TCU in the Big East and Other Geographic Misnomers in Sports

Andrew McKillopContributor IINovember 30, 2010

DALLAS - NOVEMBER 29:  Texas Christian University Athletics Director Chris Del Conte talks with the media after TCU accepted an invitation for full membership into The Big East Conference on November 29, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas.  TCU will leave the Mountain West Conference for The Big East in July 2012.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

In sports, geography is often used to organize teams into conferences and divisions. So when TCU joined the Big East Conference this week, it raised a few eyebrows.   Geographically a team from Texas doesn’t belong in a conference that labels itself the Big East. 

However the world of sports is filled with geographic misnomers, so what’s one more?

Even before admitting TCU, the Big East was a geographic misnomer. It’s a bit of a stretch to say DePaul, Marquette and Notre Dame are Eastern schools.

What about the Pac-12, as it will be called next college football season?  The states of Arizona, Colorado and Utah don’t even touch the Pacific coast, yet a third of the conference’s teams will originate from those states.

Before the NFL realigned divisions in 2002, the division names didn’t even come close to representing team locations.  The Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints were in the NFC West, while the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys were in the NFC East, in the more extreme examples of geographic misnomers in the NFL. 

There are even geographic misnomers in team names.  The New York Giants and New York Jets don’t even play in the city or state of New York. They do play in the New York metropolitan area however.

From 1974-1994 the Cleveland Cavaliers played in Richfield Township, Ohio, a location that isn’t even considered a part of the Cleveland metropolitan area. 

In the end it doesn’t matter that TCU isn’t from the East coast.  They will fit into the Big East, if they can form rivalries and pick up victories.  

The Dallas Cowboys are in the NFC East, but they have found a way to fit in, building some of their greatest rivalries against teams over a thousand miles away.  Don’t let the name of the conference throw you off, TCU can be become as “Big East” as any of the other schools in the conference.