Just a few days ago, TCU announced they will be leaving the Mountain West Conference for the greener BCS pastures of the Big East. I will be the first to admit my disdain for the Big East and their automatic BCS bid, but I also think this was the best landing spot for the Horned Frogs. I would even say it was the best move made by any of the three teams leaving the MWC.
When it comes right down to it, we know this was all about the money. Going to a BCS conference means BCS money and a BCS television contract. While it’s true that Utah will jump on a similar gravy train in the Pac-12, TCU will only have to split their money between nine other schools, as opposed to the 11 schools Utah will have to share with. BYU will get its own contract with ESPN, but it won’t come close to what TCU will be hauling in every year.
TCU is also going to a significantly weaker conference. Some might say this will put them at a disadvantage, but I beg to differ. If Gary Patterson continues his winning ways, the Horned Frogs should compete for a conference championship every year — and that means going to a BCS game. I could see how the soft schedule would work against them if, for example, Utah and TCU were both to go undefeated in their respective BCS conferences. I could see Utah getting the nod for the national championship game and TCU being shut out. In fact, we saw this happen last year when an undefeated Cincinnati team was shut out from playing in the title game.
To be completely honest, I don’t see Utah going into the Pac-12 and winning a conference championship in their first five years. By that time, TCU could win three or four. They are that good of a football program and they will play in a very winnable conference.
Another huge factor I think people are missing out on is the presence of East Coast bias. People in New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania will now be seeing TCU on a regular basis at a viewer-friendly hour. The Pac-10 still struggles to earn the respect of the media back east, because they simply don’t see any of their games. TCU should have no problem getting all kinds of attention in their new position.
While TCU will enjoy a soft football schedule, tons of money and a lot more attention, they will also have to endure lengthy road trips and watch their basketball team get mauled every year in conference play. TCU does have a phenomenal baseball program that will see some better competition, but they will struggle in the rest of the Olympic sports. But like I said, in the end it’s all about the money — and TCU will be making bank.
It’s interesting to think that TCU got the best deal out of the three teams leaving because they made their decision a little later in the game. I guess there’s some truth in that whole “patience is a virtue” thing.
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