TCU has been in five different conferences over the past 16 years, and is the James Franco of college football teams. Oh, you're making a soap opera in the Southwest Conference right now? How ironic, Horned Frogs. Getting your Master's of Fine Arts in the WAC? Well, sure, friends. Doing a brief stop in Conference USA before making a cameo in the Mountain West? Your diversity of interests rivals that of a hobo with restless leg syndrome and a scorching case of ADHD, Texas Christian.
Now for their latest postmodern football adventure, TCU will make their most meta move ever: joining and leaving a conference without ever playing a football game in said conference. The Big 12 extended an invite to TCU this morning, an invite the school will likely accept.
This move was made possible the second Oklahoma opted to stay in the Big 12, thus guaranteeing that the Big 12 would be a fat man with clean plates in the cannibal's buffet that is conference realigment, and not one of the unfortunate meals strapped to the table. With Texas A&M gone to the SEC, the Big 12 needed a tenth member, and--well, look at that. There sits a fine football program in the state of Texas playing the part of cowboy oddball in the middle of a largely Mid-Atlantic football conference with serious stability issues.
The move makes perfect sense for TCU. Their TV money is guaranteed by the Big 12's new deal, and they maintain their claims on the recruiting trail of calling athletes to play at a BCS program in a major conference. Consequently, the Big East now may not be able to claim: with the loss of TCU to the Big 12 and Syracuse and Pitt to the ACC, the Big East's total membership will fall to six teams, two teams below the eight required to be a BCS conference. The Big East must add two teams before Pitt and Syracuse depart the conference, and now you see why TCU even entertained the offer in the first place. The Horned Frogs jumped ship, found the lower compartments flooded, and caught a ride on the next freighter in sight.
You might call it disloyalty, but you'll have to do it while treading water. TCU is dry and sipping grog above deck while you're the ones in the water, Big East, and on life's big scoreboard that goes firmly in the "W" column. TCU IS James Franco IN: Ben-Hur the Musical! This is the part where he survives a shipwreck. The part where TCU has to play Oklahoma and Texas in the same season will be the chariot race, of course, but with a twist! (Spoiler! TCU dies and the movie ends abruptly.)