The Daily Aggie :: 11/11/10

Today should be an interesting day. According to multiple mainstream media outlets yesterday, the WAC will be making an announcement this afternoon regarding expansion. It's expected that UT-San Antonio, Texas State and Denver will be announced as the winners of the WAC expansion (round one). Chelsi Moy of The Missoulian reported at roughly 11:00 a.m. this morning that Montana will not be joining the WAC and will remain in the Big Sky and at the FCS level for football. The Missoulian has two quotes, one from Montana President Royce Engstrom and one from Athletic Director Jim O'Day.

"At this time, FCS football presents the best overall fit for the university," Engstrom said. "It provides our student athletes and fans with a great experience, and it is consistent with the strategic direction of the university."

"I agree this is the best course for The University of Montana at this particular time," UM Athletics Director Jim O'Day said. "Right now, Grizzly athletics needs to concentrate on building its athletics infrastructure. That should be our No. 1 priority now and where we should be allocating our energy."

There are two key phrases in those two quotes, "At this time" and "Right now" uttered by both gentlemen. It sounds to us like the Grizzlies are gearing up for the next time major shakeups occur and in our opinion, they could be waiting for an invitation from the Mountain West Conference, which at least logically would be a better geographic fit than the new WAC (which is becoming decidedly more central-based with the additions of UTSA and Texas State).

Ferd Lewis of the Honolulu Star Advertiser writes that the Warriors and Wahine may or may not be around to welcome the new additions in 2012. He states in the article that UH is exploring a Mountain West/Big West future with football independence as a fallback.

We can't really blame UH for not being thrilled with the addition of two more Central time zone teams and as we pointed out a little over a week ago, this expansion by the WAC could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back in regards to UH's continued membership in the WAC. Should UH leave, it would have serious implications for the WAC in terms of meeting the NCAA's continuity clause.

It will be interesting to see how things pan out over the next few weeks as the Big East continues their plans for expansion and how that affects the Mountain West (TCU is reportedly the main target) which in turn could affect the WAC further (Utah State and Hawai'i getting invites? The MWC becomes the old WAC, sort of?)

And one final note on the WAC expansion situation, semi-related, the WAC will not be affiliated with the New Mexico Bowl at least for the 2012 and 2013 seasons as the Pac-12 will send a team to play the Mountain West in Albuquerque. Aggie fans hoping for a NM Bowl bid better hope the Aggies can get it done next season.

The first day of the early signing period started yesterday and the Aggies pulled four recruits out of the state of Arizona with two heading to play for Coach Rodolph and the softball team and two heading to play for Coach Jordan and the volleyball team. Chelsea Dohrwardt and Ayssa Vargas will join the softball team next season (2012?) and Jocelyn Leichner and Bradley Nash will join volleyball in the 2011 season.

We've got lots of coaches interviews (Walker, Menzies, Harkins and Spence) posted from this week plus a lot of videos from the awesome guys over at AggieVision who continue to churn out high quality features.

On to today's links...

Aggie Men's Basketball
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News talks to Coach Menzies about opening weekend.

Jason Groves has a feature on Aggie freshman Tshilidzi Nephawe.

Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal previews the Nevada schedule team-by-team.

Aggie Football
Adam Nettina of the Utah Statesman shares his WAC power poll.

Aggie Volleyball
Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News talks about the Aggies' chance to hit 20 wins for the 9th consecutive season.

Ian St. Clair of the Wyoming Eagle Tribune reports that Meghan Sipe has chosen Wyoming over New Mexico State, Idaho State and others.

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