Mountain West Conference: TCU's Next Move With BYU's Departure

John Boller@jboll0327Correspondent IAugust 20, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 04:  Head coach Gary Patterson of the TCU Horned Frogs looks on against the Boise State Broncos during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 4, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

BYU decided to become the latest team this to week shake up the college football landscape with their announcement that the university is going to leave the Mountain West Conference.

Even more of a shock is that the team is electing to go independent for football and join the WAC for all other sports. BYU is going trying to follow in the footsteps of Notre Dame and become another religious-affiliated university with an independent television contract.

The Mountain West Conference quickly responded to BYU’s move with one of their own, adding Fresno State and Nevada from the WAC.

It’s a two-for-one swap for the Mountain West Conference, however it is not necessarily a case of addition by subtraction by the MWC.

The MWC was going to have three solid football programs in their conference with TCU, Boise State, and BYU. With Utah’s departure to the PAC-10, the adding of Boise State still kept the MWC in excellent position to become the seventh conference to receive the automatic BCS qualifier.

With BYU—a major player in the MWC in terms of location and solid fan-base—and its possible departure, the MWC is a conference with just two real players and teams to fill out the conference.

It is still not for certain what BYU will do. They could come back to the MWC or go ahead and go independent. Heck, maybe they will follow their original MWC partner, Utah, and go to the PAC-10.

Regardless of what happens with BYU, TCU should begin to strongly consider their potential options. Why should TCU have to stay in the MWC, especially if it's just them and Boise State?

The Horned Frogs have become a consistent top 25 team. On top of that, they are about to have $105 million worth of renovations to their stadium.

This is TCU’s time. They need to hurry before the door closes on them and they are left out like they have been in the past. With Utah and BYU gone, the MWC is theirs to take over. They have all the power and because of their recent success and contributions to the conference, they possess the backbone to demand that the MWC acts boldly and gets them a conference that is worth a damn.

Or, TCU has to take strong consideration on if they want to stay in the MWC. Who knows, Boise State may not end up coming over now that BYU is jumping ship. TCU might want to consider jumping ship.

The most obvious choices would seem to be the Big-12 or SEC. But, the Big-12 has passed on TCU in the past and while the SEC would see adding TCU as a way to get more of a grasp on the Texas market, the Horned Frogs may not be the team that the SEC wants.

BYU’s departure has caused many ripples and it is still to be determined what direction they will go.