The latest stunner in college football realignment has a dose of irony sprinkled in: Texas Christian University, the team with the best shot at striking a blow for the have-nots of college football, will take their leave of the Mountain West conference and join the Big East in all sports starting in 2012.
This is a major shift, arguably one of the biggest of all the conference moves, for the following reasons:
1) If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em— Look, no one’s saying TCU decided fighting the good fight for the non-BCS schools was too much work and joined the dark side, but there’s no denying the reality that TCU no longer has to deal with the politics, upturned noses, and outright bias that go along with being a non-automatic qualifier. And it’s not like TCU hasn’t been cranking out 10-win seasons like they’re on an assembly line. This team is going to an auto-bid conference at just the right time.
2) Seriously, have you seen the Big East?— One of the common responses to the undefeated Boise’s and TCU’s of the world is “They couldn’t do that in a BCS Conference!” (Ok, it’s mostly SEC fans, but still). But the Big East is an unmitigated disaster this season. Only one team is in the Top 25 of the BCS and the conference lacks a single good out-of-conference win. If you think TCU won’t be contending, if not winning, this conference in two seasons, you’re crazy.
3) Mountain West left stunned— After Boise joined the conference this summer, the Mountain West Conference was actually looking pretty strong. But with BYU going independent, and Utah and TCU on the way out, it’s really not looking all that much better with teams like Nevada and Fresno State moving in. If all those teams had stayed, the MWC might have been able to earn itself an auto-bid. Now? It’s basically the WAC with some new teams.