TCU will be offered—and is ready to accept—entrance into the Big 12 Conference according to a statement released today by none other than Texas Athletic Director Deloss Dodds, and he's a pretty good source.
"We're proud that TCU has been invited to join the Big 12," Dodds said. "Their commitment to academics and success on the field make them an excellent fit. With a solid budget and strong financial support, they have been proactive at improving facilities. Their close proximity to all conference institutions makes for a comfortable travel situation."
An old rival returns to the fold with a strong following and a cool mascot (Horny Frogs!) wearing an awesome color (deep purple) in a great city (Fort Worth rocks).
A lot has changed since then.
The Big East lost a couple of their premier football schools in Syracuse and Pittsburgh (both of whom are now going to the Atlantic Coast Conference), and that makes the Big East a lot less appetizing to football powerhouse TCU. Not to mention, the Big 12 is also a whole lot closer—meaning lower travel costs and higher fan engagement.
"These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU," Chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. told the Houston Chronicle. "It will allow us to return to old rivalries, something our fans and others have been advocating for 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."
The Frogs have a long relationship with Texas specifically. TCU was an original member of the old Southwest Conference with Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor. The SWC lasted 82 years, breaking up in 1994, with half the league joining the old Big 8 conference and forming the Big 12. At the time, TCU—not a football powerhouse—was left out in the cold.
Many observers did not believe TCU would be on the Big 12 radar now, mainly because they reside in Texas, a state the Big 12 felt it had pretty well covered. That said, they have a high quality football team, extraordinary academic standards and would be able to give the Big 12 access to a top 10 television market in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Then Texas A&M hit the road, heading east to the Southeast Conference and Missouri started making noise about going too. The Big 12 needed to do something. They needed a big splash. TCU provides that.
As if it were important, TCU adds more than just football to the Big 12. Their baseball team makes regular appearances in the NCAA tournament and they field a full contingent of men's and women's athletic teams.
The football team is struggling this season with two losses already. This comes after an undefeated 2010 season and a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin on New Year's Day. The team lost their senior leadership and really misses quarterback Andy Dalton who now tosses the football to Longhorn-ex Jordan Shipley with the Cincinnati Bengals. But they have a great coach in Gary Patterson, and a great, newly expanded football stadium, and a crazy loud fan base. They will be back.
The Horned Frogs make sense for the Big 12—an old rival returns to the fold with a strong following and a cool mascot (Horny Frogs!) wearing an awesome color (deep purple) in a great city (Fort Worth rocks). This could be fun.