Moving conferences may not be the best option

Be careful what you wish, TCU faithful, because with conference realignment stewing and brewing, your Horned Frogs’ BCS appearances might go from endangered to extinct by 2016.

Scenario 1:

After head coach Gary Patterson received a contract extension through 2016, he stated that he believed TCU could win a national championship without being in a BCS conference.

But that was before real talk surfaced that the Mountain West may be divided and squandered; TCU’s Fiesta Bowl debacle may in fact have been its own Custer’s Last Stand.

Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said expansion is something that will be looked at with a fresh set of eyes.

If the Pac-10 plays Eastern Expansion and partakes in annexing BYU and/or Utah, the Mountain West may as well begin packing for its own Trail Of Tears.

The MWC has already been dogged by its lack of top-to-bottom competition. Without the Cougars and Utes providing the Horned Frogs with annual top-25 beef, TCU may be stuck with the Boise State situation – a great team, but playing against not-so-great opponents.

And if the Pac-10 successfully expands, forget about the MWC getting that automatic qualifier BCS bid.

Competing with Boise for the non-BCS slot in the Bowl Championship Series would be tough after losing to the Broncos on the big stage, and a weakened conference slate would probably give the edge to the Broncos.

While there has been some swirling about the MWC expanding itself, this expansion wouldn’t necessarily be adding quality to the conference.

TCU could end up the odd-man out, just like when the Southwest Conference folded. Five years after joining the MWC, TCU may be pushed back into relative obscurity, much like its WAC and Conference USA stints.

By 2016, Patterson may have come full circle since his arrival at TCU.

Scenario 2:

The Pac-10 would probably like to expand into the Colorado market, and stealing the University of Colorado from the Big 12 would leave a hole that would sensibly be filled by TCU in terms of location and old SWC ties.

The Big 10 has also made it clear in statements that the timing is right to look into expansion.

Although expanding into Northeastern states make sense in terms of market size, Missouri and Nebraska could also easily be plucked from the Big 12.

Once again, TCU would seem to be a viable candidate to fill at least one of the voids.

A dream come true, right? But the main argument made against non-BCS schools (that they do not play the annual slate of conference games that cannibalizes the Big 12 or SEC) holds much truth.

TCU would likely still not close the recruiting gap between Oklahoma and Texas, and it is likely that the Horned Frogs would fall into the ranks of the handful of Big 12 teams chasing the Sooners and Longhorns year after year.

Oklahoma and Texas make up eight of the last 10 Big 12 championship representatives in the BCS.

By 2016, TCU may have the clearer route to get to a BCS game if it were a member of the Big 12, but the road would be a far more difficult trek year after year.

While it seems Pac-10 and Big 10 expansion is likely, whichever conference makes the first move will dictate TCU and, inevitably, the MWC’s fate. Everything may work out just fine, but be careful what you wish for.

Ryne Sulier is a junior news-editorial journalism major from Plano