Thursday, October 6, 2011

Amidst Conference Madness, TCU Leaves Big East Before Ever Being a Member

Conference shake ups continue to rock the collegiate football world, and at the center of the storm is the Big East. This time though the poached school isn't even an official member yet. TCU, a school who's president confirmed their commitment to the Big East on Sunday, has today withdrawn from the agreement with the conference to join in 2012 for a better shot at joining the likes of the Big 12. The Big 12 did in fact extend an invitation to the Horned Frogs which everyone assumed based on their rethinking their deal with the Big East. No one can fault the president and athletic director for this move even though it stinks for Big East fans, think about just the travel to a game against UConn on the east coast versus playing Baylor in your home state. While this is not in the least bit a surprise to anyone following these stories, it is indeed a bad sign for Big East football because TCU was coming into the conference easily one of the best teams. In a conference with a reputation for weakness and poor expectations, upgrading football competition is of the utmost importance and TCU provided that when few others could be found.

Now the problems grow for the Big East, with only six football members next year they lose the automatic qualification for the BCS because a conference must have eight members to be considered. Without immediate action by the conference committee, this conference will implode before next season even begins. Get teams now, they want in and they want the status of being a part of an AQ conference. There is no longer time to justify waiting for the right school, every team is the right team if it keeps the conference afloat. SMU is no longer a good fit without TCU and teams from the Big 12 are no longer viable options since that conference has solidified it's stance in a big way by grabbing the Horned Frogs, so UCF and the military academies are a must grab. Sooner rather than later is the best solution to help schools like UConn who are shopping their services around feel more secure. A unified vision for the Big East is the most important thing right now, I think that the Huskies lack of commitment may have been a deciding factor for TCU because they had no guarantee that the conference would even be there when they joined and instead of waiting around to see if the ACC took the last good schools they were proactive in jumping to the Big 12.

Again the football world changes, it's going to be interesting in the coming months as Missouri is exploring leaving the Big 12 for the Big 10 (a name that makes less and less sense) and if indeed that happens the Big 10 would look to the Big East and Notre Dame to fill the 14th slot in their league. This would leave the Big 12 with nine teams again which would undoubtedly result in their expansion by adding a SEC team ideally or a Mountain West or WAC school. If the SEC loses a team the most likely result would be the further expansion of that conference by adding the likes of the Big East's WVU. There are a number of things in the air right now and the Big East is at the center of the storm, every school that leaves the Big East needs to be replaced and replaced quickly to keep the remaining schools from jumping ship as well. Reportedly all the schools leaving the conference must pay a five million dollar exit fee, so use that fifteen million as a tool in the recruitment of quality schools and do it now

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