Joining the Big 12 could allow for more fans to travel to away games

Chancellor Victor Boschini announced Monday night that TCU would be moving to the Big 12 Conference in July 2012.

The university’s board of trustees had been meeting to discuss the two conference options, leading up to the announcement Monday. The topic of conference away games may have been brought up during these discussions. The distances between away games in the Big East Conference and the Big 12 varied greatly, and could have been a factor into the board’s decision.

TCU fans have a reputation of traveling well, but the distance between games makes it difficult for some to cheer on the Horned Frogs when they are on the road.

In the Mountain West Conference, TCU’s closest conference game is about 620 miles from Fort Worth (University of New Mexico). The farthest game for the 2011 season is about 1,584 miles away (Boise State University).

In the Big 12, the distances are a little different. The closest conference away game would be 86 miles away (Baylor University), which many TCU fans already traveled for the first game of the 2011 season. The farthest game would be about 771 miles away (Iowa State University). Although 771 miles is farther than New Mexico, it is closer than what the nearest game would have been in the Big East.

If TCU had gone to the Big East, like the plan was last November, the closest game would have been about 924 miles away (University of Louisville), which is 300 miles farther than New Mexico. The farthest game would have been about 1,742 miles away (University of Connecticut), which would have been farther than the Boise State game on Nov. 12.

Although more students are coming to TCU from California and the Northeast, having away games in these areas did not necessarily mean students would travel to those games. The football season takes place during the school year, meaning students have classes, tests, projects and work during the season. Keeping this in mind, students will be traveling to most away games – save ones that occur over university holidays or breaks – from Fort Worth. Also, even though, many students come from other parts of the country, many still come from parts of Texas that are represented in the Big 12.

Being a part of the Big 12 Conference now, could mean that students will have more opportunities to watch the Frogs face conference opponents, even if they are not playing at Amon Carter Stadium. The added incentive to TCU fans is that joining the Big 12 rekindles some old Southwest Conference rivalries, which some alumni might remember from when they were students at the university.

“We worked so hard to be here,” TCU Athletic Director Chris del Conte said during the press conference. “It’s an amazing time for us.”

Big 12
Baylor- 86 mi
Texas- 186 mi
Texas Tech- 306 mi
K-State- 495 mi
OU- 185 mi
OSU- 290 mi
Iowa State- 770 mi
Kansas- 514 mi
Missouri- 643 mi

Big East
Rutgers- 1576 mi
Pittsburgh- 1274 mi
Cincinnati- 977 mi
UWV- 1242 mi 
Louisville- 924 mi
Connecticut- 1742 mi
USF- 1140 mi
Syracuse- 1569 mi

Mountain West
Air Force- 704 mi
SDSU- 1334 mi
UNLV- 1189 mi
New Mexico- 620 mi
Boise State- 1584 mi
Wyoming- 898 mi
CSU- 817 mi