New Mexico State is creeping ever closer to running out of the tunnel at Aggie Memorial Stadium once again.
The Aggies will open fall camp on August 2 in preparation for what is arguably the most difficult schedule of any Group of Five team. NMSU will play road games as Washington State, Alabama and Ole Miss, with a trio of games against Mountain West Conference foes thrown in.
That murderous slate won’t be easy, but NM State will be well-compensated. They’re getting paid a combined $3.8 million for the games against Alabama, WSU and Ole Miss: $1.7 million for the trip to Tuscaloosa, $1.5 million to go to Oxford and $600,000 for the game at Washington State.
Regardless of the hefty lump of cash they’ll get, the Aggies know it’s a big challenge and they’re embracing it.
“Football pays the bills. We’re getting quite a bit of money to play Alabama and Ole Miss and Washington State,” head coach Doug Martin said. “We understand that football has that priority. Mario does a great job of putting us in a position to succeed. This is one of the only years we’ll ever play three power conference games. We’d like to stay away from that and limit that to two. It makes it more realistic for us. This is one of those challenging years and we’re going to accept it.”
No one ever said life as an FBS independent would be easy.
Additionally on Thursday, a pair of Aggies found their names on some preseason award watch lists. Senior running back and return man Jason Huntley is on the Paul Hornung Award Watch List, given to the nation’s most versatile player. NMSU sophomore quarterback Josh Adkins made the Dann Wuerffel Award Watch List, which is a community service-based award.
The Aggies open the season with those road games at WSU and Alabama. Their first home game is Sept. 14 against San Diego State.