The college football world was rocked by the death of San Jose State's freshman running back Camdan McWright on October 28 and as a result, New Mexico State and San Jose State postponed their game on October 29 to a date to be determined. This was the right decision as any time a program deals with a loss in their program, it is best to put sports aside and allow the athletes and campus proper time for mourning and reflection.
Now, both schools have no clear plan to make up this game, primarily due to San Jose State having a clear path to the Mountain West Championship Game. Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun reported that New Mexico State was looking for FCS schools to fill their open date on November 5th but ultimately failed. Consequently, New Mexico State is now looking to schedule a game for November 5th. There are four FCS schools that have 10 games or less scheduled and are outside of the FCS Playoff picture.
Sam Houston State
Sam Houston State appears to be the most likely option for New Mexico State's makeup game. The Aggies' fellow future Conference USA foe is ineligible for the FCS Playoffs due to their transition and have only nine games scheduled.
The Bearkats are relatively close to New Mexico State at 771 miles away from Las Cruces, so organizing travel on short notice should not be too big of an issue. Additionally, it benefits the Aggies to provide a "sneak preview" of sorts for a future regional rivalry with a future conference mate.
Hurricane Ian canceled Stetson and San Diego's game on October 1st, allowing both schools to potentially be opponents for New Mexico State on December 1st. The only problem is the Pioneer Football League is wide open. San Diego, who has two losses in PFL play, will likely know their playoff fate in the next two weeks after they play Butler and Davidson, who are both 4-1 in the PFL.
In the event that San Diego drops either game, they could benefit greatly from a game with New Mexico State. San Diego is only 682 miles from Las Cruces so travel will not be as big of an issue as it is for other teams on this list. The only issue is San Diego's non-scholarship status, but since New Mexico State will likely be outside of bowl eligibility, it may not be an issue.
The Toreros played an FBS school fairly recently when they played San Diego State in 2015. Furthermore, Drake nearly pulled one of the greatest upsets of all-time in a December makeup game against Iowa State in 2018.
What better way for a first-year FCS school to make a name for themselves than a strong showing against an FBS school. Lindenwood has that opportunity as they only have 10 games scheduled in their inaugural FCS season. Not only has Lindenwood never played an FBS program, but as recently as 2010, the Lions were an NAIA school, making this potential matchup even more amazing.
Lindenwood is considerably further from Las Cruces than Sam Houston State and San Diego at over 1100 miles away, but it is far from an outrageous amount of travel. However, one has to wonder how open Lindenwood's coaches would be to playing an FBS school in the first year of their FCS transition.
Charleston Southern may be over 1700 miles away from Las Cruces, but the Buccaneers' history of cross-country FBS games makes them a more likely opponent than one would think. Charleston Southern has made trips to Colorado in 2013 and not one, but two trips to Hawaii. In the past, Charleston Southern has not been afraid to make long trips for paycheck games, so why not give the program's seniors and fans an opportunity for a rare trip out west?
The Buccaneers have only ten games on their schedule, including a 55-3 loss over NC State.
As mentioned earlier, Hurricane Ian took a game away from Stetson, but unlike San Diego, Stetson is likely out of contention for the Pioneer Football League title with three conference losses. Stetson could play for a chance at their first win over a current FBS opponent since a win over Troy in 1955. Stetson may not be as eager to make a trip out west given they have visited Pioneer Football League counterpart San Diego four times since 2014, making them a longshot to play the Aggies.
Another first-year FCS program rounds out this list as NEC newbie Stonehill has only a nine-game slate this year. For those unaware, Stonehill is located in Easton, MA which is a whopping 2374 miles from Las Cruces. Even more shocking is the fact that the furthest Stonehill has traveled for a game in their program's 35-year history is 684 miles for a season-opening trip to West Virginia’s Glenville State in 2009.
Yes, a trip like this is unprecedented and insane, but cross-country trips like this are memorable experiences for student-athletes. Stonehill fans and players would receive a rare trip to a part of the country they otherwise would not visit and a chance to see amazing attractions like White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns. This is one of the great delights of intersectional games and originally, bowl games.
As one can see, there is no shortage of opponents for New Mexico State to play in their 12th game. Both regional opponents and schools on the other side of the country could meet the Aggies to give their players one final game on the field and their fans a unique road game experience.