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Big East Conference Expansion: The Impact Of TCU's Move

So, what does TCU's decision to join the Big East beginning in 2012 mean? It means this is a great day for Big East Conference football, which had been struggling to maintain credibility. It is a great day for TCU football, as it moves to a conference with an automatic BCS bowl berth. It is a blip on the radar screen Big East basketball will barely notice. Finally, it is a knockout punch to the Mountain West, which now has no shot at earning an automatic BCS bowl berth.

That's a mouthful, but that about sums it up.

Big East football coaches are happy, and they should be. TCU's addition provides a tremendous upgrade to the conference's quality and credibility.

"Obviously they are an outstanding program," Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said.   "A lot of my coaches  know guys down there and they say they have great facilities.   They also have a great national reputation."

"I'm all for anything that strengthens the BIg East Conference," South Florida coach Skip Holtz said.   "I think this news will create a lot of excitement and energy (for the conference) considering the success TCU has had.  

"I think they will bring an awful lot of value to the table,"  Holtz continued.   "They've proven that they can compete at (the BCS) level and that they are deserving of being in a BCS conference."

For TCU, this now means they don't have to go unbeaten to earn a BCS bowl berth. They can do that by winning the Big East title, regardless of a loss or two along the way.

One thing of note is that no longer will the TCU football program have to worry that one nonconference loss ends any BCS bowl hopes. Gary Patterson's program has been held to a very high standard in terms of voters for the past few years. One slip-up -- heck, even a five-point win against bowl eligible San Diego State team was a slip-up -- and BCS hopes were dimmed.

And look at this year: Before Boise State's loss to Nevada, it was possible TCU was going to go 12-0 and not make a BCS bowl. Think about that.

Now, that's not a problem. Starting in the 2012 football season, TCU will be playing in a conference that has an automatic bid to the BCS party. UConn is in the driver's seat this season and they have four losses. It means that if TCU loses one game, the season isn't over in terms of playing with the big boys.

This move means TCU has the security of knowing if they win their conferenece, they are in a BCS bowl. Isn't that reassuring for Frogs fans?

Yahoo! Sports also pointed out that the move to the Big East should improve media exposure for the sometimes under-the-radar Horned Frogs.

The move to the Big East also creates more exposure for the Horned Frogs. The Frogs often are dominated in media coverage in the state of Texas, and there aren’t an abundance of markets in the Mountain West. That isn’t the case in the Big East, where it has markets such as New York City, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Cincinnati and even Florida. That is besides the lucrative Dallas-Fort Worth market.

Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News understands the move, but says it will still seem strange.

We are used to strange geographical alignments in college sports by now. Teams don't really have to be along the Atlantic Coast to play in the ACC. Colorado and Utah don't exactly hug the Pacific Ocean but they will participate in the Pac-12 next year.


But TCU in the Big East is going to feel odd for awhile. We know the Frogs have been flirting with other conferences. Heck, they leave leagues at the rate of once every four years.

I mean, haven't the Frogs played in the SWC and the WAC and Conference USA and the Mountain West in the last 15 years?

But usually when a school makes a major change like the one TCU is announcing today, it can at least try to sell the idea that it's good for all the sports at the school.

This one seems strictly designed for men's football.

The loser in all of this, without a doubt is the Mountain West. SB Nation Denver explains:

So much for the Mountain West becoming a player in the next round of BCS talks. The league over the summer gained Boise State which would have made the league at least on par with the Big East and much closer to the rest of the BCS leagues, but  then Utah left for the Pac-10 along side Colorado, BYU chose to go independent and now TCU is leaving for greener pastures and will join the Big East.

A league without Utah and BYU would still have been a very good league with the addition of Boise State, but now with TCU gone and then adding Nevada, Fresno State and Hawai'i the Mountain West is a shell of itself and is a step up from the old WAC.