Conference Realignment: What Does TCU to Big 12 Mean for Big East?

Aaron McKinneyCorrespondent IIIOctober 6, 2011

As much as the college football world would like realignment to settle down and go away, it won't, and after TCU's invitation to the Big XII today, along with Missouri's indecision, super conferences may very well be unavoidable. 

TCU shifting from joining the Big East to joining the Big XII effectively kills the Big East as a BCS football conference. Now, the snatch and grab begins. Also, let me just say that, if the Big XII thinks it's safe, it's very wrong.

Here we go. WVU has two options. Either push for an invite from the SEC or try to jump to the Big XII. Geographically, they fit with the Big Ten, but it was a stretch for Nebraska to get in so there's no way West Virginia's academics fit. If WVU is smart, they go all-out for the SEC, because I still think the demise of the Big XII is imminent. 

Next is UConn, who are already pushing for an ACC invite. They're as good as gone. As much as they want to join the ACC, the Big Ten could make a move here. UConn could be one of three teams the Big Ten "could" have some interest in. Lets face it, the only college available that could increase the football profile of the Big Ten is Notre Dame, but we'll get to them later. UConn could add to the ACC basketball extravaganza OR they could be the flagship for the Big Ten. If I'm UConn the Big Ten would be much more intriguing. 

Then we have Rutgers. They've been mentioned as a possible addition to the Big Ten and the ACC. The ACC currently has two slots to fill. I think the ACC would rather grab Louisville and UConn, as the Huskies and Syracuse would get them close enough to the NYC market that they wouldn't need Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are probably hoping to get a call from Jim Delaney. They've been an on-and-off football program for the past 10 years, but this really gets the Big Ten Network viewers in the Big Apple. 




The last team I think gets a call is Louisville. This one is a tough call. The possibilities are the Big Ten, the  ACC, and the SEC. They're a slightly better geographical fit for the SEC, but they have the basketball profile for the ACC. I don't think the Big Ten has any interest. It would probably behoove the SEC to grab them as a conference that doesn't particularly have a great basketball program outside of Florida and Kentucky. Plus, that puts the rivalry of UK and Louisville in an even bigger spotlight. 

The one team that really loses out here is Cincinnati, unless they're lucky enough to catch enough attention from the volatile Big XII. The Bearcats have a very good basketball program, but they also have an FBS football team. This is really the only school in the Big East that needed the conference to succeed. I have a feeling their basketball team really suffers here because the football team needs a landing spot. Something tells me them and South Florida up in Conference USA. 

That leaves us with Notre Dame. At this point, even if the Irish decide they'd like to play football in the Big East, they still won't have enough teams. I just don't think they can lure teams from solid BCS conferences, i.e. the ACC, Big Ten, SEC and PAC-12 who are so far away they don't even factor in. Notre Dame really only has one option, join the Big Ten. That gives the Big Ten the biggest fish of all. Concessions would have to be made on both sides, but both sides would be very hard pressed to avoid each other. 

So, we still have a Big East, but every school that has an FBS level football team would jump to a BCS super conference. It just becomes a basketball conference. None of the remaining schools will suffer because they don't place a high value on football. 

Let's also not forget that Missouri is still unhappy, Texas still has its Longhorn Network and Oklahoma made the demand that Texas get rid of or share that network. That conference, even with TCU, is still on the verge of total collapse and the "supers", the PAC-12 in particular, are standing by ready to consume the worthwhile schools from the carnage. But as for the matter at hand: so long, Big East.