Conference Realignment: Big East Allegedly Will Extend Invite To TCU

Keenan WomackContributor IIINovember 4, 2010

LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 30:  Texas Christian University Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson looks on as his team takes on the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium October 30, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. TCU won 48-6.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

TCU has risen, over the last few years, out of the pit of mediocrity that they wallowed in for so long. With two Top-10 finishes in a row, the Horned Frogs have been a consistent force in their conference, second to only Utah and BYU in Mountain West Conference championships.

In the midst of major conference realignment in college football, the Big East Conference has made it known that it is interested in extending TCU an offer to join the conference, a move which would both give TCU more legitimacy as a national program and the Big East Conference more legitimacy as a BCS conference.

But what are the logistics of the move by the former Mountain West school?

The first problem that comes to mind would be location. TCU is located in Fort Worth, Texas, 969 miles from the closest Big East school. Big East schools play three to four conference road games per year, meaning that TCU would have to fly their entire football team anywhere from 969 miles to Cincinnati to 1,545 miles to Syracuse, three or four times every season.

The travel expenses alone could be enough to derail the entire thing. However, the Big East does have one very powerful asset: its TV deal.

The Big East has a TV deal with ESPN that gives each football team an average of $3.67 million per season. However, this figure averages in the money made from the Big East's eight-year, $138 million hoops deal with ESPN.

Inviting the Horned Frogs to the Big East for football doesn't necessarily mean that the Frogs will compete in basketball also, meaning they will get less than the nearly $4 million made by other Big East schools competing in both sports.

Still, the revenue that TCU will make in the Big East is far greater than the revenue that TCU will make in the Mountain West. So, essentially, the decision goes to TCU: stay put and remain in a conference, which loses BYU and Utah but gains Boise State, or abandon ship and pay ridiculous travel fees but gain revenue from ESPN and the Big East's TV contract.

If I were TCU's athletic director, I would jump at the opportunity to join. While other, bigger conferences may also be looking to invite the university, the Big East is already a BCS conference, meaning America will have no excuse not to place the Horned Frogs in the national championship if they have an undefeated season.