If Tuesday's report in the New York Post suggesting TCU is on the Big East's radar caught Horned Frogs football coach Gary Patterson by surprise, perhaps he's had his nose buried in playbooks.
"Surprised," Patterson said via text message. "I have been working on CSU."
OK then. During football season, Patterson is a here-and-now guy and that means full-time preparations for Saturday's Mountain West opener at Colorado State. But, what if in a few years the conference opener was at Syracuse or UConn or Pittsburgh or West Virginia or Louisville? And what if the end game was an automatic bid to a BCS game? Should TCU be intrigued?
"Don't know!" Patterson typed. "Too busy to think about it right now!"
The man TCU pays to know, athletic director Chris Del Conte, did not return a phone message.
Right now, Patterson knows he can't afford to lose. One loss and the No. 5 Frogs won't be going to any BCS game. That's not the case for teams in the six major conferences that have automatic access to BCS games and millions of dollars in revenue annually.
But, does the Big East make sense for TCU? At first it would seem the Big East makes no sense logistically for sports other than football. But, that argument loses steam when you consider the new Mountain West once Utah and BYU leave and Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada come in.
"Travel is about the same," Patterson noted, and it is.
The bottom line is it might not be safe for TCU to hold out for an invite to the new Big 12 with 10 teams. And, who knows when the next major conference shakeup occurs and where it will shuffle schools. As TCU knows well, there are no guarantees.
The real winner in a move to the Big East might just be the men's basketball program, the one underachieving sport at TCU. The Big East is a college powerhouse and it could open all kinds of recruiting avenues, not to mention bringing in nationally ranked programs to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum every week, including Pitt and its coach, TCU's own Jamie Dixon.
For those concerned about TCU's baseball program, the Big East boasts a 12-team league. What's so special about MWC baseball again?
According to the report, everything is preliminary. Even so, it is intriguing.