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Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Report: TCU on Big East's radar

By Jeff Caplan

TCU to the Big East?

A report in the New York Post says, according to a source, the Big East has recently taken up discussions about the Frogs to "help bolster its position ... and to help strengthen its football league." TCU, the No. 5-ranked team in the nation could find the Big East appetizing because it offers an automatic bid to the BCS, the golden ticket that the Mountain West Conference currently does not and might never be able to offer.

According to the report, no talks have taken place among Big East athletic directors or presidents regarding membership.

Phone calls to TCU officials were not immediately returned.

The Mountain West is set to lose big players in Utah and BYU, but will add Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State to bring its membership to 10 teams. TCU to the Big East wouldn't seem to make much geographic sense, but really, neither does the MWC, which takes the Frogs to San Diego, Wyoming, Las Vegas and soon to the three aforementioned farther-flung West-region schools.

Plus, a move to the Big East could help to jumpstart the Frogs' struggling men's basketball program, which is really the lone sport at TCU that has continually underachieved during the renaissance period in football.

But, the biggest key is money. Membership in a BCS conference would reap the school millions of dollars it does not sniff competing in the MWC.

In a recent interview with coach Gary Patterson, he talked about the revenue disparity between the schools in automatic-qualifier conferences and those in non-AQs,and what it would mean to a non-AQ school like TCU, which recently completed raising $105 million for a stadium overhaul that will begin immediately after this season.

"Obvioulsy, you wouldn't have to raise as much money," Patterson said. "Just look at how the Big 12, especially the northern division, has done with the money to better their facilities. It's really an easy answer when it comes to that kind of stuff. It takes care of a lot of different things. It makes chancellors and ADs happier."