As USF prepares for its regular-season finale against Connecticut on Saturday, major news broke on the conference realignment front as TCU, which is currently ranked No. 3 in the BCS standings, accepted a bid to join the Big East Conference in all sports, multiple media outlets confirmed Monday morning.
The move, which has been reported to take effect July 1, 2012, is an obvious boost to the league’s football reputation. TCU, currently part of the Mountain West Conference, is 24-1 in the past two seasons and has positioned itself as one of the nation’s top football programs under coach Gary Patterson.
Coach Skip Holtz shared his perspective on the Big East football coaches’ weekly teleconference Monday.
“I’ve said this from the beginning, I’m all for anything that strengthens the Big East Conference, that helps us as an overall conference, that turns and helps better South Florida and the numbers that are in the Big East,” Holtz said. “If this is what the presidents and the athletic directors and the board of trustees and the people that make the decisions feels is the best interest of the conference, I support their decision 100 percent.
“At this point in time during the year, it’s kneecaps and elbows as you’re flying around trying to get everything done, and you get your head in the sand and your knee deep into your program and this news comes out, which I think is going to create a lot of excitement and energy for the (conference), especially from a football standpoint with all the success TCU’s had on the field.”
The move allows TCU, which was a member of the WAC and Conference USA before its move to the Mountain West in 2005, to contend for a BCS bowl game every season as the Big East, unlike the Mountain West, is one of six automatic BCS qualifying leagues in the NCAA.
The Mountain West has now lost three teams to other conferences this year, as Utah is set to join the Pac 10 in 2012 and BYU is going independent next season. Boise State, which was in a position to play for a national title until its loss to No. 19 Nevada on Friday, is moving from the Western Athletic Conference to the MWC next season.