggies could not afford to continue on in the feeble WAC any longer. The mass exodus started with Boise State, and continued on through Nevada, Fresno State, Hawaii, and now San Jose State and Louisiana Tech.
The WAC is crumbling. Texas State is joining for 2012, then bolting for the Sun Belt Conference in 2013. Texas-San Antonio is on its way to Conference USA. When all the dust settles, the only remaining football schools will be Idaho and New Mexico State. The WAC will be forced to go the way of the Big West and drop football entirely.
Utah State should be celebrating their promotion to the MWC, but Aggie fans should mostly be breathing a huge sigh of relief. Without this invitation, the Aggies would be looking at either going independent, or joining a geographically undesirable conference. This will be the best conference of which Utah State has ever been a member.
The Mountain West isn't what it used to be when it had Utah, BYU and TCU. But it might as well be the SEC when you compare it to the future state of the WAC.
Everybody benefits. In football, Gary Andersen gets regular games against solid competition against the likes of Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming, plus national exposure on ESPN and the NBC network. In basketball, Stew Morrill gets to bring in perennial NCAA Tournament teams like UNLV and New Mexico to try their luck in the Spectrum every year.
The Mountain West regains at least some of the Utah market it was sorely lacking.
True, the MWC now looks like a slightly altered version of the WAC from a few years ago. But we all know Utah State isn't ready for a BCS conference, anyway. Coming off its first bowl game in 14 years, having had three players just selected in the NFL Draft, and now this, Utah State's profile has never been higher.
This isn't win-win. It's win-triumph. Especially when you consider the alternative.