SBNation doesn't have a TCU blog (yet) but we do have Mountain West Connection, a really good resource for all things MWC. Unfortunately for them, we just stole one of their best assets, TCU. Jeremy from MWC was kind enough to answer a couple question I had about where this leaves their conference, what our conference is really getting and just how good (or bad) the Horned Frogs are in sports not called football.
We've all known for a while this was in the works. What has the MWC been doing to try and prevent it? Or had they basically resigned themselves to losing TCU sooner or later?
I guess adding Hawaii was a move to prevent it, but by losing Utah and TCU there was not much incentive to stay if a BCS league came calling. Outside of the Mountain West adding Fresno State and Nevada, commissioner Craig Thompson has been notoriously slow at making moves like this. I don't know if the league assumed it was a forgone conclusion that they were losing TCU, but why would they go and add Hawai'i months after adding Fresno State and Nevada. If they wanted them they should have just added them all at the same time. Hawai'i to me was more of a replacement for TCU, not that they can really replace TCU in terms of on the field performance, but they are a solid team and the move might have been made out of spite to possibly finally kill off the WAC.
BYU, TCU and Utah are leaving. Where does the MWC go from here?
Well once all of the shuffling is done the league will be down to 10 football members and nine members in the other sports since Hawai'i is joining the Big West in non-football sports. The knee-jerk reaction would be to add two football teams to get to 12 teams and host a conference title game. Then maybe try to convince Denver to spurn the WAC and join the Mountain West as a non-football member or perhaps get Seattle or Utah Valley State to join as a non-football member. Seattle and Utah Valley State are division one independents for basketball and would beg to join a league, Seattle has been trying to get into the WCC for a while and most recently tried to get into the WAC but were denied.
Even though BCS Executive director said that the Mountain West has a shot at becoming a BCS league, we all know he is being polite. The only way the Mountain West would gain access would be through an exemption, but even though TCU's stats would count toward the Mountain West, I find it hard to believe the BCS will give an exemption when a league just lost their best team (in regards to the BCS numbers since Utah and BYU's don't count).
Now, if they were to add two teams to get to a title game that would give the league a little bit more money the candidates would be Utah State, UTEP, Houston or SMU. Houston and SMU would have to be a package deal since adding one or the other would hurt travel wise such as with TCU. The other combination is to add Utah State and UTEP. Utah State had an offer around the time BYU was exploring their independence but declined to stay with the WAC and the other is UTEP. UTEP has history with about half of the league since they were in the pre-16 team WAC and Utah State will help keep The Mtn. on a lower tier on Comcast cable.
If the Mountain West wants to kill off the WAC for good they should add Utah State within a few months and with the conference scrambling going on with the other schools from the WAC, I could see C-USA and the MWC make a deal to bring UTEP to the Mountain West so that Louisiana Tech can take their spot. UTEP does not fit well geographically in C-USA since their closest teams in their own division is either the two Houston schools or SMU in Dallas, plus the league stretches to schools like Central Florida and East Carolina.
Ultimately I think the league will take out its anger on the WAC and remove that league by taking Utah State and then grabbing UTEP to have a 12 team league.
TCU basketball. Are we getting a mediocre program, a fairly poor program or a "competing with DePaul for the basement" program?
Mediocre is being kind. TCU has been at the bottom of the Mountain West ladder in hoops for a long time. Unless some recruits from Texas want to play in the Big East but not leave Texas, that is the only way I can see TCU getting any better in basketball. TCU will be at the bottom of the Big East for the foreseeable future.
We know all about the football program. Can you sell me on the other sports programs for TCU? What else is the Big East getting?
They are getting a top notch baseball team that went to the College World Series last year and has always been one of the top two or three teams in the Mountain West. Women's basketball is solid, they have been to the NCAA tournament seven times this decade with four conference titles, but we all know it is UConn's league. The rest of the teams are just eh. However, they do have a women's rifle and equestrian team.
Jeremy also penned an article called What Is Next For The Mountain West, check it out.