Several members of the TCU athletic department staff expressed trepidation over a potential move to The Big East.
The trepidation is that TCU has figured out how to be wildly successful in the MWC in every sport but men's basketball, and a shift to a new conference will mean another adjustment and transition period. One coach told me there are no guarantees that the level of success the school has attained in one league will translate to another.
As far as geographically speaking, people at TCU didn't express much feeling either way regarding long flights. For more than a decade, TCU teams have grown accustomed to the idea of flying to places such as Louisville, Hawaii, Fresno and Laramie for conference games.
There is a feeling given the way the MWC is getting ready for a large shakeup that should an invitation be extended by the Big East that TCU would have no choice to not only think long and hard about it, but likely accept.
When the MWC began moving, it had on its hands a football lineup likely on par with the Big East, at least. It looked like it had a conference good enough to qualify for AQ status with the BCS. It was a schedule that included TCU, Boise State, Utah, BYU and Air Force. But then BYU announced it was suddenly Notre Dame, and Utah left for the Pac 10's millions. Suddenly a conference that had three non-AQ BCS teams wasn't looking so dominant. Despite the recent additions of Fresno State and Nevada, losing Utah and BYU hurt.
TCU wants to be in an AQ league, and the Big East offers such a description. The Big East has eight football teams, and wants a ninth for scheduling. Villanova, which is a member of the Big East's loaded and deep basketball conference, has been mentioned as the additional team. Villanova's football team is currently one of the top programs in the FCS (I-AA) level.
But 'Nova could be a problem.
In men's and women's basketball, the Big East already has 16 teams. Adding TCU would be a wrench to that schedule. The conference would have to add another school as well to make the basketball side work.
And then there is the issue of continuity. If TCU leaves the Mountain, it would be the fifth conference the school has been affiliated with since 1995 - Southwest Conf., WAC, CUSA, MWC and then the Big East.
- Mac Engel
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