Wednesday, December 1, 2010

TCU Headed To The Big East

As you probably have heard, TCU announced Monday that it would be joining the Big East in all sports starting with the 2012 season. This will make nine football teams in the division and seventeen teams in all other sports. With Utah and BYU, arguably the best football programs in the current Mountain West along with TCU, leaving the conference, it was inevitable TCU would look to move. The only real competition for TCU would be newcomer Boise State. The Big East offers the Horned Frogs better competition and a shot at automatically qualifying for a BCS bowl. Comparing what TCU has done and what the Big East has done in football this year, TCU should be one of the best football programs in the Big East, if not the best in the years to come. The present Big East benefits from moving into the fertile recruiting grounds of Texas and gaining exposure in the Dallas-Fort Worth television market.

Now that the Big East has seventeen members and may possibly add another in the future to balance out an odd number of schools. The conference is growing too large. This may be a disaster in the long term. Remember what happened to the Western Athletic Conference three years after it expanded to sixteen teams? Athletics and academics get compromised when conferences expand. Some members feel they are being grouped with inferior institutions and programs or dissimilar ones. This causes departures and fissions to come about. The fact that TCU is not in the “East” and is over 750 miles from its nearest conference-mate, Louisville, also could lead to a split. Travel costs and travel times for athletic departments and fans will rise.
The Big East will probably look to get a tenth football member in the future. The next member will likely be Villanova by 2014, but if the Big East isn’t patient, they’re expected to pursue Central Florida.
There are definitely benefits for TCU and the Big East in their marriage, but will there be a divorce down the road? Texas Christian has been a member of five different conferences since 1995.

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