Big East Adds TCU
Horned Frogs joining Big East in 2012
By: Steven Lassan | 11/29/10, 4:16 PM EST
College football’s great expansion of 2010 continued with TCU’s announcement of a move to the Big East. The Horned Frogs will play the 2011 season in the Mountain West, then make the move for the Big East in time for 2012. The Horned Frogs will join the conference as a full member, giving the Big East 17 schools in basketball and nine for football.
Although the geographic fit is a little odd, this is should be a good move for both sides. The Big East wants to upgrade its football product, and this gives TCU an opportunity to play for an automatic berth in the BCS every year. The Horned Frogs have posted at least 11 wins in five out of the last six seasons, giving the Big East an immediate boost in football credibility - something that has suffered this season. The addition of TCU should help the Big East tap into a rich television market in Dallas, along with extending the recruiting pipeline into Texas.
Don’t rule out the Big East from adding another team in the near future. The conference wants to expand to 10 football schools, with current FCS member Villanova as the top target, followed by UCF. The Wildcats have an invitiation to join the Big East in football, but have to decide to whether or not to make the jump from FCS to FBS.
TCU’s departure is a big blow to the Mountain West. Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State was brought in to replace Utah and BYU, but the departure of TCU weakens the conference. Although Boise State is certainly a legitimate top-15 every season, the new Mountain West is only a slightly improved version of the WAC. The WAC is facing an uncertain future, with Louisiana Tech, Idaho, Utah State, New Mexico State, San Jose State the members in 2012, along with the addition of Texas State and Texas-San Antonio. Hawaii’s future conference is up in the air, with the Warriors pondering a move to the Mountain West.
There has been a flurry of activity from several conferences since the Big Ten announced its intention to expand last winter. With the Mountain West, WAC and Big East still considering more moves, don’t expect the expansion talk to die down anytime soon.
Here’s a scorecard for the changes in college football expansion -
|Old Conference||New Conference|
|Boise State||WAC||Mountain West (2011)|
|BYU||Mountain West||Independent (2011)|
|Colorado||Big 12||Pac-12 (2011)|
|Fresno State||WAC||Mountain West (2012)|
|Nebraska||Big 12||Big Ten (2011)|
|Nevada||WAC||Mountain West (2012)|
|TCU||Mountain West||Big East (2012)|
|Texas State||FCS - Southland||WAC (2012)|
|UT-San Antonio||FCS - Southland||WAC (2012)|
|Utah||Mountain West||Pac-12 (2011)|
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