Last night I tossed up a fan shot about how TCU is on the radar to joining the Big 12 instead of the Big East. The news was first reported by Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com and basically said that TCU is moving up the list of expansion candidates which has been reported of including Air Force and BYU.
It has been thought for a long time that BYU is the top choice to join the Big 12, however BYU maybe cooling off from joining the Big 12 due to the recent instability of the league. However, the Big 12 is working on a new media rights deal that will split all first and second-tier rights evenly and hand them over to the Big 12 for the next six years. Nothing is official on that deal, but that is what is expected to happen.
Basically, the first and second-tier rights are owned by the Big 12 which means if a team goes to another league such as Oklahoma to the Pac-12, the Big 12 would still retain the rights to broadcast home Oklahoma games.
That should give BYU some peace of mind about joining the Big 12, however in the mean time as they are reportedly dragging their feet TCU could be in line for the 10th spot. Even with Texas A&M leaving to the SEC the amount of money within the Big 12s rights deal would stay the same by adding TCU.
The Horned Frogs have a tough decision to make going forward, because they could join the Big East who just lost two flagship members or join the Big 12 which is what many TCU fans have wanted all along. It would put them in a more geography friendly conference and put them back in the same league as Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech.
TCU would been in a tougher conference by having to get past Texas and Oklahoma for a conference title. However, the Big East provides a very realistic chance to win that league from the beginning since outside of West Virginia there are no consistent powerhouse teams. The Big East is still not stable since they have seven football playing members and it takes eight to become a recognized FBS league, however the WAC has been given an exception in 2012 as they will have eight members but two are provisional since they are moving up from FCS to FBS. The assumption is that the Big East will get back to at least eight members and retain BCS status, but the league will be not as strong.
The safest spot for TCU looks to be the Big 12, assuming the new deal regarding first and second-tier rights is agreed upon. With the Big 12 in the picture it seems that an offer to re-join the Mountain West would be rejected by TCU.