TCU's Horned Frogs Have a Rosy Future in the Big East

Pete MisthaufenAnalyst INovember 29, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - NOVEMBER 27: Jake Kirkpatrick #76 and Andy Dalton #14 of the TCU Horned Frogs celebrate the win against the University of New Mexico Lobos on November 27, 2010 at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. TCU won 66-17. (Photo by Eric Draper/Getty Images)
Eric Draper/Getty Images

Seems like everything is going TCU's way these days.

TCU just finished another undefeated season and sits with an invitation to a BCS bowl in hand, with a shot at the BCS title game if one of the top teams lose, just like last season.

The Frogs will be joining the Big East conference for the 2012 season, finally getting the automatic qualifying (AQ) status TCU has been searching since getting dumped by Texas in the mid-90s.

And even if neither Oregon nor Auburn lose, TCU will be heading to the Granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl, for a match-up with Big Ten champion Wisconsin.

Just six seasons ago, TCU jumped to the Mountain West Conference (MWC) from Conference USA following the Big East's poaching of Cincinnati, Louisville, and South Florida.

At the time, many thought it was a lateral move, at best.  Instead, TCU and the MWC have climbed to the top level of college football.

TCU has won three conference championships in six seasons.  Only once have the Frogs finished with fewer than 10 wins, a 8-5 season in 2006.

TCU coach Gary Patterson has his fifth No. 1 defense at TCU.  No team has ever had more than four since records were kept in the 1930s.

The conference appeared to be on the verge of AQ status for the 2012 season.

But with Utah heading to the Pac-12 and BYU going independent, this was not the MWC that TCU signed up for.  Sure, Boise's addition made up for the loss of Utah, but nothing could make up for the loss of BYU.

In the Big East, TCU will no longer play games with strength of schedule killers such as New Mexico, Colorado State, and UNLV.

TCU will also no longer have to worry about playing before a few thousand fans in near empty stadiums.

And with a berth at the Rose Bowl all but assured, TCU is in Frog Heaven.

TCU has played in every major bowl except the Rose Bowl.  In 1938, No. 1 TCU met No. 1 SMU with a berth in the Rose Bowl at stake, with SMU winning a thriller in Fort Worth.  TCU had to settle for the Cotton Bowl and a national title.

TCU now gets a chance to erase that big gap in the resume.  And while TCU would love having a shot at a third national title (and deserves the chance as well), taking on the hard-running Badgers will be reward enough.

It is going be to be a very rosy future for TCU football, indeed.