Monday, September 19, 2011

Here we go again...

I guess word first started to get out via twitter, but I heard through a text about mid-morning on Saturday that Pitt and Syracuse were all but officially gone from the Big East to the ACC. Turns out, I suppose, that the ACC's bird in hand (their new TV contract with ESPN) was worth more than the Big East's two in the bush (their anticipated new TV contract that was believed to be even bigger than the ACC's). Hard to blame those two schools for doing what they felt was the right thing to do for their own interests. But it definitely sucks to see TCU, once again, move to a new conference only to see it evaporate before their eyes.

Below, I am going to take a look at a few different scenarios for the Frogs. But before I do, I just want to say this. TCU is still an up & coming athletic department with a solid football program and sterling new facilities being built at a rapid pace. It's located in one of the biggest media markets in the country and in prime recruiting country. We're going to be fine. I'll admit that our prospects aren't as bright as everyone's- but they are a lot brighter than many others'.

I'd like to take a look at a few possible scenarios for TCU, but first I think it's necessary to eliminate some of the fantasy dreamworld stuff that clouds the brains of 97% of college football fans in this country. I'm generally an optimistic thinker, and even though I've definitely had some overly-hopeful brainstorming sessions in which I rationalize the Frogs somehow ending up in the Pac "16", the SEC or the ACC, I'm not going to waste your or my time walking you through them.

Here are a few scenarios that I think are within the realm of possibility:

TCU to the Big 12

Why it might happen: Texas, the 800lb gorilla and unofficial president of the Big 12, has at least publicly said that they want the Big 12 to survive. If they can convince Oklahoma, Missouri et al to stay with them, the remaining nine will look to add one (to get back to ten) or three (to get back to twelve and accurate naming) to stabilize. In the past, the league has stated they'd like to look to new markets for expansion, but in their current and vulnerable state they might be willing to add another Texas team. One rumor has TCU, BYU and Louisville joining the league, while Houston has also been mentioned. A week ago many among the TCU faithful might've had a mind to tell UT & friends to go eff themselves, but that has obviously changed.

Why it won't: Admit it, you're waiting for the news at any minute that the Big 12 is officially dead. When everyone is looking for a way out, it's probably over. Even if they do somehow survive all of this, the Big 12 extending an invite to TCU isn't a given.

My verdict: This is one worth keeping an eye on, because I have a feeling that the whole Pac 16 thing may not happen without Texas. But the chances of it happening are pretty low.

The Big East backfills

Why it might happen: This league has done it before. When they lost Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College in 2005, they went out and plucked Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida from Conference USA. Despite it's weakened status after the latest departures, it does still have an automatic BCS bid (at least for now) and is still one of the best basketball conferences in the country. There are still a lot of teams that would probably still like to join- Baylor, Iowa State, Houston, Central Florida, SMU, Memphis, etc, etc.

Why it won't: For the same reason that the Big 12 won't: this league looks like it's on life-support now. UConn is all but literally on its knees publicly begging for a spot in the ACC, and you have to assume every other school is either doing the same as them or the same as TCU. I would bet that even the basketball-only schools like Marquette and Georgetown are planning an escape route.

My verdict: There's a distinct possibility that this one comes to fruition, and even though this "Super CUSA" would assuredly lose its BCS status, TCU could take a leadership role in selecting the new members in order to make lemonade of the lemon. Likely gone would be the thought of putting 40,000+ in the stands every week and playing in BCS bowls on the reg, but the Frogs could very much continue their march to athletic prominence. Do remember that the Fiesta Bowl appearance, the Rose Bowl win and all of the progress made already was done without BCS status.

Big 12/Big East merger

Why it might happen: The hulls of both of these conferences are taking on a lot of water, so you've got to think that building a new boat together is more appetizing than approaching a lesser conference with hat in hand. I'm sure that the geographic disparity could be overlooked for what could be a decent football league and a good basketball league that might fetch decent TV money.

Why it won't: With the ACC looking to expand further, how many teams from these conferences will even be left- especially if the Big Ten and SEC decide to join the ACC and Pac 12 in the race to 16? If too many more teams leave either league, this may be moot.

My verdict: This is the most likely scenario, and I think the question is just how exactly this new league might look. If you took the seven Big East schools left after Pitt/Syracuse and the five Big 12 schools left after the rumored Pac 16 formation, you'd have a western division of TCU, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State and an eastern division of West Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida, UConn and Rutgers. Add in Notre Dame and maybe a few others for basketball and you might have yourself a BCS league with a healthy TV contract. But of course, there could be some of those members picked off by further ACC expansion or even the Big Ten or SEC. Even if that's the case, you could plug those holes and still possibly preserve BCS status.

TCU asking the MWC or CUSA for another chance

Why it might happen: If all of the power leagues go to 16 members and the Frogs aren't included in one, independence is just not an option. TCU needs a conference home, even if it means the horribly awkward situation in which we go back to a conference we previously dumped.

Why it won't: I honestly believe that one of the above scenarios will happen, if not something even better and currently unimaginable.

My verdict: This is purely a worst-case scenario, and I don't think things will come to this. If they did, though, I'd imagine either league would eventually decide to take the Frogs back.


Frogger98 said...

I don't know, everything I have read indicates that the 16-team super conferences are going to lead to a playoff system for those conferences. I have a bad feeling TCU will be left out if that happens.

It is so frustrating to think of all of the steps TCU has taken over the last fifteen years and to see it all go for naught.

I agree that there is literally next to no chance we wind up in a super conference, but we should do whatever we can to try. I would feel better if we were publicly begging like UConn.

I don't want to sound too down, though. I am still proud of all TCU has done. It might be pretty cool to be the last school from a little conference to ever play in the Rose Bowl. At least we did that right.

Lyle Lanley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lyle Lanley said...

Public begging like that is usually an indication of desperation. I, for one, am very glad that TCU is not doing that.

Spit Purple said...

Conspiracy theory, ESPN drove the expansion of the ACC by telling them they will re-open their contract if they're able to pluck teams from the the Big East. Why they would do it? To kill the only major conference that has said screw you, we're going with someone else. Doubtful, but we all hate ESPN so why not believe it.

On another note, I think you are pretty on point with the scenarios. I will add that I believe the SEC isn't completely far fetched. Reason being, it looks like the PAC is trying to hit 16, the ACC is as well. With that development it is only logical that the Big 10 and SEC would follow suit. A quick glance around and it's not too far fetched to think we would be a part of that. But I'm basing that on logic and none of this seems logical so far.

In all truth we should be worrying about how badly SMU will torch our secondary if we don't see some drastic improvement, but thanks to TX and ESPN we're not. So, fuck you very much for that.

Tanner said...

TCU still goes to Big East, they pick up Kansas, K-state to replace pitt-cuse in basketball holes, big east keeps bid. best possible scenario. anything else is either pipe dreams or far worse.

who would have thought pitt-cuse, perennial under/non-performers in football would be the ones to start this avalanche. may the force be with us.

Reed said...

Lyle thank you for restoring order to my brain and life. I currently agree that worst case scenario is that we are left out of AQ conferences.

That being said one of the best parts of TCU football is beating the AQ teams 4/5 times and telling them fuck you. It gives us drive and an emotional edge.

And frogger98 im thankful that we are not begging like Uconn. Baylor will forever be remembered for the chicken-shit way they have handled themselves the past month.

flyingTfrog said...

Nothing we can do about it, no sense in freaking out.

Might be far fetched, but I think it has some legs:
Big East basketball breaks off to form its own league (all of the Catholic basketball schools are apparently in a call this afternoon). Uconn and Rutgers go to ACC, WVU goes to SEC as 14th. Remaining Big East schools TCU, Louisville, Cincy, USF, merges with Baylor, Mizzou, KU, KSTATE, Iowa St in Big 12. Big 12 then picks up Boise, BYU, SMU and Houston.

In all honesty, it is better than the current Big East, would be odd having a school from Wyoming and South Florida in the same conference. A lot would have to happen for this scenario, but take out Boise and BYU and this has a good chance of happening.

Lyle Lanley said...

Two problems with your proposed new conference, flyingT:

-You listed 13 teams

-None of them are located in Wyoming

flyingTfrog said...

Idaho, sorry, long Monday. Apologies to those from Wyoming, it should never be mistaken for Idaho.

Thought USF might be left out...Not sure. But the Big 12 might as well have 13 since its current naming system doesn't seem to match up either.

ctbeecherl said...

"The Ticket" had some chat about 4 20 team conferences. Talking about breaking the conferences into 4 "pods" (they said it first) and each pod having 5 teams. Meaning you regionally play those 4 other opponents every year, great because you wouldnt have to travel like crazy on those and could keep great traditional rivalries. Then you rotate through the other pods and play 4 non pod, conference games. And then you have your non conference games. Thought it was interesting and I guess I loved it because there was a better chance we dont get left out that way.

HST, I think if the super conference deal happens 16 X 4 then I ask the simple question, are we one of the top 64 schools/academic programs in the nation. The answer is definetly yes. But then when you consider the scum in some of these conferences that will ride along for free just cause the conference wont dump a current member... ie (Maryland, Wake, Virginia) you have to think that the pool of teams looking for one of these spots has now shrunk to maybe 50? Are we in the top 50 with all the factors TCU brings... I sure hope so.

My thoughts. We will be just fine, we have a brand new stadium, DFW Market with two large airports for easy travel, Texas based recruiting, a top 25 football team for almost a decade. We wont get left out, I can just feel it in my bones.

Frogger98 said...

I just want to clarify, I appreciate the thought that TCU should be too proud beg and agree to a point. However, TCU should be doing everything it can to get a place at the table as it has earned one over the last ten years. I would hate to think we sit quietly in the corner and get relegated to what will essentially be AA without trying everything possible to avoid it.

From what I have read, this is potentially landscape changing stuff that is going on. I have seen a bunch of articles that speculate this is all leading to a one-off system that will be closed off to all but the 64 haves.

In no way would I ever think we should act like Baylor. I don't think threatening anyone would make anyone interested in affiliating with us later on. I think Baylor has burned almost every bridge they ever had and do NOT want to see TCU in the same boat.

With that said, if these super-conferences really develop and TCU is left out, then it might be the end of relevance for the football program which I don't want to see. I just hope we do everything possible to avoid being a have not a second time. It certainly sucked a ton the first time.

So what I mean by beg is I hope we at least get some consideration and keep our name in the mix wherever possible.

rifram09 said...

I don't think it's far-fetched that we end up in the SEC as the sixteenth team. It will probably come down to TCU, USF, Cincy and a couple of other teams of this caliber. It isn't great odds, but our recent success could help.

I bet the B1G and the SEC wait a few years before expanding. If our success continues at a steady rate over the next few years, I don't think we will be left out. If, on the other hand, decisions are made before the end of this season, I think our odds of making the top 64 are diminished a bit.