Monday Musings: Ever Seen A Horned Frog Fly?

I Don't See Any Wings

 

I think I vaguely remember hearing, some time ago, that Texas Christian University, of Horned From fame, will be joining the Big East conference for the 2012 season in all sports.  Did I mention that TCU is in Texas?  And, if I’m correct, the Big East is, well, not anywhere near Texas?  I also remember reading that the board at TCU voted unanimously in deciding that each and every sports team will have to travel a minimum of 866 miles per away game at least HALF of their respective seasons.  Huh?

Now, let’s be honest about this.  This was purely football driven… no, no, wait; strike that.  This decision was blatantly and purely BCS driven…yeah, that sounds about right.  I can’t imagine what all of the athletes in the TCU program thought when they heard the news about the switch to a league in another time zone, and to make it even more stark, not one team in the Big East is in their time zone.  You think the softball team or the track team is excited about this?  This was all about the football program getting an automatic bid in a BCS bowl, period.  The only kids doing high-fives are the Horned Frogs that wear helmets and pads.

Let’s talk about  what their schedule could look like come 2012.  The closest team, Louisville, is about 866 miles away.  The team furthest, at 1788 miles, is University of Connecticut.  I would absolutely hate to be the guy in charge of travel for the football team.  Can you imagine what that office will be going through if it finds out they have back-to-back away games at UConn and South Florida?  What a nightmare!  My only guess is that they will be “saving” money and maintenance on the ‘ole buses.

I’ve laid out the mileage for the 8 Big East schools from most to least.  Because it is a 9 team league, TCU will  play the other 8 and that means 4 away games every year with a minimum total mileage of at least 4,255 miles and a maximum of 6,106 miles (and if you think about it, the basketball teams will have it much, much, harder as all members of the league play basketball, instead of only the 8 that play football).

In all seriousness, though, I’m hoping that none of these kids academics suffer because of this.  It just seems a great deal to ask a student athlete to travel that much every week and still perform well in the classroom.  I wonder if the board members thought about that when they saw the dollar signs and the BCS glory for their beloved football team dancing around in their heads.  If nothing else, those frequent flyer miles should be off the hook.

Storrs, CT  1728.7 miles

Newark, NJ 1571.5 miles

Syracuse, NY 1555.4 miles

Pittsburgh, PA 1250.7 miles

Morgantown, WV 1233.9 miles

Tampa, FL 1190.8 miles

Cincinnati, OH 963.7 miles

Louisville, KY 866.8 miles

 

What are your thoughts on TCU’s move to the Big East? Is it justified? Will they be the class of Big East Football? Let us know with a comment what you’re thinking.

 

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Topics: BCS, Big East Football, TCU, TCU Horned Frogs

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  • http://none the rev

    No doubt this was BCS motivated, but your analyses may ignore some pertinent aspects:
    1) What are the distances from Montain West Schools?
    2) Distance is not important… door to door flight times are and since most travel time is no longer in air (Airport security, ground to and from airport, etc.) these tend to equal out
    3) Time zone works in favor of Big East. Compare when a student is back in dorm from evening game Syracuse vs San Diego… this is huge several hour swing in favor of gettng to class next day with prep work done.

    • E.C. Mercer

      the rev,

      Read some of my comments below to Eddie about flying time zones. I’ve done it and it’s no fun.

      And, don’t forget the time zone thing works both ways, not just East to West. Again, you probably won’t hear any complaints from the football team.

      I would also ask the board at TCU why the Big East? Why not the Pac-12 or the Big 12? At first blush it seems they took, minus the travel issue, the easy path to a BCS birth. Afterall, the Big East usually has no dominant team. Time will tell.

      • Frogman

        First, the average travel distance for TCU in the Big East is only 150 miles longer than in the MWC and the destinations are easier to get to. Try getting to Laramie in November.

        Second, you make it sound like the TCU Board had some kind of BCS conference free pass. The school doesn’t pick the conference, the conference picks the school. The SEC, Big12, Big10 and PAC10 weren’t calling. The Big East was.

        • http://www.piedaddy.com E.C. Mercer

          Listen, I hear you, the MWC is not “driving distance” friendly, but Laramie is no Storrs or Piscataway and my main point is geography matters. Imagine University of Central Florida joining the Big 12? Just doesn’t fit.

          I know I heard rumblings about the Big 12 at one time. That would have made more sense.

      • gohornedfrogs

        You aren’t seriously suggesting that TCU had or would be getting offers from the Big 12 or Pac-12 anytime, and opted for the Big East instead do you? Newsflash…that wasn’t going to happen — ever. TCU was never part of the Pac-12 discussion. As for the Big 12, TCU doesn’t deliver the Big 12 any additional television market share, and would be another mouth to feed. But to play along with your original argument — why would TCU want to be in a conference with UT, anyway? They will make approximately $38 million annually when you add up their TV deals, including the new Longhorn Network by ESPN. Schools like Baylor, Kansas, KState, Texas Tech and OSU will be getting about $12 million (which is what TCU would get). Why would a school voluntarily enter into a situation where there was a built-in competitive disadvantage for a majority of the schools within the conference?

        • Big Southern Dummy

          Did TCU even ask? I never heard them ask. They should beg to get in on national TV like when the Boise RB begged that girl to marry him.

          We’re in the SEC and we never heard TCU ask to join on the talk shows or in letters to the editor.

          I bet they could get in if they wanted since we got Obama and the Affirmative Action President would let in wherever they wanted.

          • Frogman

            “We’re in the SEC and we never heard TCU ask to join on the talk shows or in letters to the editor.”

            You’re a comic genius, BSD.

  • Eddie

    You are thinking high school travel. I don’t think they will be traveling by bus. Storrs is only a plane ride away. What they get back from being in a BCS school is worth the price of the ticket. Throw in the chance of getting into a BCS bowl every other year.

    • E.C. Mercer

      Eddie,

      Indeed they won’t be traveling by bus, but think real hard about the time it takes to make travel plans, get to the airport, fly to another time zone, do your business, and then fly back out agin the next day. It can be taxing.

      Some of my article was tongue in cheek, but Storrs is not close and flying halfway across the country two weeks in a row could take it’s toll. And, yes, this will be worth it….to the football team if they make a BCS bowl game. I would bet money on the basketball teams not feeling the same way with the new conference since there is no BCS bowl games to play for.

      • mrh2232

        You mean it will be more difficult to fly east than say going to Laramie (fly to Denver and then take a bus???) one week and then Boise the next, as TCU will be doing this November?

  • Joe Owens

    E.C.,
    Love the article. I was very disappointed when TCU made the announcement. Geographically it doesn’t make since. I was hoping the Big XII came calling…now that addition would of been stellar for both TCU & the Big XII. TCU should dominate in football and baseball but they will be getting it handed to them on the hardwood.

  • E.C. Mercer

    Joe,

    As Frogman stated above, the travel is indeed not TOO much more with some MWC locations. But, it just seems like a bad fit. I always thought college sports should be a regional thing. The NFC East doesn’t bother me so much because they wanted to keep those rivalries (Cowboys, Redskins, etc.) after they realigned the NFL and I get that.

    I felt the same way when Boston College joined the ACC as I do about TCU; just “weird”.

    I’m going to try and do some reasearch this week about the Big XII to see if there was some “feelers’ at one point. I would also be very curious as to why the other major conferences didn’t invite TCU if that is the case.

    • Frogman

      There were never any “feelers”. The driving force behind expansion is TV markets to enhance network contracts and the Big 12, with UT and A&M, have the DFW market wrapped up. TCU, even though nationally ranked in football, adds nothing to the Big 12 that it doesn’t already have, market-wise. Dan Beebe, Big 12 commissioner, is on record as saying the Big 12 is not interested in adding any more Texas schools.

      In 1995 when the old Southwest Conference folded, TCU was dumped in the gutter and left for dead by the four schools that joined the Big 8 to form the Big 12. Now that TCU has resurrected its football program, the prospect of re-entering a conference (known as the Bevo 10 here in Fort Worth) where all the shots are called from Austin is not that appealing. If the Bevo 10 doesn’t want us, that’s fine. We’re happy to be joining the Big East.

      • http://www.piedaddy.com E.C. Mercer

        I’m not doubting you, Frogman, but if the TV Market reason was the driving force behind the Big XII, than that’s the Big XII’s loss. I am much more compelled to watch an annual Texas/TCU match up than I ever will a Pitt/TCU or a UCONN/TCU match up.

    • Big Southern Dummy

      150 miles makes a huge difference when gas is $4 a gallon AND UP. Of coarse it is.

  • TopFrog

    Thanks for what will hopefully be the dumbest thing I’ve read today.

    • 2314

      Why isn’t there a bacon flavored bagel?

  • Joe

    You lost all credibility when you asked “why not the PAC-12, or Big-12?” I mean…do you even have a clue what you are writing about? Clearly…college football is not your primary area of focus.

    I mean shoot, if we just got to pick and choose what conf we want to join based on our pretty little wishes…I’d probably prefer the NFC West…

  • Gary Pointer

    The MWC schools are just as far and across TWO time zones. On top of that, traveling home after a west coast game is a killer. The Big East should be a piece of cake.

  • gohornedfrogs

    E.C. — Only a handful of sports will do “home-and-home” series each year. For instance, TCU baseball will play against many Big 12 teams, and teams like Houston, Rice, Dallas Baptist prior to the conference tournament. They will only see the Big East teams during the conference tournament. Tennis and golf will be similar (they play national tournaments, anyway). And it’s a lot easier to fly into some of the Big East cities than it is to some of the MWC cities. Look at a map and tell me that another 30 minutes or so on a plane is a really big difference when you compare traveling from DFW to Boise, ID or Fresno, CA or to Storrs, CT?

  • Big Southern Dummy

    What about the equipment truck? It has to drive and diesel is getting on up there. That could bust the budget.

    Oh well, after the 21st, it don’t matter no how.

    • Bill

      If there was a back to back road game, the truck would just be loaded with extra supplies and wouldnt make the trip back to TCU between games. The gas would be killer, but the drive doesnt get much farther than Ft. Worth to San Diego or to Laramie like it has done.

      Also, much less mountain driving to go through since the Appalachians are not nearly as bad as the Rockies. Just my 2 cents anyway.

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  • GFWill

    E.C.,

    Don’t quit your day job. Oh, and if this is your day job find another line of work…

    • Big Southern Dummy

      It seems to be a avocation. I took one of those once. Just me and free time and some home maid guacamole.

      What is your favorite form of staycation?

  • Bill

    You are aware that TCU currently plays in the MWC, where the travel is just as bad right? Also glaringly obvious is that TCU does not have a softball team, and it would seem you are just a two bit hack journalist that doesnt like to do any research at all before making yourself look foolish and uninformed.

    At least visit the team site next time before spouting off more crap. (the team site is http://www.gofrogs.com since I doubt you knew that already.)

    • FrogMountain

      Hilarious ariticle! The whole premise – that TCU had it’s choice of BCS conference and chose the Big East – is so unbelievably stupid that you can stop reading at that point. TCU was stuck in a revenue-challenged non-BCS conference and had to fly 1000 miles WEST for every game. Now they are in a BCS conference with signifincantly more TV revenue, and have to fly 1000 miles EAST. But hey, why not just join the Big 12 instead – uh, because they won’t have us, pure and simple.

      What is the agenda behind this stupidity? I really don’t get it.

  • mrh2232

    How about doing some basic research to find out that:
    a. No other MWC teams are in the Central Time Zone and a few are even in the Pacific Time Zone (2 time zones away);
    b. The distance TCU will travel will not be increased by much, especially when you consider the MWC added Boise St. and is adding Fresno St. (I’d rather go to Cincy) & Nevada.
    c. Olympic sports will mainly compete in the conference tournaments rather than playing a typical conference schedule;
    d. TV;
    e. The Big XII -2 and PAC 12 didn’t invite TCU so it’s not like TCU had options like a trophy wife buying a car. It might have made some sense for the PAC 12 but not much sense for the Big XII -2.

  • http://www.killerfrogs.com Anom

    Poorly written article. No way around that. As a journalist the first thing you learn is that you have to fact check. TCU doesn’t have a softball team. TCU is currently in the MWC which doesnt offer a team in the Central Time Zone as it is and spans two time zones which make it even more difficult to get back at a good hour. The travel time is only I think 150+ miles more coming back from the big east and TCU will gain an hour while the current BE teams will only lose an hour and with most BE games being earlier in the day compared to later games in the MWC, no difference there.

    TCU will have a renovated stadium that will be state of the art and one of the nicest in college football, there was zero mention of that in the article and I feel that is a big part of this deal. New renovated football stadium, new baseball stadium, talks now to renovate DMC (the basketball stadium). The soccer facilities are already above par and the only thing TCU does not have that is big in the BE is lacrosse.

    This makes every bit of sense for TCU to the big east, who would want to be in the big12-2 the way it currently sits? Look 10 years down the road with the conference Armageddon has happened and the dust settles and then maybe there is a change.

    I am very happy about this, we have played a few of these teams in the old Conf USA and we get to keep our region rivalries that we currently have.

  • http://dallassportsrant.com Jamie

    1. University of Nevada 1,644 mi
    2. Boise State 1,604 mi
    3. Fresno State 1,543 mi
    4. San Diego State 1,332 mi
    5. Wyoming 918 mi
    6. Colorado State 840 mi
    7. Air Force 720 mi
    8. New Mexico 626 mi

    And don’t forget the non-conference games this football team has played in the past recent years:

    At Clemson: 911 miles
    At Virginia: 1,212 miles
    At Stanford: 1,704 miles

    Or all those games against Utah (1,241 miles) and BYU (1,197 miles)

    The list goes on. My point is, TCU has traveled all over the country for years now, moving to the Big East won’t have that big of an impact. As for the other sports, I agree with what previous posters have said. The scheduling for these sports is such that a student-athlete isn’t placed in situations detrimental to their education.

    Also, find an offer from any other conference besides the Big East and then say TCU should have gone somewhere else. You can’t attack a school for moving to a BCS conference that has for so long now done it’s best to keep schools like TCU from profiting to the fullest. It actually keeps every school from profiting to the fullest, but that’s an argument for a different day.

  • E.W. Kirk

    Your column is hardly timely and indicates a stunning misunderstanding of TCU, the Almost-Big XXII, The Mountain West and realities of BCS football.
    Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor denied TCU access to the Not-Quite-Big XII.
    Mountain West travel requirements are even worse than those of the Big East.
    Also, you should note that the decision to add those trips means that other Big East schools will travel the same distances as TCU. They elected to do that. It was not a decision made solely by TCU. The invitation came from the Big East.
    Anyway, your column is silly and should have been written six months ago.

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  • http://www.piedaddy.com E.C. Mercer

    Well, it seems I’ve ruffled a few feathers with this article, and clearly the ones so upset are TCU fans. Understandable, I think??

    Let’s get a few things straight and then I’ll let you continue with your comments.

    First, it was mostly a “tongue in cheek’ opinion article, questioning a move by a clearly BCS motivated school, who was joining a conference clearly outside of their region. As I commented to “Frogman” it is clearly the Big XII’s loss that TCU wasn’t invited and we will all be the poorer for it when it comes to some very good football games with some regional flare.

    Second, I wasn’t bashing TCU in anyway, but was questioning the motivations of the board, and am not the only person to do so, by the way.

    Lastly, indeed I’m not a investigative journalist, and though I will always fact check important statistical information, I threw the women’s softball team out as an example.

    So, I guess I’ll scratch getting any Holiday Cards from TCU fans off my list and will be the poorer for it.

  • Frogman

    Aw, E.C., I’ll keep you on my Christmas card list. It’s just that my Frog bretheren and I can be a little irritible sometimes about conference affiliation. As I noted earlier, we were left for dead by the SWC in 1995 and have clawed our way back to relevance (via the WAC, C-USA, MWC and now the Big East) by way of this “chip-on-the-shoulder” attitude.

    In a perfect college football world, competition and regional rivalries would be the focus. In the real world that takes a back seat to TV ratings, network contracts and this corrupt scam called “the BCS”. The move to the Big East is just latest example of TCU playing the hand it is dealt.

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