TCU Set To Join Big East
by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
Before we analyze the basketball aspect of TCU’s apparent jump to the Big East, let’s make this clear — this is a football move, first and foremost. The Big East will be happy to add TCU into the fold after it appears that the conference will send unranked UConn to a BCS bowl.
Regardless of why it was made, though, TCU will be a member of the basketball conference, as well as, the football one.
The source said that it was uncertain whether the school would enter the Big East next year or in the 2012-13 campaign.
While it doesn’t appear to make much sense from a proximity standpoint, the move is designed to add another football school — and a formidable one — to a Big East that has been lackluster recently on the gridiron.
TCU was on the rise from a basketball sense. The Horned Frogs are 4-2 to start the season and recently knocked off Houston. Good enough to be a middle of the pack team in the Mountain West Conference but destined to become a bottom feeder in the Big East.
All jokes aside about TCU’s location, playing so far away from other schools will be an immediate disadvantage for the Horned Frogs. Rick Majerus, the head coach of Saint Louis, has said that being halfway across the country from the rest of the Atlantic 10 schools is something the school must overcome every season, and the same will most likely be felt by TCU.
Then there’s the fact that 17 schools will now play in the conference. With TCU’s track record in basketball, it is unlikely that it finishes in the top half for maybe even the first decade. South Florida, a school with a similar basketball track record to TCU’s, has been in the conference since 2005 and has yet to finish with anything better than a 9-9 record in conference games.
The 17 teams also should complicate things further for Big East scheduling, postseason and rivalries. Divisions are an option (ones that separate “classic” teams like Syracuse and Georgetown from “new” ones like TCU and DePaul make sense), but don’t look for the Big East to add an 18th team to even things out. While the conference is looking to add one more football team, a jump from 1-AA by Villanova is the most likely option. Also, with so much instability in the conferences, it’s possible that a school like Notre Dame or Pittsburgh might still leave for the Big Ten.
Then there’s the newest member, TCU. The Horned Frogs should instantly be the class of the football conference, making them a perennial BCS bowl team and possibly give them a shot at a national title game. If TCU was able able to compete for a national title, the Big 12 might finally come calling.
TCU’s move to the Big East is the first domino to fall for the conference, and it means that a series of related moves are most likely on the way.