Every time you think the conference realignment carousel has stopped spinning, someone goes and gives it another push.
This time it's the Big East, if the New York Post's Lenn Robbins is to be believe. Robbins is reporting that two sources close to the league say the conference is actively pursuing TCU as a member
"We are in a situation that requires us to evaluate and analyze all our options including expansion and television," said a source close to the league who requested anonymity. "There are a dozen or so schools that we’re looking at."
One source stressed that there have been no meetings among Big East presidents or ADs to discuss membership. But that source also said expansion has altered the way conferences think. The fact that TCU hardly matches the Big East footprint is a tertiary concern."
While it seems like a big stretch for a conference with the word East in the title to invite a school from Texas, the fact remains that the conference needs a ninth member to solidfy its football side and they could do a lot worse than the Horned Frogs. TCU has been one of the best teams in the nation over the last five season and is currently ranked in the top five of all major polls.
However, that leads to the next question..what else does TCU bring to the table? They don't offer many other top tier athletics programs. Their basketball team will be a bottom-feeder in a conference that's already too bloated. Throw in the geographic and tradition differences and it makes you wonder if the Big East has traded in any long-term strategy for a short-term solution.
Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician floats out another possibility as well. That this is all just a smokescreen to force Villanova into moving up to FBS for football. While not the big splash of taking on a TCU, the Wildcats would make a lot more traditional and geographic sense. If the conference got a school like TCU to join for football, they wouldn't need Villanova's program anymore. Expect to hear movement on that end in the next few days.
When the Big Ten was potentially stealing schools like Pitt and Rutgers from the Big East a few months back, Big East consultant Paul Tagliabue bristled at the idea that Northeastern audiences would be interested in watching Rutgers take on Minnesota. You have to wonder then, why they'd be that much more interested in watching TCU and Rutgers square off. Especially in basketball.
That said, the conference clearly has to act quick in order to solidify itself and its future. An addition like TCU would be a fantastic short-term solution. The long-terms effects remain to be seen.
Keep an eye on Mountain West Connection for any TCU-related updates.