The Big 12 Conference can officially call TCU and West Virginia members as of midnight.
It was months ago that it was announced the intentions of
Texas A&M and Missouri to head to the SEC and the Horned Frogs and
Mountaineers to replace those two members to keep the Big 12 at ten teams.
Some people have questioned the strength of the Big 12
against the SEC, but when you step back and take a look at not what is being
lost from the Big 12, but rather what is being added, it is very exciting.
TCU and West Virginia could be keyed as two of the best up
and coming programs in the last 10 years.
Before the rise of both of these programs, they were merely
an afterthought when it came to talking about bowl games, March Madness and the
College World Series, but now they are teams that are to be reckoned with in
all of those areas and much more.
In football, both programs, especially TCU, have proven time
and time again, size of a school doesn’t matter, put on a national stage and they
In 2011, TCU finished 11-2 overall and 7-0 in the Mountain
West Conference and capped the season with a 31-24 win against LA Tech in the
Poinsettia Bowl. West Virginia, in the first year under the direction of Dana Holgorsen, finished 10-3 and tied for first in the Big East
and capped their season with a 70-33 demolishing of Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
In men’s basketball both programs finished in the middle of
the pack in their respective conferences in 2012, both finishing with .500
marks in conference play, but both with overall winning records on the season.
On the women’s side, TCU finished 16-14 overall and 9-5 in
MWC play, and ended their season in the Mountain West Conference Quarterfinals
game against Wyoming. While the TCU women’s team did not see post-season play,
West Virginia entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 8 team in the country. The
Lady Mountaineers made it to the second round before falling to then-No. 1
Stanford. Despite the loss, West Virginia still finished 24-10 on the season.
In baseball, TCU in the past few seasons has made the climb
into the area of nationally prominent program. The Horned Frogs had won
six-straight MWC crowns entering 2012, but got beat by San Diego State in the
MWC tournament this year.
Once in the tourney, TCU knocked out former Big 12 member
Texas A&M, going 4-1 in the College Station Regional to move on to play
UCLA in the next round, where the Horned Frogs fell short,
On the other hand for the Mountaineers, the season ended
early for the team, not making it to the post-season, but the program, which
was formed in 1892, has amassed more than 1,950 wins and 12 NCAA Appearances as
And the list goes on an on, with softball, volleyball, soccer,
gymnastics, rifle, track and field, swimming, rowing, golf, equestrian and many
more sports both universities field.
But the fact is, TCU and West
Virginia add a lot to the Big 12.
You look at the big sports, little sports, all up and down
the board, the Mountaineers and Horned Frogs are not just going to be the new
kids on the block in the 2012-2013 seasons, but there is a very good chance
they could both make some noise and take home a few Big 12 crowns.
Yes, the grind is different, with Top 25 teams on the
schedule week in and week out now, instead of the occasional meetings
throughout the season.
And West Virginia will have to figure in the travel as they
sit alone in their area of the country, with all of the Big 12 member schools
presiding in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa, for now.
But the previous success seen by both of these programs in
all sports will carry over into the Big 12 and not only will make the Big 12
arguably stronger in football, but also every other sport as well.
So welcome to the Big 12, West Virginia and TCU, it should
be an interesting and exciting roller coaster in 2012 for both these schools
and the rest of the Big 12, as the conference has a new look, some new teams
and some new logos.
In the end it is still the Big 12 and it is time for a new
era, for a conference that has fallen apart and come together as one with a new
commish and new teams for the 2012 season, to start.
And it starts now.