The SEC tried to get into the state of Texas with their recent courtship of Texas A&M.
Only some last minute machinations by the Longhorns, which included promises of fidelity and wheelbarrows full of money, kept the Aggies from straying.
The SEC, however, has another option to get into that big, fat, lucrative Texas media and recruiting market.
The Horned Frogs of TCU.
TCU is located in Fort Worth, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The metroplex is a top five market in terms of both population and TV eyeballs. It is also one of the top recruiting areas in the nation, annually producing a bumper crop of D-1 athletes.
Entering the Texas market via TCU would also, obviously, open up the rest of the state to the SEC in terms of both media and recruiting.
The arguments against such a move are refutable.
Argument No. 1 is that the Frogs would simply not be able to compete in the SEC.
We are talking a team that is coming into the season ranked sixth. A team that ended the last two seasons in the top ten. A team that has been to a bowl ten out of the last eleven years.
A team that has produced NFL players in the same numbers as the SEC average. TCU has talent. A great coach and staff. Great facilities. And a great player pipeline.
So I don’t buy the argument that they could not compete.
Sure, they are a private school. They have, however, committed the resources needed to win (in all sports, not just football). Other private schools have continued to compete quite well in BCS leagues.
USC, BC, Northwestern, Duke, Wake Forrest, Vanderbilt, Stanford, Syracuse, Miami and Notre Dame are all private universities competing in BCS conferences (or as the uber independent, in the case of the Irish).
Some have done well, some not (hey, everyone can’t be a winner… it’s statistically impossible).
Overall, however, the private universities playing in BCS conferences have outperformed their expectations; i.e. they a have a higher winning percentage and also over weighted appearance in bowl games versus their numbers than the non privates.
Arguing that you have to be a major land grant to survive is thus refuted by the empirical evidence.
Argument No. 2 is that the Horned Frogs don’t bring enough money to the table in terms of fan and media support.
TCU’s support has, however, increased dramatically over the past five years. And, rest assured, if they were playing SEC schools, they would have no trouble selling out Anon Carter.
Being situated in the middle of a major media market does not exactly hurt either.
The Frogs are also a great geographical match for the SEC West.
Arkansas is a former SWC foe. LSU is in neighboring Louisiana, and both of the Mississippi schools are within driving distance for a weekend trip.
Adding the Frogs would thus bring in additional revenue via the golden goose of television, by bringing the SEC teams right into the middle of one of the most football nutty states in the nation.
Grabbing TCU makes a lot of sense for the SEC. It expands their footprint… no objections from existent members like in the Big 12.
It opens a new market. Once again, no objections from schools like Texas, A&M and Baylor who claim they already “own” the DFW media market.
It adds quality.
The team is now going on its third year in the top 10. They produce NFL players within the norms of the SEC and other power conferences. They have a great coach. They have arrived.
If the SEC is smart, they’ll grab the Frogs. Raid the SEC for another program (privately held Miami might be nice). And become a fourteen team league.
West Division: LSU, Arkansas, TCU, Mississippi, Mississippi, Alabama and Auburn.
East Division: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Miami.
And best of all for the SEC and its fans.
It would open up Texas and completely diss the Big 12 and their orange-clad leadership.