College Football: TCU To Big East Is First of the Dominoes to Be Set In Motion

Jayson LoveCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2010

DALLAS - NOVEMBER 29:  John Marinatto, Big East Conference Commissioner, talks with the media after Texas Christian University 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

News came out early this week that Texas Christian University was headed for the Big East for all inter-collegiate sports, starting in 2012.

For TCU and the Big East, the move is about football.  The Horned Frogs currently sit No. 3 in the BCS, on the outside looking in at a national championship shot despite their undefeated record.

They need a last-week of the season loss by either Oregon or Auburn to get their shot at a national championship game this season.

The automatic BCS qualification status of the conference is teetering, but will give a team like TCU wiggle room when it comes to qualifying for BCS bowls, and some leverage when it comes to challenging for a National Championship.

For the Big East, adding TCU is a no-brainer.  The conference remains a force in basketball, with their gargantuan conference of what will be 17 teams with TCU, and will continue to be a force for the foreseeable future.

However, I believe the move for TCU is the first in a line of many moves.  For once, the conference is being pro-active.

In 2004, the Big East added USF, Cincinnati and Louisville as football and basketball members mostly to re-invigorate football as perennial winners Miami and Virgina Tech bolted the conference along with solid football program, Boston College, for the ACC.

Within that reactionary move, the conference added DePaul and Marquette as basketball only schools to help solidify the conference's status in the basketball world.

While TCU's basketball program is not anything to write home about, it isn't an embarrassment either and should settle into the Big East as a middle of the road program.

The move for TCU is a pro-active move as the rumblings of conference defections are starting to percolate again.

Last summer, it was Rutgers, UConn, Pitt and Syracuse rumored to the Big 10, and even more damaging, WVU was rumored to the ACC.

Those rumors, especially WVU to the ACC, are starting to gain steam again.

For the Big East to remain a factor in football, moves like TCU can't be solitary.  The Big East needs to act in this fashion before the defections occur.

Upstart football programs like UCF and Houston might be a good fit for the Big East to solidify football.

However, as more teams are added, the basketball conference grows and grows. 

So, the Big East should seek to add members to football that are already playing basketball in the conference.

Villanova comes to mind.  Obviously, Notre Dame is a pipe dream.

However, does adding Nova, should they decide to make the jump to FBS, really bolster the conference's football status?

That's why catching TCU is such a big deal.  They are a great team on the upswing, not a middle of the pack team like Villanova would have the chance to be.

Central Florida and Houston aren't great teams yet, but they are also on the upswing much like Louisville and USF were upon their entry to the Big East.

Should they be admitted, and the basketball league jumps to 19 teams, a split is possible.  Then again, defections are possible as well.

The Big East, a conference that is currently mired in the worst football season in its history with only one ranked team (WVU), is at a crossroads again.  At least this time, the powers that be in the conference are realizing they must be pro-active to save their football status.