TMFW: On Texas Christian University, which is neither very Big nor very East

December 1, 2010

BDA’s Deputy Field Marshall for Sports (Collegiate Division) Arthur Paul Bowen (otherwise known as The Moving Finger Writes) has something to say about Texas Christian University’s announced affliation with the Big East. We yield the floor.

We now can say this without hesitation or fear of contradiction. The Athletic Director at Texas Christian University does not give a rat’s ass about basketball. Because yesterday TCU announced that it is leaving the Mountain West conference for the Big East. Now, you might recall that Ft. Worth is nowhere near the closest Big East schools that it will compete against in football which tend to be on the East Coast. Also, as Mike Greenberg of ESPN Radio pointed out, TCU, with its 9,000 students is neither big nor East.

But what it has is one hell of a football program. The TCU Horned Frogs are undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the country. But they are forced to toil in the Mountain West Conference which has no automatic bid to a Bowl Championship Series bowl game whereas the Big East inexplicably does. Granted, West Virginia is pretty good and Rutgers and Pitt have been good in recent years. But the Big East is primarily a basketball conference.

My guess is the thinking in Ft. Worth was that it was too much pressure to go undefeated in the Mountain West every year to get a shot a BCS game which carries a bigger payday. So rather than fight the system, they go to the Big East where they will play higher ranked opponents than the clowns out in the Mountain West and still pretty much cuff everybody around.

Nose Cone Monkey: And the Big East champion’s automatic BCS bid is subject to review — obviously one of the reasons the Big East invited TCU was to try to keep that automatic bid. Just sayin’.

I don’t know who coaches the Horned Frogs basketball team. The fact that I don’t know this should tell you much about their stature in the hoops pantheon. Because I KNOW THESE THINGS.

But whoever this poor bastard is, he must be about to put a gun to his head. Because he is now in a conference with the likes of Louisville, Syracuse, UConn, West Virginia and Pitt. Not to mention the Catholic schools like St. John’s, Villanova, Georgetown, Marquette, Seton Hall, Notre Dame (Big East in every sport but football) and Providence. If they win three conference games their first year in I will be stunned.

Needless to say, this is stupid. TCU has no business playing intercollegiate sports against teams located in Rhode Island and Syracuse which is damn near in Canada. It will be a logistical nightmare because not only will the football team have to travel up there, but so will every other team TCU fields. And the other members of the Big East will have to do likewise.

But nobody cares about that. TCU wants an easier way to get into the BCS roulette. They get away from Air Force who nobody in their right mind wants to play if they can avoid it. They get the prestige (such as it is) of hanging out with Notre Dame without having to fool with them in football who you have to figure will quit sucking eventually even if they have to go through five more coaches to get there. The Big East thinks it will get more respect as a football conference just by admitting a team into its fold that will likely kick the living hell out of most of the other teams there in that sport.

To hell with the travel costs. To hell with time away from school. What are the kids gonna do? Take online courses?

It’s all about football. It’s all about money. It’s about gaming the system. Which TCU-or anybody else in the college football world- wouldn’t have to do if there was a playoff in college football. With a playoff structure, the conversation about the Killer Frogs playing games in Morgantown and Storrs on a regular basis does not happen.

But I suppose some expansion of cultural horizons could come from this. A kid from Hooks might get to see her first blizzard. A kid from South Orange will get to experience a town where men wear cowboy boots with suits.

This is stupid. But this is big time football.


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