As Coach Yeoman used to say, “Being independent is hard cheese.” If you suck, you can be every teams homecoming opponent. If you are any good, trying to find someone to play you isn’t very easy. NMSU is in the suck category.
In conference, you are guaranteed so much TV exposure and money. Not so as an independent. Making the NCAA tourney as an independent is extremely difficult. So is getting an opponent during the conference portion of schedules. There really aren’t that many independent FBS teams.