San Diego State reached the Final Four for the first time in school history Sunday. 

It marks the Aztecs’ latest accomplishment. SDSU’s basketball and football programs have been highly competitive and successful during the past 20 years. 

“Biggest available West Coast market other than Los Angeles, Southern California location, good facilities, investment in their programs, etc. Looks like Utah to me.” — retired Fox Sports Networks president Bob Thompson on SDSU and possible move to the Pac-12

For months, SDSU has been linked to reports that it will be jumping from the Mountain West Conference to a Power Five league.

“Realignment is here,” Aztecs basketball coach Brian Dutcher said over the weekend. “So everybody is just waiting for the next shoe to drop. Whether that’s the Big Ten or the Pac-12 or the Big 12 or ACC. There’s going to be more realignment.”

With USC and UCLA bolting the Pac-12 next year, leaving the league with just 10 members, it seems that the conference would be wise to add SDSU to its fold to help offset the loss of the Trojans and the Bruins. 

The league has been exploring expansion and San Diego State checks all the boxes of what it needs. 

“The Aztecs are a no-brainer for the Pac-12. San Diego State has the academics, culture and Pacific Time Zone geography,” Pac-12 insider John Canzano wrote this week. “It would also add 1.1 million television households in a region where the Pac-12 badly needs it. We’ve talked about San Diego State as a possible Pac-12 addition for months. The conference is going to add somewhere between 0-4 new members. It could decide to stay at 10. But I just don’t see how the presidents and chancellors can ignore the opportunity to get back into Southern California. I also don’t know why it should wait.”

Canzano asked Bob Thompson, a retired Fox Sports Networks president, about the possibility of SDSU joining the Pac-12. Thompson agrees that the league should add the Aztecs.

“Biggest available West Coast market other than Los Angeles, Southern California location, good facilities, investment in their programs, etc.,” Thompson said. “Looks like Utah to me.”

Utah and SDSU played on a yearly basis when both were members of the Western Athletic Conference and the Mountain West Conference from 1978 to 2010. 

Wrote’s Pete Thamel: “With the Pac-12 expected to receive clarity on its next television deal in the upcoming weeks, the potential has loomed for months that the conference could add programs whenever that deal is completed. San Diego State remains at the forefront of that conversation, thanks to the school’s location and a strong run of success in both football and men’s basketball to go along with solid academics.

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“San Diego State athletic director John David Wicker said that the program, regardless of whether it’s in the Mountain West or Pac-12, will be able to sell regional travel to recruits. He sees the amount of travel that USC and UCLA will have to do for league play as a potential recruiting advantage for San Diego State. When the Aztecs were flying to Orlando for the opening weekend, he said he mentioned 2½ hours into their trip that they’d be only halfway to many Big Ten schools.”

Last year, Doug Haller of The Athletic wrote that SDSU is considered a prime target for the Pac-12

The Athletic asked a couple of industry sources about Pac-12 expansion candidates, and each one started here. The Pac-12 has never seemed to take San Diego State seriously, mostly because it operates in the California State University system, but it’s time to give the Mountain West school a strong look,” Haller wrote.

“San Diego has the 28th largest television market, which is not ideal, but adding the Aztecs would give the Pac-12 a presence in some part of Southern California. This cannot be ignored. Athletically, San Diego State recently has outperformed many Pac-12 schools in football and men’s basketball, so that’s not an issue. The football program has posted five seasons of 10-plus wins over the past seven years. The men’s basketball team has made the NCAA Tournament (now 10) times since the 2009-10 season.

“Most important, the Aztecs have showed a commitment to taking the next step. This fall, they are scheduled to open the $310 million Snapdragon Stadium as their next football home. There’s some momentum here.”

Will SDSU become the next member of the Pac-12? A decision could be coming soon.

San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher holds the remains of the net and is falls into the arms of his team after a Elite Eight victory over Creighton in the South Regional of the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 26, 2023, in Louisville, Ky. San Diego State won 57-56. | Mike Stewart, Associated Press