Big East Football: If TCU Joins, Who Could Follow?

Dani CaplanCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2010

Gary Patterson and TCU could bolster the Big East
Gary Patterson and TCU could bolster the Big EastJed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The Big East has had a bad year to say the least. 

The conference has just two wins to 10 losses against BCS opponents.  Those two wins have come by virtue of Maryland and Vanderbilt, who are not what I would call the best of competition.  Coming into Week 5, there were no ranked teams in the Big East.  The conference is in serious danger of losing its automatic BCS bid, which will be re-evaluated in 2012.

To shed some light on the debacle that is Big East Football 2010, there have been rumors regarding talks between conference representatives and TCU representatives about the possible addition of TCU.  This is the type of bold move that the Big East has to make to rejuvenate the underachieving conference.

TCU has become a mid-major powerhouse who is a consistent Top 25 inhabitant.  They have really come into their own over the past two years, going undefeated and busting the BCS in 2009 and staying undefeated at 6-0 and sitting pretty at No. 5 overall in 2010.  But with their disadvantage of being in the Mountain West Conference, the Horned Frogs Program may want a better gateway to the National Championship Game.

That's where the Big East comes in.  If TCU does in fact join the Big East, they could schedule a tough game or two out of conference to pad their tougher conference schedule.  If they were to run the table in a BCS conference, it would be much harder to say no to their national title hopes.  So, in essence, it is a win-win for both the Big East Conference and TCU Football.

If TCU does Enter the Big East, there could be an appeal to snag three more teams, to make a total of 12 teams, which would allow the establishment of a Big East Championship Game.  I do have three teams in mind for this possible expansion.

The first team to snag would be Notre Dame.  Aside from the fact that Notre Dame is rich in football history, this addition could be intriguing for multiple reasons.  Firstly, Notre Dame has played a few Big East opponents as of late, so the history is there.  Also, Brian Kelly is at the helm of the Irish as the head coach after fleeing Cincinnati before the undefeated Bearcats were played in their second straight BCS game.  How's that for an in-conference rivalry?

My second team on my Big East wish list is Temple.  I'm buying this emerging mid-major program with fiery Al Golden at Head Coach.   The Owls are proving to be a tough team, as they beat UConn and Army and gave Penn St. a scare early in the year.  If Temple joined the Big East, there might be a nice Rutgers-Temple interstate rivalry.  There is no down side to a Temple addition for the Big East.

My final school for my Big East expansion is University of Central Florida.  I know this may seem like a head-scratcher, but it shouldn't be.  This UCF program has been impressive in three of the past four years.  They have a BCS victory and beat then No. 13 Houston last year.  Also, UCF has one of the biggest student bodies in America, ranking in the top five in the category.  That could appeal to Sunshine state recruits.  Lastly, the in-state rivalry of South Florida-UCF could be fun.

The Big East is hanging on by a thread in terms of automatic BCS qualifications.  They need to make a bold move or two to bring back respect to the struggling conference.  A Big East Championship would spark interest in the eyes of  big time recruits, which could help the conference out in conference performance.

If the Big East adds TCU, then the conference should go after some more good programs such as aforementioned Notre Dame, Temple and UCF.  

So, what should the Big East do?  Should they expand? Should they remain the way they are?  Are Temple, Notre Dame or UCF the way to go (if not who is)?  You make the call.

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