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Conference Realignment: TCU Leaving Big East For Big 12

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Texas Christian University, which was slated to join the Big East in 2012, is going to the Big 12 instead.

The New York Times' Pete Thamel reports the Big East was notified Thursday morning of TCU's intent to leave for the Big 12. Thamel also reports that TCU has scheduled a board meeting and will likely make the announcement soon.

The Horned Frogs will have to pay a $5 million exit fee in order to nix their relocation to the Big East, but they won't be subject to the same 27-month waiting period that struck Syracuse and Pitt upon the announcement of their ACC jaunt. This is because TCU was never actually a Big East team. That's pretty sad.

For all intents and purposes, TCU to the Big 12 sounds like a done deal.

"These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU," [TCU chancellor Victor] Boschini said. "It will allow us to return to old rivalries, something our fans and others have been advocating for many years. As always, we must consider what's best for TCU and our student-athletes in this ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics. We look forward to continuing these discussions with the Big 12."

When the Horned Frogs make the move, the Big East will be left with just six football playing members -- Connecticut, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and West Virginia. If Missouri does leave the newly stable Big 12 for the SEC, the Big 12 may expand further to one or three teams to get back to an even dozen. BYU, Louisville, West Virginia and Cincinnati have been the rumored favorites to join TCU as a Big 12 expansion candidate.

Basically, all indications are that Big East football is on its death bed. You can bet that the remaining six Big East football programs will be looking to jump ship the first chance they get. For Boston College, this may mean we may be hooking up with Syracuse and Pittsburgh in the ACC much sooner than we had originally anticipated. Could it also mean that the ACC throws a life raft to Rutgers and Connecticut, making them ACC programs 15 and 16?

Other random thoughts: TCU is set to join its sixth different conference since 1995. Watch as ESPN pundits and talking heads applaud the Frogs move to the Big 12. Meanwhile, Boston College, a school that has made one conference switch ... in school history, was generally blasted for the move from the Big East to the ACC seven years ago. Of course.

Also, can't wait for Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick's statement condemning TCU's move to the Big 12 as a shameless Horned Frog money grab while he keeps his football program out of the conference.

Outline your Big East death knell / conference realignment end game predictions below.