According to ESPN, San Diego State has agreed to join the Big East in football, which would leave the rest of their sports hanging due to the Mountain West policy of no football, no membership.
This is huge for the Big West, particularly in men’s basketball, where the Aztecs have burst on to the national scene recently, making it to the Sweet Sixteen last year, going a ridiculous 34-3 on the season.
The same ESPN article by Andrea Adelson notes the WAC and the Big West as the possible destinations for SDSU, but mentions Boise State as a better match for the WAC and SDSU as a (geographical) match for the Big West.
Adding Hawaii and now potentially SDSU would do wonders in boosting the profile of Big West basketball. It also adds the San Diego market, an ideal extension of the Cal State schools already located in Los Angeles and Orange County. While the road to the NCAA Tournament would be more difficult for UCI in the short run, I believe that the recruitment of talent would improve in the long run.
However, the question remains of whether SDSU would be willing to lower their immediate strength of schedule enough to enter the Big West. Long Beach State and UCSB have both gone into OT before losing against SDSU this season, showing that the talent gap isn’t insurmountable. SDSU joining as an 11th member would also probably mandate the addition of a 12th team to make things even out again, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.