So the Big 12 has raided the Big East for a school that never played a game in the Big East. By a school that told the Big East it was staying put just four days ago.
If that doesn’t summarize conference-realignment, nothing does. What a lovely business, big-time college sports.
Texas Christian University is headed to the Big 12. Which is nice for that league, especially if it loses Missouri. And all Missouri needs to leave is an invitation from the Southeastern Conference. A league called the Big 12 shouldn’t have eight teams. Why, then you’d be more-tempted to call it … the Big 8?
Is TCU a good catch for the Big 12? Well, it’s certainly a prominent football program. The Horned Frogs were 11-2 or better in five of the previous six seasons, and went 13-0 with a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin last season. The Frogs have eight 10-win seasons since 2000. That’s pretty darn legit no matter what conference you’ve been ruling. Of course, it’s fair to ask what kind of records TCU would post playing Big 12 schedules every year. Not 11-2, I’ll tell you that.
OK, last year’s Frogs might have.
Every year, Gary Patterson’s name gets tossed about for other coaching jobs, but he has been TCU’s guy for a decade. Going to the Big 12 would seem to be all the reason Patterson would need to continue working at the Fort Worth school unless an Alabama or Ohio State came calling.
This is kind of funny: TCU is bragging up the renovations of its 80-year-old football stadium that will be ready in time for the 2012 Big East season.
Says that item: Capacity for the completed Amon G. Carter Stadium will be 43,000 with expansion opportunities that could allow for 50,000 or more in the future.
OK. It’s not like the Big 12 is already packed with Big Ten-sized stadiums. It’s more important to have a) a program with a solid football reputation and b) a market like Dallas-Fort Worth, even though TCU football is No. 10 in the fall there at best, with the Dallas Cowboys 1 through 8, and the University of Texas No. 9. When the Longhorns are good, the Cowboys may only be 1 through 6 or 7.
TCU has an average attendance of 34,059 through three games this year. Those stadium renovations are three-fourths complete now, and are causing attendance to be scrunched down. With its stadium 100 percent useable last season, the Frogs averaged 42,466.
In men’s basketball, TCU brings nothing to the Big 12′s table but a designated victim. The Frogs were 1-15 in the Mountain West Conference last season, 11-22 overall. Daniel-Meyer Arena has 7,156 fixed seats. The program’s record-high crowd is 7,267, for Kansas in 2003.
The Big 12 has to add a team or teams, and TCU is one of the best options it had. But this isn’t Nebraska going to the Big Ten, Texas A&M going to the SEC, or even Colorado and Utah going to the Pac-12.
At least the location is desirable to the Big 12. It isn’t Provo, Utah.