Pitt

4-1-Zoo: TCU’s Potential Influence On The Big East

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TCU

Head coach Gary Patterson of the TCU Horned Frogs takes to the field with offensive guard Josh Vernon #78 and tackle Zach Roth #70 against the BYU Cougars at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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Every week I do a Blogger Debate to discuss the previous week in Pitt football and look forward to the upcoming game. I promise that’s on its way.

But given the plight of Pitt football and Saturday’s game having far less meaning than we all had hoped, I thought we’d touch on a more impactful subject: Big East expansion.

So The Fighting Wannstaches, Pitt Blather and I give our thoughts on TCU’s big move to the Big East in 2012 and what it means for the conference…

The Fighting Wannstaches

TCU joining the BIG EAST is great for the helping the national perception of football side of the conference. They bring instant credibility to a league that “needs it” in the eyes of fans, writers, and broadcasters that do not cover the league on a regular basis.

While the BIG EAST has received some deserved criticism for this season, it has received a lot of undeserved criticism this year for past seasons. Everyone has such short memories that they forget Cincinnati was almost in the BCS Championship last year, same with WVU in 2007. However, it does not really help the league survive. The next time the Big Ten or ACC go looking for teams, the BIG EAST will again be the first stop.

As for TCU, they are only here until the Big 12 is ready to go back to 12 teams again. Until then, its going to be a fun ride. Enjoy everybody! We know we will when the Horned Frogs come to town.

Pitt Blather

TCU in the Big Sprawl. Fine. I have a friend in Dallas. My folks lived there for a couple years. They aren’t like Temple in Philly with regards to local attention/interest. More like Northwestern in Chicago. Pro city. College coverage tend towards larger alumni/fan bases in area (Illinois/ND) which seems to give an overall short shrift to the true local team.

The survival of the Big East is really not at risk in my view. It’s keeping the conference viable for the teams left behind if the super-conference evolution really does occur. In that respect, it probably is good because then it becomes more palatable and reasonable to merge football with whatever is left behind from the Big 12 in that scenario. As the Big Sprawl already has moved to Texas.

Area 4-1-Zoo

While TCU is a great addition, I have two fears. First, I fear the Horned Frogs will have a Louisville-type scenario: arrive hot, find success, lose coach, disappear in to mediocrity. Louisville’s plunge has hurt the Big East significantly. The Cardinals arrived in a very similar circumstance to TCU, coming from dominating a smaller conference for several years.

Second, I fear that this move is still delaying the inevitable. While TCU gives a boost to the Big East’s national perspective it doesn’t mean current members will choose to stay for any extended period of time. Any program would still jump at the chance to join a higher-grossing conference like the Big Ten.

So this is a great move for the near future. I’m not so sure about the long term, though. Much more work needs to be made. Reports have surfaced that the Big East was ready to take Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri if others left the Big 12 for the Pac 10 this summer. It’s good to know that, while much seemed quiet behind the scenes, this conference was doing a lot of work and taking the football side of things seriously.

Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog
Twitter.com/Chris_Gates
Chris.Gates@cbsradio.com

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