The big story from Monday is the fact that the TCU Horned Frogs will be joining the Big East Conference in all sports starting in the 2012-2013. As all conference news at the BCS level, this move was made with the football program in mind which is currently ranked third in the nation and in the hunt for the national championship. We were able to catch up with TCU head baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle and CBD’s senior staff members give their thoughts below. Coach Jim Schlossnagle on the increased competition in the Big East:
“Last year, the Mountain West was the ninth or 10th-best league and the Big East was No. 5. This is an upgrade from an RPI standpoint. They had two teams in that league hosted regionals last year. Louisville is traditionally a power in the conference. Connecticut hosted a regional and Notre Dame played in Omaha during the 2002 season.”
He continued on talking about if TCU would have the same advantages they currently enjoy in the Mountain West conference:
“Four or five years ago, you could have said that. I think we’ll have advantages because we’re in Texas and we’re going to try to sign the best players in Texas. With the season being shifted back and starting later, the better players in the New England area are starting to stay home which is going to make the league better. Connecticut is a perfect example, they may have two first-round picks this year.”
Brian Foley, Editor of College Baseball Daily
This move when you look at it quickly is very odd as TCU doesn’t fit in with the current Big East schools. When you start looking deeper into the move, this is not that odd as the Big East needed to get another football playing school and TCU is by far the best choice right now. It helps give the Big East a marquee football program after the losses of Miami, Virginia Tech, and to a lesser extent Boston College in the mid-2000′s. Yes, the travel is going to be slightly longer as they will be an average of 1,287 miles from campus in the Big East while in the Mountain West they are 1,011.
The Big East conference has certainly improved over the last couple of years in terms of being a player on the national stage as last season they finished with the sixth best RPI according to Boyd’s World while the Mountain West conference finished 10th. (Link). I am very interested in seeing how the impact on having the Horned Frogs changes the perception of the Big East on a national level as this year if TCU was in the conference, four schools have a legitimate shot at making the College World Series.
Mark Rafferty, Assistant Editor of College Baseball Daily
If TCU played in the Big East this season, the conference would have some of the most talented players in the country with 4 or 5 first round picks out of the conference. This move will be great for the conference RPI wise as TCU usually plays a tough out of conference schedule, which saw them have the ninth best RPI in 2010 (Link). With UConn and St John’s on the rise, as well as a consistently strong Louisville program, we could see the new conference getting more than 3 bids to the postseason once the move is completed. Also, if the Big 10/Big East Challenge is still going on in 2013, it could effect the Big 10 Conference RPI in a positive way. What will be interesting to see is who becomes the power in the Mountain West Conference. My money would be on New Mexico.
Kat Cornetta, Senior Writer for College Baseball Daily
The timing of this announcement is quite timely, since the Big East and their past few years of changes was the topic of discussion between a few co-workers and I last week. The Big East was overdue to add a school. Baseball wise, it seemingly is a good move – it ups their level of competition. However, from the looks of their 2011 schedule, the 2010 College World Series experience was going to help them bump up the level of their schedule anyway.
I also see the addition of a strong baseball program like TCU helping the growing program at UConn. I could see UConn and TCU developing a good baseball rivalry in the future.
Other sports wise, it gives Big East a football program it sorely needed. With TCU, the Big East has a team that is currently in the public consciousness, thus making the Big East a seemingly relevant football conference again. It remains to be seen if TCU remains a worthy football program, however, and I’m not one to speculate – college football is not my foray. Another interesting aspect of this move was raised by my Inside Lacrosse colleagues: could TCU’s addition pave the way for the first ever Texas based Division I men’s lacrosse program? A Texas based team would be huge for the growing sport.
What is your reaction to the TCU news? Comment below.