Two days after our own Dennis Dodd passed along the reports that the Big East was targeting TCU for membership, and a day after athletic director Chris Del Conte issued an ambiguous "no comment" on the issue, it is being reported that the two sides have met and discussed a possible move that would bring the Horned Frogs to the Big East.
Del Conte has been unavailable for comment to the media while away on business in New York and Philadelphia, but the Dallas Morning News is reporting that discussions have already taken place, even within the last month.
TCU has met with Big East officials within the past 30 days to discuss the logistics of a move by TCU in either the 2011 or 2012 seasons, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Del Conte, TCU's sports information department said, was in Philadelphia for meetings about Mountain West Conference television contracts with MWC commissioner Craig Thompson.
One source said Villanova, which was invited to join the Big East in football several weeks ago but has yet to decide if it's interested, is potentially a modifying factor regarding TCU joining the conference. It's unclear whether a move by Villanova, which currently plays in the Football Championship Subdivision, to the Football Bowl Subdivision (previously known as Division I) Big East, would enhance or detract from TCU's possible inclusion. Villanova already competes in the Big East in other sports, including the 16-team basketball conference and the 12-team baseball conference.
TCU joined the Mountain West Conference back in 2005, and would be anxious to make another move with the departure of Utah and arrival of Boise State after this season. The Mountain West was excited to get the Broncos with hope of getting AQ status, but those discussions have faded. Now, the Horned Frogs best option may be to revitalize a conference that many feel are on the verge of losing their AQ status.
The Big East has openly admitted to constantly evaluating options for expansion and new television deals. Bringing in TCU would open up Big East football to a whole new market, and likely would bring with it a more lucrative television deal.
Aside from the obvious geographical concerns, there are also identity issues that could be caused by adding a Texas school to the Big East. Though after adding DePaul and Marquette to the conference for basketball, it is clear the Big East has no problems reaching out to the Midwest. Several alternative conference names have been suggested, and we here at the College Football Blog are open to more. Drop your new conference name suggestions in the comments below, or tweet them to us @CBSSportsNCAAF.