The Big East is Perfect for TCU Football

Posted: November 30, 2010 in NCAA Football
Tags: , , , ,

By all rights, TCU should have been asked to join the Big 12 when Nebraska and Colorado announced that they were leaving, and the fate of the entire conference hung in the balance.  However, the Big 12 didn’t make the obvious move because adding TCU would not have increased their TV footprint.  Aside from the geographical logic, adding TCU to the Big 12 would have created instant rivalries with the other Texas teams, while strengthening the conference with an outstanding football program.  However, logic rarely prevails when it comes to greed, which is why TCU is headed to the Big East.  And though it may not seem like a good fit, I believe that this move will ultimately be better for TCU than joining the Big 12.

For better or worse, Texas is Longhorn country.  Burnt orange is everywhere, including the Dallas / Fort Worth area (which is TCU’s backyard).  Truth be told, TCU isn’t even a distant second in the area.  That honor belongs to Oklahoma.  Even though TCU has been atop the mystical BCS standings in recent years, the game that gets the most hype in the DFW area is the annual Red River Shootout (Texas vs.  Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl).  Tickets to the Red River Shootout do not come cheap or easy, yet tickets to see unbeaten TCU are relatively easy to come by.  Even if TCU were asked to join the Big 12, they would likely not rise above being the third favorite team in the conference (even in their own backyard).

Recruiting against Texas and Oklahoma is always going to present a challenge, which is understandable because of the rich traditions of each program.  With the impressive run that TCU has been on, recruiting against the other Texas schools should be fairly easy, but it isn’t because Mountain West Conference teams are never going to be seen by the masses as being able to play with the “big boys.”

Joining the Big 12 (if they were invited) would have taken away the BCS stumbling block, but would not have created the unique opportunity that TCU is going to have as a member of the Big East (at least where football is concerned).

The Big East is the most dominant conference in the country…for basketball.  But the football talent coming out of the areas where the Big East teams are located pales by comparison to the football talent that exists in Texas.  The bottom line is that football is a way of life in Texas, but it is not in other parts of the country.  This gives TCU a tremendous recruiting advantage over all of the other teams is their new conference.  When you take into account that TCU is already a far better football program than anything that the Big East has to offer, it isn’t a huge leap to say that they will be favored to win the conference for the foreseeable future.

Winning the Mountain West Conference is tantamount to being the 5th runner-up in the Miss America pageant.  Logic would say that winning the Big East in football would be tantamount to being 3rd runner-up in the same pageant, but logic does not exist when it comes to the BCS, as evidenced by the fact that UCONN (a Big East team with 4 losses) is likely to be invited to a BCS bowl game if they win their last game of the season due to the conference’s automatic qualifier status.

If they make it to a BCS bowl game, UCONN (with 4 losses) will receive approximately $17million, while powerhouse 1-loss teams will be playing for no more than a quarter of that total in their non-BCS bowl games.

History is on the side of TCU being able to represent the Big East in a BCS bowl on a regular basis.  The University of Miami represented the Big East in a major bowl game in six out of their twelve seasons in the conference.  Florida (like Texas) is a very fertile ground for recruiting top football talent.  Miami had the best recruiting classes in the Big East, which played a large part in their conference dominance.  It stands to reason that TCU will also have the best recruiting classes in the Big East going forward, which is a huge advantage, considering that they will likely be the best football team in the conference as soon as they officially join.

Undefeated Big East football teams are not shunned for their schedule the way that non-automatic-qualifier conferences are, and will always be in the running to play in the national championship game.  Going undefeated in the Big East is far more likely than going undefeated in the Big 12, which is why this move is ideal for TCU football (geographical challenges aside).   TCU can also take solace in the fact that they can still play in a BCS bowl even if they don’t go undefeated.

The more BCS bowl games that TCU can play in the more exposure they will get.  The more exposure they get, the easier it will be to recruit top talent in the future.  Better recruiting increases the likelihood of playing in more BCS bowl games, which will keep the cycle going.

Skeptics will point out the fact that a Texas team is playing in The Big East.  They will point out that TCU will have to travel long distances to play their conference road games.  However, they were already travelling extensively in the Mountain West Conference, so this is nothing new for them.  In fact, the closest geographical team to TCU in their current conference is 555 miles away (see below).

BIG EAST                                                                              MOUNTAIN WEST

Connecticut – 1723 miles                                              Utah – 1230 miles

Rutgers – 1560 miles                                                       San Diego State – 1144 miles

Syracuse – 1548 miles                                                    UNLV – 1038 miles

Pittsburgh – 1373 miles                                                 BYU – 948 miles

West Virginia – 1244 miles                                            Wyoming – 876 miles

South Florida – 1186 miles                                            Colorado State – 840 miles

Cincinnati – 971 miles                                                     Air Force – 720 miles

Louisville – 871 miles                                                      New Mexico – 555 miles

TCU will have to travel further to Big East road games than Mountain West road games, but it will be well worth it in the end, especially because the time zone difference is actually going to decrease for the most part.  As a TCU fan, I couldn’t be happier with their move, and look forward to the day when I see much more purple and much less burnt orange!


  1. Z-Man says:

    i loved it so much

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