What does USC and UCLA's Move to the Big Ten Mean for SDSU?

The Pac-12 no longer has a presence in Southern California, but time will tell if they're the best option for the Aztecs.

When John David Wicker heard reports that USC and UCLA were bolting for the Big Ten the SDSU Athletic Director dipped into his contacts to figure out just how legitimate the news was.

As it turns out the high profile move was imminent - made official Thursday afternoon. By that time Wicker had spoken to reporters curious about the impact that latest big domino could have on the Aztecs.

"Obviously this opens up a hole in Southern California and San Diego State is kind of the one institution sitting here," Wicker said.

His initial statement was about what you'd expect - that SDSU will position itself as best it can. They are in good shape. Brian Dutcher's basketball program is among the best on the west coast. Brady Hoke's football program just posted its first 12-win season, and is getting ready to move into a brand new state-of-the-art stadium. Wicker also referenced success in other sports like softball, and their growth as an academic institution.

That San Diego State would be attractive to a conference like the Pac-12 or Big 12 is not hard to see. What's far less clear is the most beneficial destination. The 'conference of champions' could be losing more members, with Brett McMurphy of The Action Network reporting that the Big 12 is pursuing Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.

Wicker did pose the rhetorical question of what could be done to make the Mountain West the best it can be. There's always the chance that Pac-12 leftovers could find a home in SDSU's current league.

In the event that a new home is their best option, Wicker has made sure that everyone is up to date on the progress his university has made.

"People have definitely taken notice of what we're doing. We're very happy members of the Mountain West Conference right now," Wicker said. "We'll continue to survey the marketplace and try to understand what's the best fit for San Diego State going forward."

The challenge will be remaining at the highest level of competition, which is SDSU's goal. The arrival of mega-conferences like the SEC and Big Ten could create a larger chasm between the proverbial 'haves' and 'have-nots'. Wicker speculated about changes to Division I as a whole and what it would require to remain at that level. They want to stay on the right side of that equation, and believe their performance gives them a chance.

"There's 'haves' and there's 'have-nots' from a budget standpoint, but there's still a lot of great talent out there. Having great coaches who develop that talent gives you the opportunity to compete with those folks."

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