TCU Horned Frogs. 2010 Big East Football Champs. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
"In a move designed to prop up a weak football conference, The Big East has convinced TCU to leave the Mountain West and join the league as an all sports member, sources told the Daily News early this morning. Commissioner John Marinatto and Associate Commisioner in charge of communications John Paquette both flew to Dallas yesterday for the official announcement at 1 p.m. today."
TCU joining the Big East appears to be a win-win for both sides. This move would give the league a legitimate BCS contender, something the league has failed to produce this season, while it would give TCU an automatic berth to a BCS bowl with a conference title.
But the move produces an almost unwieldy 17-team basketball conference, and it's unlikely the conference will stop at nine teams for football. If the Big East doesn't coax Villanova football out of their cushy little I-AA home, they might be forced to pick up an 18th basketball program in Central Florida or Houston.
I'm happy for TCU, but to me, this move reaffirms that Boston College's decision to move to the ACC along with Virginia Tech and Miami back in 2005 was absolutely the right decision for the school and the athletics department. Unless the football-playing members of the Big East break away to form their own 10 team conference, a 17 or 18-team conference is way, way too large for basketball, and the addition of a team from Dallas-Fort Worth all but renders the increased travel costs argument all but irrelevant for the Eagles in the ACC.
Update: Fanhouse says TCU will begin playing in the Big East in the 2012-2013 season, so the Horned Frogs will have to endure one final season of awkwardness as members of the Mountain West. BC certainly knows how that feels.