Ever since the news broke that TCU will be joining the Big East, a lot of the reaction to the news has been that having a school from Texas in a conference called the Big East doesn't make a lot of sense. The state of Texas is a lot of things, but being in the east isn't one of them.
Hell, when you think of Texas, you get visions of cowboy movies and the Old West. Still, people who live east of the Mississippi River tend to forget that on the west side of that mighty river, there is a whole lot of land. So, in an effort to show those who think that having TCU in the Big East doesn't make much sense that it's not as crazy an idea as they think, I did a little research.
I checked out the distance between TCU, located in Fort Worth, Texas, and the cities of the schools in the Big East and Mountain West. Now, when using the Mountain West, I used the conference as it will look, not as it does now.
That means I took out Utah and BYU, and replaced them with Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State. This is what I found.
Distance From TCU to Mountain West Schools
- Air Force - 595 miles
- Boise State - 1268 miles
- Colorado State - 692 miles
- Fresno State - 1,304 miles
- Nevada - 1,338 miles
- New Mexico - 560 miles
- San Diego State - 1,153 miles
- UNLV - 1,043 miles
- Wyoming - 747 miles
Distance From TCU to Big East Schools
- Cincinnati - 845 miles
- Connecticut - 1,508 miles
- Louisville - 754 miles
- Pitt - 1,097 miles
- Rutgers - 1,377 miles
- South Florida - 946 miles
- Syracuse - 1,352 miles
- West Virginia - 1,078 miles
Now, the total distance between TCU and the schools of the new Mountain West is 8,700 miles, or an average of 966.7 miles per school. In the Big East the total distance is 8,957 miles, or an average of 1,119.6 miles.
So, yes, there is a difference between the two conferences. TCU will travel more for Big East games than it did for Mountain West, but we're not quite done yet. Remember, the Big East isn't going to stop at TCU, it's going to add a tenth team.
The likely candidates for this are UCF and Villanova. If Villanova joins the Big East in football the numbers grow a bit. TCU would then have to travel an average of 1,142,8 miles per school. If UCF joined, the average trip would lower to 1,105.3 miles per school.
So the difference remains, but it's not as big of one as you thought, is it?
There's also another factor we need to consider when it comes to TCU and its traveling schedule. You see, in the Mountain West where you have to impress pollsters to get into a BCS game by playing respected programs, you have to travel in your non-conference schedule. You have to take on the Oregon States, or the Virginia Techs.
Which adds to the travel.
In the Big East, though, this is no longer the case. All you have to do to get to a BCS game in the Big East is win the Big East. Which means that TCU can adopt the same strategy as every other BCS conference powerhouse, and schedule FCS sacrificial lambs during the first month of the season.
All of whom would be coming to Fort Worth, not the other way around. Plus, if TCU kept an annual game with SMU, that isn't a long trip at all. So, what the Horned Frogs would gain in frequent flier miles during conference play, they'd be saving a lot more miles at home during September.
So think about that next time the idea of TCU in the Big East blows your mind.