What’s Going On With Conference Realignment?

So a few things have changed since last we addressed conference realignment. It looks like the Big East is trying to court TCU and Villanova. Memphis and UCF are the back ups. The WAC is making a splash by being the first step for a lot of little guys into the big time. Who are they you ask?

It looks like the WAC is going to invite the University of Texas San Antonio, Texas State and Denver to the conference. Denver has no football team and neither does UTSA. However, in 2011 UTSA will field an independent FCS football team that will jump to the FBS in the 2012 season. Denver will compete in all sports except football.

Does anyone else not get this? You don’t just go from FCS to FBS. It doesn’t work that way. As we said here before, there are a lot of requirements to making this jump. It doesn’t happen when you feel like it. I’m not sure why no one at ESPN has figured this out, but they seem to leave it out of their reporting every time.

So maybe this will happen, but not in the time table they think. Here’s what will happen with the WAC. They will get Denver, UTSA and Texas State. Then Montana will want to make the jump to the FBS and the MWC if they have any sense at all will be courting them. The WAC will settle for trying to get Seattle but probably won’t succeed. Can we say washed up conference? The glory days of the WAC, if there were any, are long gone.

The intriguing story is the Big East. They want to get to 10 football schools. Obviously in an ideal world they could get Villanova into the FBS, and I think it is likely to happen. But TCU? From the Big East’s perspective it works out great. You get a foot hold in Texas and you get a big, big boost to your football schedule. But you don’t worry about adding anymore to your bread and butter of men’s basketball because TCU sucks. They bring football and that’s all you want them for.

Now from TCU’s perspective. Travel is definitely more. They can get to New Mexico, Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming much faster (and cheaper) than Syracuse, Rutgers or Pittsburgh. On the other hand, you can play in a conference with an automatic bid to the BCS. You also don’t have to worry about playing Boise State every year and knocking you out of the BCS. The Big East is certainly an upgrade in pedigree to the MWC.

But wait a second, the Big 12 is down 2 members next year. Everyone knows Texas is getting ready to jump ship on the conference and go independent to keep their money for themselves. Why wouldn’t TCU be an attractive replacement in a few years? So if you are TCU, do you bail to the Big East or hold out for the Big 12? I’m not sure but it will be interesting to watch as it all unfolds.