How does TCU help long term?
For football, the Big East schools can schedule one less OOC game going forward. I don't believe that it will result in an increase in the number of ESPN telecasts, even though it will result in more Big East conference games that are part of the ESPN contract from 28 to 36. There will be more Big East games available on Saturdays too as I don't expect games to be moved to weeknights without TV.
Men's basketball is a weaker sport for TCU. They'll get a few more nationally televised games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. As it has been explained to me, the conference will continue to play 18 conference games, but instead of having three repeat matchups, each school will have two repeat games and TCU will be slotted in to the schedule.
In terms of travel and game times, there shouldn't be a major difference. TCU won't have the late evening games that they could have on the mtn. or CBS College if they travel to UNLV, San Diego St., and New Mexico, not to mention future MWC members Fresno St., Nevada and Boise St. In terms of distances, travel to Boise or Fresno isn't much different than travelling to New Jersey.
Can the BCS scores that TCU has earned help the Big East?
I don't know and we need clarification to that point. Stewart Mandel from Sports Illustrated noted that BCS administrator Bill Hancock said they would go towards the Big East's numbers, but Mandel correctly noted that these scores would be determined based on membership as of 2011. TCU isn't joining until 2012.
Where does this leave the MWC
For next season, this doesn't change a thing. BYU, Utah and Boise St.'s moves affect television for 2011. The MWC lost its biggest television market. No way to get around that. A nine team MWC in 2012 looks like this:
San Diego St.
Looking at that, TV markets are slim. Denver is the largest market remaining. Even if the addition of Hawai'i as a football member doesn't help, and it adds Hawai'i as a time zone and drops the Central time zone. Parts of Dallas/Fort Worth didn't pick up the mtn., so they don't need to worry about going forward with trying to market the channel there. The significant change in membership is something that all TV partners will look at.
Where does this leave the possibility of a Big East Network as a 24/7 channel?
I could be swayed on this one. Many of the larger markets of the conference are not football members. It now has more football games to offer as content, and even more basketball games. I do struggle as to whether there would be enough interest in this network from the markets as content for a network would be taken away from local carriers and regional networks like SNY and MASN.