So much for that TCU vs. Boise State rivalry in the Mountain West. Fanhouse and New York Daily News are both reporting the TCU Horned Frogs have accepted an invitation to join the Big East as a full-league member this morning. As of 10:30 a.m. EST no official word has been made by either TCU or the Big East. As reported, the move would begin in the 2012 football season, meaning the 2011 season will be TCU’s final season in the Mountain West.
TCU will become the ninth football member of the Big East but the conference previously made it known it had its eyes set on expanding to ten teams. The addition of TCU gives the league 17 basketball programs and if Villanova jumps up to play football in the conference that number will remain unless the league removes a school. A 17-team basketball conference, from what some people have suggested to me, would not be a concern for the conference though.
This news could not have come at a better time for either side. The Big East is facing criticism for their struggles as a conference and the possibility that an unranked team could represent the conference in the BCS line-up. Connecticut controls their fate to represent the Big East in the BCS and will do so with a win at South Florida this weekend. West Virginia is the only Big East team ranked in the top 25 and needs UConn to lose in order to have a chance at the BCS.
TCU just completed a 12-0 regular season but may be on the outside looking in on the BCS championship game for a second straight season. A move to a conference that currently has an automatic BCS tie-in is a welcome move by the Horned Frogs. The school also is underway with stadium renovations that will make TCU the home of one of the top stadiums in the Big East once completed.
TCU plays in the fifth top television market in the country too, adding to the Big East’s impressive television potential. The Big East already has a footprint in the nation’s top TV market (New York) and the fourth best market (Philadelphia) to an extent.