posted on: Thursday December 2, 2010
Maybe it was the fact that Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee said he believed TCU was not worthy to play for a BCS championship. Perhaps it’s a real chance to make other sports more competitive by riding the football team’s success into a big-time conference. No matter the reasons, TCU has decided to give in to the BCS system and become a legitimate big-conference school.
Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, TCU will start competing in the Big East Conference in all sports. The Horned Frogs have become nationally known for their recent success on the gridiron out of the Mountain West Conference. They currently sit as the third-ranked team in the nation in the BCS standings. TCU is currently undefeated, but could easily be on the outside looking in at a BCS Title Game in January. The main reasons for this are that they play in a non-BCS conference, and they have a schedule that does not compare to the teams ranked both ahead of and behind them in the BCS standings. TCU hopes to remedy these issues by joining one of the best college conferences in the nation.
TCU will become the ninth football team in the Big East. Villanova, who is currently making the transition from FCS to FBS, has been invited to become the 10th football school in the conference. Since the football side of things appears to be all set with 10 teams, the new question is what will be done in terms of basketball.
TCU will become the 19th team in the competitive Big East basketball conference. If the Big East could lure one more team into the conference strictly for basketball, that would make an even 20 and would allow for East and West divisions. There have not been divisions in Big East basketball since 2003-04, when there were 16 teams in the conference.
Several names have already started entering the conversation: Memphis, UCF, Kansas, Kansas State, and Houston. The only issue with these schools is that they all have established football programs that would want to move into the Big East alongside their school’s basketball program.
I do not see Kansas or Kansas State only bringing their basketball programs to the Big East because they are currently in the Big 12 for all sports and would not benefit in the move. UCF would probably jump at a football spot more than a basketball spot. Houston would probably want to come in for both basketball and football.
The Big East will not remove their invitation to Villanova because it is already in the conference and has the monetary means to build a competitive Big East football team. Villanova is on a path similar to the UConn football team and could easily become a powerhouse team competing for Big East BCS-berths.
I think Memphis makes the most sense for the Big East. The football team has had some success, but would benefit more by building in Conference-USA. However, the basketball team would benefit greatly in the Big East. This is a team that has a young coach capable of recruiting some of the best talent in the nation and fielding a team capable of winning in arguably the best college basketball conference in America.
For a team like Providence, Memphis would pose a serious threat. Memphis has the talent and the recruiting connections to immediately contend in the top half of the Big East. However, if one is looking at the overall strength of the conference, Memphis would be a great fit and would bring more national attention for games on ESPN and CBS. It would also bring in more revenue to the conference, which is a good thing for the Friars.
There is also the other possibility: The Big East asks one of its teams to leave to make room for TCU. This would also mean there would be no need to recruit another college. Seton Hall has already been asked to reevaluate their status in the conference.
Some are afraid that Providence could be one of the teams in that conversation. It is a long shot that the Big East asks Providence, an original member since the conference’s inception back in 1979, to leave.
The best scenario is for Keno Davis to take this program back to the NCAA tournament before the 2012-2013 season begins. This would end any speculation about the Friars’ future in the Big East. That, or Providence becomes an advocate for adding another contender to the impressive list of Big East basketball teams.