July 22, 2012

Coaching hype or true: TCU, West Virginia better for Big 12?

It may not be hype that the league improved overall in the subs for Texas A&M, Missouri.

No offense to Texas A&M and Missouri, two fine institutions with historic athletic programs, but the Big 12 Conference, at least in football, improved with the additions of TCU and West Virginia.

At least that's the sentiment that was shared by the league's football coaches during the spring media teleconference.

None of them wanted to see the Aggies and Tigers leave, but if it was going to happen, the league could hardly have done better in football than the Horned Frogs and Mountaineers.

Both have excelled in recent years, both bring 2011 conference titles to the Big 12 -- TCU in the Mountain West and West Virginia in the Big East -- and both have made multiple trips to BCS bowl games.

Coaches are going to defend their league, of course, and tout its toughness whether it was North Texas and West Virginia Community College joining their ranks, but on paper, at least, there's no overhype about the recent accomplishments of TCU and West Virginia.

Expect the cheerleading to continue as the Big 12 holds its media days today and Tuesday at The Westin Galleria in North Dallas.

TCU coach Gary Patterson, along with quarterback Casey Pachall, offensive lineman Blaize Foltz, and defensive linemen Stansly Maponga and Ross Forrest, enter the media maelstrom at 10 a.m. today.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby will kick off the two-day event with a state of the conference address at 9 a.m. today.

Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas State and Texas Tech are also on tap today. Texas, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia go Tuesday.

"It's not the finish line, it's the starting line," Bowlsby said July 1 when TCU's move from the Mountain West was official.

"We've got a lot of exciting things going forward. It's a day of celebration and a day to think about what the Big 12 can be. The addition of West Virginia and TCU are a big part of our future."

The inclusion of TCU and West Virginia help the league's football bona fides, while also making it as stable as it has been in years after the departures of Colorado and Nebraska to the Pac-12 and Big 10 in 2011.

The league members reportedly were close to a 13-year granting of rights -- departing the league means leaving TV rights behind -- that helps secure pending deals with Fox and ESPN. The two TV deals combined are worth about $2.5 billion over 13 years. Each school is expected to earn about $20 million per year under the terms.

"The league is very stable," Bowlsby said. "We're putting together a new [bowl] game in conjunction with the SEC, which is going to be terrific."

TCU and West Virginia each have two BCS bowl appearances in the past five years and a combined seven bowl wins.

Texas A&M and Missouri have no BCS appearances and a combined four bowl wins in the past five years.

Both the Aggies and Tigers won bowls last season but have only three seasons combined with 10 or more wins (all by Missouri) in the past five years. TCU and West Virginia have six 10-win seasons combined and WVU was 9-4 three times.

"I just think TCU has a tremendous amount of momentum," Bowlsby said.

"It's built upon finishing Amon G. Carter Stadium and 10 great years of Horned Frog football. I just think it's a really good partnership between the university and the city."

TCU's regional location in the Dallas-Fort Worth area was cited by several coaches as a boon for the league by attracting more media coverage. Bowlsby, who recently took over for interim commissioner Chuck Neinas, said TCU and West Virginia add a boost of potential coverage.

"It helps us with the brand of the Big 12, the stability of the Big 12; I think it brings additional interest to the media products that are available in the Dallas-Fort Worth area," Bowlsby said.

"I think there is an almost unlimited number of advantages it creates for the league and for TCU. I think because of TCU's prominence, especially in football the last few years, they're a national brand at this point. They've had terrific exposure and terrific success. Every indication is that will continue."

"The cache that West Virginia brings with their East Coast influence is really significant," he added. "It helps us get into media markets we wouldn't probably otherwise be getting to."

Better bona fides

The past five seasons TCU and West Virginia have accomplished more than the two schools they are replacing. Here's a look at the last five seasons:


10-win seasons

BCS bowls

Top 25 BCS finishes

West Virginia












Texas A&M




Stefan Stevenson


Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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