Welp, it's official, TCU has been invited to join the Big 12 Conference. It's not a done deal until the Frogs accept the offer - which, I mean, no brainer, right? RIGHT??? - but for all intents and purposes, I'd expect TCU to have that numerically incorrect logo on their field this time next season. We've thrown a lot of muck at the Big 12, criticized the way it kowtows to Texas and wished for its demise over and over and over again. But what we were thinking? We LOVE the Big 12!!!! The Big 12 Rocks!!!!
Some initial thoughts:
- How phenomenal is the timing of this? SMU beats TCU for the first time since 2005 and absolutely runs with it by offering the "Iron Skillet ticket package" for remaining home games and even making the Iron Skillet available for pictures to its students. This comes hot on the heels of SMU inviting themselves to the Big 12 and SMU fans were even giggling post game about how Saturday was going to put a serious kink into the Big 12's expansion plans. So how perfect is it that during the SAME WEEK they beat us, the Big 12 gives them a high five and says, "Great game SMU... Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuut we <3 TCU and not you." BURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRN!!!!!! It makes it all go away. It really does. Enjoy your piece of metal, Ponies, while we eat caviar and sip Dom with the big boys.
- Yesterday on Menace there was a thread discussing Patterson's comments in the presser, and in the midst of everyone making excuses someone suggested something along the lines of, "Isn't it weird that Gary Patterson, one of the more calculated coaches in the game, said something like that THREE FULL DAYS after the game ended? If it was immediately after the game you can blame being caught in the moment, but three days later suggests he has a plan" Could his comments that, "They won't get any more help from us about a ballgame," mean that the Frogs are giving the Iron Skillet its walking papers? Wouldn't that be endlessly fantastic? Seriously, have fun in CUSA, Ponies.
- A lot of naysayers are coming out with stuff along the lines of, "HOW DARE TCU!?!? WHERE'S THE LOYALTY?!?" to which I say, "Where's your brain, asshat?" The Big 12 may not be the most stable Conference, but my goodness its absolutely ironclad compared to the Big East!! No one threw a big fit when we left the MWC because it, "wasn't the Conference we joined in the first place." How is this any different? Haters gon' hate, I suppose.
- The two questions facing TCU in this move are, "Will Missouri still be around and what happens if they leave?" and "Is the Big 12 REALLY that secure?" As for the first one, clearly keeping the Tigers around is preferable; they have strong athletics, academics and are a core member. But would their loss kill the Conference or make us rethink our strategy? NO and HELL NO. BYU or Louisville aren't Missouri, but they work and besides, the Big 12 could lose anyone not named Texas or Oklahoma and survive. They just lost aggy and may wind up in a better position than they were before. Imagine! As for the second, from what I understand, the Big 12 is secure for six years at minimum due to television agreements which, as I understand it, work as such: All schools are signing away their Tier I and Tier II television rights which include agreements with ESPN, Fox, etc. for six years. What this means is that, if anyone decided to jump ship in that window they would be able to, but they would forfeit TV rights for six years, a figure that could reach over $100 million in that time. On top of that, the rights are being renegotiated so that everyone gets their fair shake; in the past, payouts have been dished out based on how often a team is on television. Those two things are intended to keep everyone on board and, to be honest, it's hard to see them not, sans Mizzou who has yet to sign. It's certainly an Obama Socialist approach, but really it was the only way the Conference was going to survive. Of course, those rights do NOT include a Third Tier network such as the LHN, so Texas will still be the biggest fish in the pond... but they were going to be anyway and you're kidding yourself if you thought that was going to change. And you know what's just damned weird about this whole thing? In a roundabout way the LHN IS the reason we're in the Big 12 in the first place. Without it, aggy probably doesn't leave the Big 12 when they did and Mizzou isn't showing leg to the SEC. The aggy move opened the door but I think Mizzou trying to jump ship really put the B12 into "NOW" mode. It feels weird to say, but thanks LHN and thanks aggy.
- Of course, the Big 12's TV situation raises the question of, "Well, should CDC be thinking of 2018 and beyond already?" Clearly this will be an issue, and I certainly think Texas explores independence at that point if they haven't already, but as long as we don't turn into Vanderbilt overnight, we're going to be in a fine position when the shuffling inevitably happens again.
- How does this pertain to Daje Johnson's status at TCU? All signs point to him jumping ship if Texas offers and personally I think they do. Wouldn't it be such a typical Texas move to be like, "Welcome to the Big 12 TCU... now I drink YOUR milkshake!!!" They totally do it if only as a power move, although the kid being legit certainly helps.
- Is there anyone happier about this move than Jim Christian? Despite his initial recruiting success, the way that whole process played out with eligibility issues, he was probably spending more time editing his resume than preparing for the season. Because we were seriously going to be road kill in the BEast. But now? I'm not trying to suggest that the B12 isn't a good basketball Conference, but it's no Big East. At least in the sense that, "I can pick 3-4 teams in the B12 that we can beat each year; I could pick 0 in the BEast." I'm not sure how this helps recruiting because we had a direct competitive advantage when selling the BEast, but it should still be a nice way to entice local recruits to stay home and play big boy basketball. Regardless, our basketball team at least has a shot at double digit wins in the B12; in the BEast we were looking at MAYBE 2 wins in Conference max.
- You should probably invest in futures of the blood pressure medicine of your choice, because with Texas, Tech, Baylor and, possibly, SMU on the slate year in, year out things could get ugly for your cardiovascular system.
at Oklahoma State
Not too bad, eh? Things would certainly start off with a bang, at the very least, and could TCU end up replacing aggy as the annual Thanksgiving rival for the Longhorns? IMAGINE. Again, suggesting that TCU will simply slide into aggy's schedule is far easier said than done but the possibilities are pretty fun to imagine.
Of course, as I stated above, none of this Big 12 stuff is official - remember how long it took for aggy to finally get into the SEC? Oh, that's right, they still aren't - but, I mean, it's as close to official as it can be. The Athletic Department has to clean up the Big East mess they've made for themselves, but if all it takes is a $5 million check, I'd imagine there'a a courier knocking on John Marinatto's door as I write this.
Regardless of what we think of Texas and the B12 in general, this is perhaps the biggest moment in TCU Football history, unless you count National Titles and Heisman's from a century ago. Fifty years in the wilderness to the Rose Bowl to the Big 12 probably seemed beyond impossible for outside observers not so long ago. Like, last year not so long ago.
I feel like we're going to hit a wall eventually, but my god it's good to be a Frogs fan right now.