Dallas Colleges: Big East Conference

Big East to go on offensive for survival

September, 20, 2011
If the Big East is going down, it will go down fighting.

Officials from the remaining seven Big East football-playing schools met Tuesday night in New York to discuss the future of the conference in the wake of the sudden weekend exits of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC. They decided to stick together and seek new members.

Trey Fallon and Landry Locker discuss TCU's future in the Big East, the Frogs' win over ULM, and this week's game against Portland State.

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TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte was in attendance as the Frogs are set to become Big East members in 2012. Del Conte has not returned messages.

The conference released a statement at the conclusion of the meeting regarding its strategy:

"Our membership met this evening and we are committed as a conference to recruit top level BCS caliber institutions with strong athletic and academic histories and traditions. We have been approached by a number of such institutions and will pursue all of our options to make the Big East Conference stronger than it has ever been in both basketball and football."

However, despite the supposed solidarity, damage to the Big East might not be done yet. Connecticut is reportedly striving to leave for the ACC and Rutgers could also be a defector down the coast. If those two programs leave the Big East would dwindle to just five football programs, requiring some hefty recruitment just to get to 10.

The Big East will gain greater clarity very soon. In fact, they might want to reconvene. Just after the conclusion of the Big East meetings, the Pac-12 presidents voted not to expand, a total game-changer for Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, which are now in a rather interesting and precarious situation.

The Big East and Big 12 had discussed a possible merger of the schools that remained if the Texas and Oklahoma 4 left for the Pac-12 to form the Pac-16 as most believed would eventually happen, and nearly happened a year ago. If the Big 12 survives, it will need to expand by one to get to 10 or by three to reach its original dozen, and Big East member Louisville has long been rumored as a target.

TCU has long not been a target of the Big 12. Could things change there?

Earlier Tuesday, TCU coach Gary Patterson expressed confidence that TCU will be prosperous whenever the realignment dust finally settles.

"I think we’ll be fine and we’ll move on with what we have to do," Patterson said. "But the biggest thing we can do is go win and keep developing everything."

Since the breakup of the Southwest Conference in the mid-1990s, TCU has competed in the WAC, Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference -- all non-AQ conferences. Entering the Big East, one of six AQ conferences, was to be its big break.

Perhaps it still will be.

OU starts No. 1; TCU tumbles to No. 15

August, 4, 2011

The USA Today Coaches Poll has just been revealed and to no surprise the Oklahoma Sooners are ranked No. 1.

Alabama, Oregon, LSU and Florida State round out the top five. That's good news for Jerry Jones since Cowboys Stadium will feature the Sept. 3 ABC primetime matchup pitting No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 4 LSU.

Oklahoma State starts the season at No. 8 and Texas A&M certainly has plenty to be excited about at No. 9, its highest preseason ranking since 1999. The Aggies return to Cowboys Stadium once again against No. 14 Arkansas on Oct. 1. A&M opens the season on Sunday, Sept. 4 at home against June Jones' SMU Mustangs, a favorite to win Conference USA.

Perhaps a bit of a surprise is the tumble of TCU to No. 15 -- one spot ahead of Ohio State. The Rose Bowl champion Horned Frogs capped last season's 13-0 record with a win over Wisconsin in Pasadena and finished No. 2 in the nation behind national champion Auburn. But, the graduation of quarterback Andy Dalton and some other key starters on both sides of the ball apparently has coaches across the land a bit skeptical that TCU can quickly reboot in its final season in the non-BCS Mountain West Conference. TCU joins the Big East Conference in 2012.

According to the TCU athletic department, the Frogs' streak of being ranked in 42 consecutive polls is the longest in school history and fourth-longest currently in the nation.

Boise State, TCU's new MWC counterpart, starts the season where it ended last season at No. 7. The Frogs play at Boise on Nov. 12, a game originally scheduled to be played at Fort Worth, but moved by the MWC because of TCU's exit.

Texas, one of two teams to crack the top 25 that finished with a losing record last season (Georgia), opens at No. 24. The Bulldogs are No. 22.

Tommy Tuberville wants TCU -- eventually

July, 26, 2011
DALLAS -- Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said he wants TCU. Just not this season.

"I think that's a natural game. I think we need to play that game," Tuberville said during Tuesday's Big 12 media days. "I think it needs to be a home-and-home game, and I think that it would help both [TCU coach] Gary [Patterson] and us to play each year."

Six months ago, with TCU coming off a Rose Bowl victory and a final No. 2 ranking, Texas Tech, to the dismay of TCU officials, dropped its scheduled Sept. 10 visit to Fort Worth.

The Red Raiders spun it as an inevitable consequence of the new, 10-team Big 12's round-robin schedule. With nine conference games for 2011 instead of eight under the former 12-team format, Texas Tech had to drop one of its four non-conference games. It chose TCU over Texas State, New Mexico and Nevada.

It's the second consecutive season that the Tech-TCU matchup won't happen. The 2010 game in Lubbock was canceled when ESPN requested to televise the Tech-Texas game on the same date. TCU walked away happy because ESPN made up for the bump by scheduling the Frogs' season-opener against Oregon State at Cowboys Stadium.

On Tuesday, Tuberville acknowledged that the caliber of TCU's program might have also played just a wee bit into the decision to drop TCU as opposed to one of the other three non-conference candidates.

"I've been in this business a while," the always straight-shooting Tuberville said. "Obviously, for us, we're going to be a very young team coming in. Gary's [Patterson] done a great job. He's done an excellent job of bringing in players and building depth and building consistency. That's really probably not the type of team we want to play right now."

TCU officials at the time weren't thrilled with Tech's timing, making it difficult to find a quality opponent to fill out the schedule (the Frogs wound up scheduling an ESPN game against newly independent BYU at Cowboys Stadium on Oct 28). They said they'd still like to schedule Tech in the future -- at the earliest likely 2015 -- but it would have to be a home-and-home agreement. A Tech official said the Red Raiders viewed the cancellation as only a delay and not an end to a series.

Tuberville made it official Tuesday. Within a few seasons, Tech and TCU could become an annual rivalry.

TCU beat 'em, now set to join 'em

January, 2, 2011
PASADENA, Calif. -- After the third-ranked TCU Horned Frogs had defeated the fifth-ranked Wisconsin Badgersfair- and-square on the emerald field of the Rose Bowl, even Gordon Gee, the Ohio State athletics director who belittled programs like TCU and Boise State for padding their records against opponents like the “Little Sisters of the Poor,” seemed to have a change of heart.

Wisconsin, after all, was the only team to beat Gee's Buckeyes this season. Reached by the New York Times' Pete Thamel on Saturday night, Gee said: “I’m going to New Orleans tomorrow [where Ohio State will play in the Sugar Bowl], and Antoine’s is a great restaurant. I think they serve crow, and I’ll be eating my portion of that. TCU played a great game, and they deserved to be recognized for that. Obviously, TCU is a great ball team.”

Frogs coach Gary Patterson was asked after the 21-19 New Year's Day victory that boosted TCU its first undefeated and untied season since 1938 if he had a message from Gee. Patterson remained diplomatic.

"I don't have any messages for him," Patterson said. "I make mistakes every day. So what I'm going to do is know that TCU is 13-0. We've won 44 ballgames, this senior class has in the last four years. And know that at any point in time anybody can beat anybody."

TCU's time as the little guy in college football's hierarchy is coming to an end. The Horned Frogs will play one final season in the non-automatic qualifying Mountain West Conference and then join the establishment as a member of the Big East Conference, one of the six power conferences granted automatic access to the BCS.

"I think what we’ve been able to do for the past however many of years and the success that we’ve had, we’ve earned the respect," said senior Andy Dalton, who exits TCU as the school's all-time winningest quarterback. "I think people are really starting to realize how good TCU is and I guess the Big East obviously realized that and wanted us to be a part of their conference, and so I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for TCU."

The Frogs will leave the fight for equality to the Boise State's of the world. Yet, on some level, it would seem the Frogs and Patterson will miss the underdog role, always having to strive for perfection, to take the hard road, to constantly have to prove that they belong. After all, TCU, along with Boise State, have been the ones constantly harrassing the BCS and leading the surge of public animosity toward college football's postseason power structure.

"We’ll always be that," Patterson said of retaining underdog status despite the move up. "Yeah, because we’re in the state of Texas. We’re never going to be compared to the Big East. Just like in the Mountain West, we’re compared to Texas and [Texas] A&M and Texas Tech. That’s how we recruit. We recruit to try to beat the Big 12."

This season the Big East was weakest of the power six. Connecticut, at 8-4 after the regular season, represented the conference in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday night and was handled by Big 12 champion Oklahoma, 48-20. Only West Virginia, with four losses, finished the season with fewer than five losses. The Big East sought the Frogs to lift their football profile.

Unless there's a sudden surge by one of the current eight Big East programs, the Frogs could walk into the league in 2012 as favorites to win it and claim the BCS slot.

The lure of the Big East is its automatic berth. Win the conference and you're in. No longer will perfection, which the Frogs have accomplished in consecutive regular seasons, a prerequisite. No longer will an early non-conference loss a season death sentence.

Yet, even there, Patterson found room to quibble.

"As far as a national championship it is, but not playing for a BCS game," Patterson said. "If you’re ultimate goal is playing for a national championship then you’re still tyring to get done what you’re trying to get done. It still means you need to go undefeated and do the things you need to do."
Playing in the Rose Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers on New Year's Day will further heighten the TCU Horned Frogs' national profile among high-caliber recruits. Coach Gary Patterson's success has already delivered him to more living rooms than most would have imagined possible, and according to an update by ESPN Recruiting, several star-studded prospects have the Frogs prominently on their radar.

Patterson said that TCU's 2012 move into the Big East Conference, a BCS automatic qualifier, has already opened more doors in Texas alone.

"Just in our own state, we've already had phone calls because we're an automatic-qualifying school. It's already made a big difference," Patterson said. "It's already given us some credibility. And not taking anything away from the Mountain West. We're not talking about what I think, we're talking about what recruits think. And, perception-wise, in this state, it's made a big difference. That's the one thing other Big 12 teams have held against us a little bit on the recruiting trails.

"What it's done for us is it now has eliminated that one road block. So, I think we're going to have the opportunity to be in a lot more homes in the next few years."

TCU’s Gary Patterson hoping for title shot

November, 29, 2010

FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU coach Gary Patterson said he'd be disappointed, but understanding if his team didn't play for a national title because Auburn and Oregon were undefeated.

But what if one loses this weekend and his Horned Frogs still don't get a chance to play for the big prize?

Galloway and Company debates whether TCU made a deal with the devil when they joined the Big East.

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"I think we should be given the opportunity," Patterson said. "I'm Joe Fan and I believe that we should have the opportunity to be able to do that. That's what I've been taught. That's been the American way. We'll see how it turns out."

Patterson said he's preparing for the Rose Bowl (that's expected to be Wisconsin) and not worrying about what might or might not happen.

"There's not anything I can do about it," Patterson said. "I'm not sure whoever we play in the Rose Bowl isn't as good as anyone we could play in the national championship game. So we're going to prepare for it because I've already watched them on film and I can assure you they are as good as anyone."

Patterson said he thinks about the fact that TCU won't go undefeated every year and that he'd like to get a shot at a national championship.

"You can only do what you can control," Patterson said. "I've always been one that's defended the system. Will I be disappointed that we don't get to play for the national title? Yes. If both are undefeated, all three of us would have a case. Every one of those other two teams can say their pyramid is colored in the same as ours is and they have every right to be there."

Gary Patterson glad TCU no longer non-AQ

November, 29, 2010
FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU football coach Gary Patterson attended Monday's news conference announcing the university's entrance into the Big East and talked after about what it does for his program now that he's going to be an automatic qualifier to the BCS starting in 2012.

Todd McShay reacts to TCU's move to the Big East and dishes on Wisconsin, Randy Shannon's dismissal and Boise State's loss to Nevada.

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Patterson said his team still has to win games to compete for a national title, but that they "access got easier, not the road." He added that the move won't change how he recruits.

"We're not going to make the mistake of becoming a national recruiter," Patterson said. "We'll still recruit our spots. We still know we built ourselves that way. Those are mistakes people have made in their programs is they try to become something else. We won't change much. But we've crossed some boundaries that have been held against us."

What are those?

"They can't say, 'Well, you're not an automatic qualifier,'" Patterson said. "That's changed for us. That's different now. You don't have that hanging over your head. That makes it a lot better for TCU."

TCU move only adds to Big East hoopla

November, 29, 2010
TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte discusses the process of joining the Big East, the logistics of the change in conferences and how the Frogs benefit from the move.

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So how does TCU's move affect the Big East in hoops -- which is without question the league's marquee sport?
Not all that much, actually. The Big East has had a plan to add a 17th and 18th team to its hoops slate for a while now. The move will cause some slight adjustments in scheduling -- repeat games will be the main bugaboo, and the conference tournament could get a little tricky -- but it's nothing the big brains at Big East league headquarters can't handle.
Click here for more from Eamonn Brennan on the national college basketball blog.

TCU’s move to Big East provides security

November, 29, 2010
The announcement upcoming this afternoon that TCU is headed to the Big East has major ramifications for the university. And we'll get into all of that in the next few days.

ESPN college football analyst Jesse Palmer weighs in on the possible scenarios for the BCS title game.

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But one thing of note is that no longer will the TCU football program have to worry that one nonconference loss ends any BCS bowl hopes. Gary Patterson's program has been held to a very high standard in terms of voters for the past few years. One slip-up -- heck, even a five-point win against bowl eligible San Diego State team was a slip-up -- and BCS hopes were dimmed.

And look at this year: Before Boise State's loss to Nevada, it was possible TCU was going to go 12-0 and not make a BCS bowl. Think about that.

Now, that's not a problem. Starting in the 2012 football season, TCU will be playing in a conference that has an automatic bid to the BCS party. UConn is in the driver's seat this season and they have four losses. It means that if TCU loses one game, the season isn't over in terms of playing with the big boys.

This move means TCU has the security of knowing if they win their conferenece, they are in a BCS bowl. Isn't that reassuring for Frogs fans?

(More to come later on all of the other advantages to this deal -- exposure, TV, etc.)

Source: TCU to join Big East today

November, 29, 2010
The Horned Frogs have accepted an invitation to join the Big East as an all-sports member, sources told ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett on Monday morning. TCU has scheduled a press conference for 1 p.m. CT to make "a major announcement involving the TCU athletics program."

More to come ...

Is MWC preparing for a TCU departure?

November, 19, 2010
Hawaii in and TCU out?

More signs indicating conference change continue to appear since the Big East Conference was first rumored to be interested in grabbing TCU to save its suffering football league. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser is reporting that Hawaii officials are close to sealing a deal that would add the school's football conference to the Mountain West Conference.

Next season, BYU and Utah will leave the conference with Nevada and Fresno State already signed up to step in. As currently constructed, it would give the MWC an uneven 11 football teams, which would seem to suggest that one program might be on the way out.

The third-ranked Horned Frogs have been the jewel of the Big East's eye for some time now. The move makes sense for both the conference and TCU.

Big East football is a national embarrassment. With its status as a BCS conference, the league is threatening to send a representative to either the Sugar Bowl or Orange Bowl without being ranked in the BCS Top 25 rankings. At the moment, only Syracuse has at least seven wins and no one as fewer than three losses.

Meanwhile, the Frogs (11-0), living in non-automatic-qualifier limbo in the Mountain West, are currently ranked third in the BCS. Yet, depending on how the final few weeks play out, TCU could be vying for a national championship or left out of the BCS games all together.

With options like that, hello Big East.

Frogs eye title game as Big East maneuvers

November, 2, 2010
As the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs prepare for their biggest game of the season at the No. 5 Utah Uteson Saturday afternoon, a game that could ultimately vault the winner into the BCS national championship game, TCU's future in the Mountain West Conference became a bit more sketchy Tuesday as the Big East formerly approved plans to explore adding two football programs.

TCU is reportedly high on the Big East's expansion wish list. The Frogs, who played in their first BCS game last season, would have interest in joining the Big East because the conference currently holds the golden key to BCS inclusion as an automatic qualifier.

The MWC is a non-automatic qualifer, meaning the conference's champion does not automatically receive a bid to the far more lucrative BCS bowl games. Non-AQ conference teams must meet guidelines just to make them eligible for inclusion and do not reap the same financial windfall as AQs.

TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte on Tuesday acknowledged that Big East school presidents were meeting and setting the parameters for expansion, although he had little to say to advance the subject. There appears to be some trepidation at TCU that the Big East can keep its current eight football-playing schools -- Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, South Florida, Rutgers, Louisville, Cincinnati and Connecticut-- together, and that subsequent replacement expansion would further water-down the league, eventually causing it to lose its AQ status.

One such school is Rutgers. Some believe the New Jersey school remains a high-priority target of the Big Ten, which will consist of 12 teams beginning in 2011-12. There are also fears that the ACC could again invade the Big East as it did earlier in the decade when Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami switched allegiances.

TCU coach Gary Patterson is solely focused on Saturday's showdown in Salt Lake City. The Frogs (9-0, 5-0 MWC) moved up to No. 3 in the lastest BCS poll with the Utes at No. 5 (8-0, 5-0 MWC). No. 4 Boise State (7-0) in the WAC gives the non-AQs three teams in the top five of the BCS rankings.

For all three, the dream of playing for a national championship is alive heading into the final month of the regular season.

If TCU beats Utah and then closes out its remaining two games unblemised, and either No. 1 Oregon (8-0) or No. 2 Auburn (9-0) lose one of their remaining games, the Frogs could move into the top two. A top-two ranking in the final BCS poll in early December would land TCU in the national championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

"[Two years ago], basically Utah was playing TCU for a BCS spot, not playing for a national championship," Patterson said. "Then last year, both Boise and us end up getting to that place [BCS game], but we didn't get a chance to [play for the national championship]. Now we're talking about, because we all started higher [in the poll], now we're all sitting in a situation where that's [the national championship game] a conversation."

TCU wants door to hit BYU on way out

October, 12, 2010

Well, well, well, look who's coming to town. The independent-bound BYU Cougars will visit Fort Worth on Saturday afternoon to face the No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs for the last time in maybe, well, forever.

And if intense Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson has any say in this one, the Cougars won't forget it for a long, long time.

The Cougars, struggling at 2-4 (1-1 in the Mountain West Conference), will walk into a cauldron at Amon G. Carter Stadium as they contiue their farewell tour before bailing out of the conference to begin an uncertain future as a college football independent. Color Patterson skeptical.

During fall camp, when rumors of BYU's thinking became public, Patterson had this to say: "You’ve got to be careful what you wish for. If you’re BYU, you better be careful what you wish for. It’s not my job to worry about what Utah (headed to the Pac-10) does, what BYU does, but I can tell you this: If you think being an independent is an easier way to get to a national championship, you’re kidding yourself. Why would anybody vote them a Notre Dame exemption? How would they play anybody?"

BYU has lined up home-and-home games with the Texas Longhorns and today the Cougars finalized a series to continue its rivalry with Utah for at least two years. BYU will fill out the schedule with WAC teams. For 2011, the Cougars have 10 games lined up, five in 2012 and three in 2013, so there is plenty of scheduling work to be done.

Could TCU show up on one of those future schedules?

"No," Patterson muttered.

With Utah and BYU leaving the conference, and Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada coming in, it's unclear how the changes might affect the Mountain West's attempt to gain automatic-qualifier status into the BCS, but the majority opinion seems to think it will take a knock.

"We’re going to see if these were the right decisions. Nobody knows. It’s just like when you buy a house or switch jobs; you don’t know if it’s the right decision," Patterson said back in August. "The key to this whole story is all the people that made these decisions, we’ll find out if they’re university is better off because of all the things that have happened."

Of course, TCU could be mapping out its own course for the future as rumors of a potential move to the Big East Conference persist. Neither the Big East, with its all-important automatic-qualifier status, nor TCU has gone out of its way to quell those rumors either.

For now, one last BYU-TCU battle should be a physical and emotional scrap. The Cougars know TCU (6-0), with its BCS hopes intact, are ready for this one on multiple levels.

Gary Patterson 'surprised' by report

September, 28, 2010
If Tuesday's report in the New York Post suggesting TCU is on the Big East's radar caught Horned Frogs football coach Gary Patterson by surprise, perhaps he's had his nose buried in playbooks.

"Surprised," Patterson said via text message. "I have been working on CSU."

OK then. During football season, Patterson is a here-and-now guy and that means full-time preparations for Saturday's Mountain West opener at Colorado State. But, what if in a few years the conference opener was at Syracuse or UConn or Pittsburgh or West Virginia or Louisville? And what if the end game was an automatic bid to a BCS game? Should TCU be intrigued?

"Don't know!" Patterson typed. "Too busy to think about it right now!"

The man TCU pays to know, athletic director Chris Del Conte, did not return a phone message.

Right now, Patterson knows he can't afford to lose. One loss and the No. 5 Frogs won't be going to any BCS game. That's not the case for teams in the six major conferences that have automatic access to BCS games and millions of dollars in revenue annually.

But, does the Big East make sense for TCU? At first it would seem the Big East makes no sense logistically for sports other than football. But, that argument loses steam when you consider the new Mountain West once Utah and BYU leave and Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada come in.

"Travel is about the same," Patterson noted, and it is.

The bottom line is it might not be safe for TCU to hold out for an invite to the new Big 12 with 10 teams. And, who knows when the next major conference shakeup occurs and where it will shuffle schools. As TCU knows well, there are no guarantees.

The real winner in a move to the Big East might just be the men's basketball program, the one underachieving sport at TCU. The Big East is a college powerhouse and it could open all kinds of recruiting avenues, not to mention bringing in nationally ranked programs to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum every week, including Pitt and its coach, TCU's own Jamie Dixon.

For those concerned about TCU's baseball program, the Big East boasts a 12-team league. What's so special about MWC baseball again?

According to the report, everything is preliminary. Even so, it is intriguing.

Report: TCU on Big East's radar

September, 28, 2010
video 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."