In a rare conference realignment move that actually made sense for everyone involved, the Big 12 offered an invite to TCU to join its conference on Thursday and it is believed the school will accept.
So much of conference realignment talks have predicated on schools trying to secure more money and stability, but rarely does it actually center on what's a good fit for all involved. Some pairings have made sense -- Nebraska to the Big 10 for starters -- but so many of the rumors and possible expansion moves made very little sense outside of more money for the school.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to the Pac-12? Missouri to the SEC?
Those pairings make sense on paper, but none of those schools make geographic or cultural sense.
But TCU to the Big 12? That makes a boatload of sense and frankly, it's reassuring to see some clarity and rationale in the constantly changing, maddening world of college realignment news.
TCU managed to not only gain more money and stability in heading to the Big 12 instead of the Big East, which it agreed to do in 2010, but it found a better fit for its athletic programs.
TCU -- desperate to get into a power conference -- agreed to join the Big East in 2010 and officially move all of its athletic programs into the conference in 2012. The Big East isn't much of an Eastern conference anymore -- not with schools like Marquette and DePaul at least -- but even with the move away from the East, TCU still was never a great geographic or cultural fit.
TCU got its chance at power conference football, while the Big East gained some stability and an entry point into the lucrative Texas television markets.
It was the perfect example of everything is dominating realignment talks right now -- money and stability.
But it was never going to be a perfect marriage. No pairing of two desperate partners is ever built to survive in the long run.
TCU and the Big East would have used each other for what they could, but it could never match the potential partnership that TCU can have with the Big 12. Especially not with Pittsburgh and Syracuse already bailing for the ACC and Louisville and West Virginia also rumored targets of other conferences.
TCU gets all of the extra perks of going to a big conference, as well as the benefits of natural rivalries, easy away game traveling for its fans, and other things that are often ignored when it comes to expansion talks.
The Big 12 still isn't the beacon of stability, especially with Missouri one foot out the door for the SEC, but it's in significantly better shape than the Big East. In addition to extending an invite to TCU on Thursday, the conference also approved grant of rights for six years and banned Texas' Longhorn Network from televising high school football games.
Within the past few weeks, the Big 12 has solved almost all of its issues, while the Big East continues to dig itself into a deeper hole.
A few Big 12 schools, notably Oklahoma, grumbled about commissioner Dan Beebe's incompetency, Texas' Longhorn Network, and about doing something to secure the conference's long-time future.
In two weeks, the Big 12 has solved all of those issues and more.
By moving to the Big 12, TCU gained all of the perks that seem to have motivated everyone else in expansion, but also gained all the little benefits that are often overlooked.
"These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU," TCU chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. said in a statement. "It will allow us to return to old rivalries, something our fans and others have been advocating for many years. As always, we must consider what's best for TCU and our student-athletes in this ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics."
In the crazy college football realignment carousel, TCU actually achieved a rationale outcome.
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