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08/01/2013

Why TCU needs to thank the SEC & the Aggies every single day

American-Athletic-Conference-LogoFORT WORTH, Texas - An even bigger dividing line in college athletics is coming, and regardless of what the commissioner of the American Athletic Conference says both he and his membership schools can only pray they aren't on the wrong side of this line when it is drawn.

According to this interview with Dennis Dodd of CBSSportsline.com, American Athletic Conference boss Mike Aresco thinks they will be invited to join the latest version of the Big Time Country Club when the split happens.

TCU was this close to being on the wrong side that now looks like it will include cross-town rival SMU, which has doggedly tried to avoid this from happening.

Aresco better have a few senators, and a giant pile of cash, to ensure his membership schools - Cincinnati, UConn, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, South Florida, SMU, Temple and Central Florida - are invited.

The AAC has already been picked clean - Louisville and Rutgers are leaving; Cincy and UConn are leaders of a conference neither wants to be in. Perhaps UConn can raise the late Texas governor Ann Richards' spirit to Baylor its way on the right side of the line.

The power conference commissioners at their respective football media days all individually referenced the need for a major NCAA shakeup; that's not a coincidence. It is mostly anchored around the TV contracts the Pac 12, SEC, Big 12, ACC and Big 10 currently enjoy. There are roughly 120 Division I football programs, but only 63 command big money (this figure includes Notre Dame).

Dm_120215_ncf_tcu_players_arrestedAs desperate as all of these new 24-hour sports channels - FoxSports 1, NBC Sports Channel, CBS Sports Network - are none needs to pay massive figures for the likes of the Mountain West, or AAC. The lower conferences need the exposure, so they take what they can get and play whenever is asked for TV.

When TCU director of athletics Chris Del Conte and I talked about a conceptual new class of Division I athletics, we both shook our heads at how many variables had to break right for TCU to be in this secure spot. As much of an inconceivable dream as it was for TCU to play, let alone win, the actual Rose Bowl was when the Southwest Conference collapsed, the far greater challenge was not to be left behind when the "big split" happened.

TCU people had been fearing this sort of split since 1996.

Tamu-ken-yell-leaderYet they are secure for a variety reasons, mostly their own determination and success, but had Texas A&M not jumped for the SEC there is an excellent chance TCU would be in the American Athletic Conference (the old Big East) today with SMU as a conference rival.

When Del Conte was hired he was asked two questions: Can he raise money for a "new" football stadum, and can he get TCU into a BCS conference?

After securing a spot in the Big East, he was there. And then the Big East began to fall apart not long thereafter and he was in a professional state of "OMG! OMG! OMG! :-( :-( :-("

"Then Texas A&M went to the SEC and a spot opened," Del Conte said. "Had that not happened, and Texas not decided to stay in the Big 12 I'm not sure where we'd be."

Go with screwed. That spot in the Big 12 was big when TCU accepted it, and it will only grow when this new class of Division I is formed.

While other universities have spent similar millions and millions to improve athletic departments in an effort to make the school more attractive for donors and student applications, TCU may be the nation's greatest example that the plan works.

To follow the paradigm is wise, to expect similar results is dicey. TCU did everything right, and it needed a help from an Aggie to complete this amazing narrative.

Not all schools are as fortunate. Just ask SMU.

@MacEngelProf

tengel@star-telegram.com

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Comments

Guns UP

For the 44,396th time, Ann Richards had NOTHING to do with BU getting into the Big 12.

BU had the 3-4th best FB AND overall athletic program in the SWC at the time. That is how BU got in.

TCU, at the time, was horrible in EVERYTHING.

Scott

To make it even more dicey they also needed help from a bad kick from the Boise State Kicker. Boise State was ranked ahead of TCU and slated to go to the Rose Bowl, until they lost to Nevada by a bad kick. The rest is history, now Boise State is on one side of the fence and TCU on the other. Frog fans should be forever grateful for that kicker.

Beezlebob

I hate to say it, but I have to agree with Guns UP (I only really hate it because it's a Tech fan). TCU was a terrible team in the 80's. It likely had more to do with TCU being left out.

I also have to agree with Scott. It was the kick heard around the TCU nation.

PB

Guns Up, you can say Ann Richards had nothing to do with BU getting into Big12 all you want, that still does not make it true. You must be young and get your info spoonfed to ya.

Golfdog

had a great time talking with a few Nevada alums at an airport bar 2 years ago, they knew as well as anyone from Boise to Ft Worth how thankful Frog fans are that all the pieces fell into to place for TCU. But only TCU could have beat Wisconsin in such a dramatic fashion that beautiful January day.

And for the 44,396th time, Baylor sucked just as much as TCU at the time of the SWC breakup, and Richards absolutely stuck her fat nose into the decision-making process. But we are thankful that we've re-done the entire campus/stadium/personel, and now we are sittin' pretty!

Richard

If yahoo is to be believed, lieutenant governor Bob Bullock got Baylor in...

http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/news?slug=ycn-8727503

Richard

It wasn't Ann Richards, but Bob Bullock, lieutenant governor. Same difference.

http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/news?slug=ycn-8727503

The Reality

I'm going to disagree here TCU earned its way into a major conference and the timing was just right, like every team's story before and after TCU. After SWC split TCU did not pout and stand put, no it worked to get a name outside of the UT umbrella and now has a image that can stand alone which when the timing came right allowed TCU to be apart of the major conferences. If it wasn't Big 12 I believe it would of happened eventually, but even not the fact remains TCU doesn't owe anybody but to itself for thinking forward, working hard, and earning a spot (with a little bit of luck that the pieces fell in place at the right time). It still not promised the future holds inclusion but if TCU continues to play like it has at a top level it will continue to earn the right to be apart of the "big boys".

James

TCU failed to win a home game in year #1 in the Big 12.....some things never change.

BadMixer

TCU was ranked ahead of Boise before the Nevada game. It is wrong to assume they would have jumped ahead of TCU if they had won the game. Fortunately, Boise couldn't stop the run that night and proved that they did not belong in BCS that year. TCU proved all doubters wrong with the Rose Bowl win against a great Wisconsin team.

FrogFan

Poor Baylor was born with a silver spoon in its mouth

James

TCU fans keep talking about winning the Rose Bowl...wake up...you did not win a conference home game last year...even without your qb you should be good enough to win one Big 12 game at home...nice home field advanrage !!

Kevin

Scott/Beezlebub,
You forgot the bogus interference call that set up Boise State's field goal attempt. Justice prevailed when the kick was missed.

Beezlebob

James, you, like many haters, ignore the fact that TCU had some circumstances that it had to overcome. Yes, the season didn't go the way fans really wanted it to, but it went better than most thought it would. Things have changed a lot, you dunce.

James

Beez, yes TCU had "some things to over come" and that is life in a major conference (unlike WAC, MWC, or Conference USA).

Carl

TCU did go 4-1 on the road in the Big 12.

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