Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why the Big 12 invited TCU over BYU

With the news that the Big 12 invited TCU, instead of BYU, many fans are asking 'why'?  Some accuse BYU of "turning down" an offer, or at least holding too strongly to certain demands.  While there may be some truth to those rumors, analysis shows TCU was a better fit.  Here's why:

Location:  TCU is located in the heart of the Big 12.  Literally.  It's 20 miles from the Big 12 headquarters.  TCU is within 200 miles of Oklahoma, Texas, and Baylor.  In fact, TCU is located exactly 187 miles from both Oklahoma and Texas.  Dead center between the two Red River Rivals.  Serious, check it out.  I know, weird.  The proximity allows for regional rivalries to flourish.  Located a couple minutes from DFW airport, TCU is a very easy travel destination for all Big 12 conference teams in all sports.    

Conference Competition: With TCU previously going to the Big East, the Big East was going to get a foothold in Dallas, which gives them fans, mind share and media access right in the middle of the Big 12, in the biggest media market in Texas, and the 5th largest in the nation.  This would be on top of letting the SEC into Texas with the "acquisition" of Texas A&M.  If for no other reason, inviting TCU was a very good defensive move for the Big 12.

Availability: The Big 12 needed a 10th team for the 2012 season, since Texas A&M was leaving so fast.  There were only two teams that could change for the 2012 season: BYU or TCU.  They couldn't get a Big East team, because the Big East requires a 27-month notification before exiting.  Most other conferences require at least a 12-month notification.  TCU just happened to be in transition from the Mountain West conference to the Big East and so it could change direction halfway down the road.  BYU, of course, doesn't have a conference exit restriction, but read on...

Ease of Negotiations: Or better said, "no baggage".  Let's face it, BYU has a lot of baggage.  You may agree with the reasons for the baggage, but that doesn't make it easy on a new conference.  No Sunday play, Conference weekend scheduling, own TV station to deal with, own TV contract with ESPN to figure out how to merge in, tons of future contracted games that would need to be cancelled or rescheduled, and a mission beyond education and football.  TCU doesn't have baggage.  They are willing to come in and do whatever the conference says.

Football Program: We all know that conference expansion is about football.  Forget that TCU has a pathetic basketball team.  TCU has been one of the most successful football teams in recent years.  Since 2000, they have won more games than all but 5 teams (Boise St., Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio St., USC, Florida).  They have gone to two straight BCS bowl games, winning the Rose Bowl last year.  The Big 12 now has 3 of the top 6 winningest programs in the last decade.

When you look at these factors, TCU was an easy choice for the Big 12 at this time...even if it hurts us BYU fans.

Will BYU eventually get an invite to the Big 12?  Should it even want one?  I'll explore that in the next post.

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