New Teams, New Era

Officially, TCU and West Virginia are members of the Big 12 now. What do they bring to the table and what is there to look out for in 2012-2013.

Finally.

The Big 12 Conference can officially call TCU and West Virginia members as of midnight.

It was months ago that it was announced the intentions of Texas A&M and Missouri to head to the SEC and the Horned Frogs and Mountaineers to replace those two members to keep the Big 12 at ten teams.

Some people have questioned the strength of the Big 12 against the SEC, but when you step back and take a look at not what is being lost from the Big 12, but rather what is being added, it is very exciting.

TCU and West Virginia could be keyed as two of the best up and coming programs in the last 10 years.

Before the rise of both of these programs, they were merely an afterthought when it came to talking about bowl games, March Madness and the College World Series, but now they are teams that are to be reckoned with in all of those areas and much more.

In football, both programs, especially TCU, have proven time and time again, size of a school doesn't matter, put on a national stage and they will impress.

In 2011, TCU finished 11-2 overall and 7-0 in the Mountain West Conference and capped the season with a 31-24 win against LA Tech in the Poinsettia Bowl. West Virginia, in the first year under the direction of Dana Holgorsen, finished 10-3 and tied for first in the Big East and capped their season with a 70-33 demolishing of Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

In men's basketball both programs finished in the middle of the pack in their respective conferences in 2012, both finishing with .500 marks in conference play, but both with overall winning records on the season.

On the women's side, TCU finished 16-14 overall and 9-5 in MWC play, and ended their season in the Mountain West Conference Quarterfinals game against Wyoming. While the TCU women's team did not see post-season play, West Virginia entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 8 team in the country. The Lady Mountaineers made it to the second round before falling to then-No. 1 Stanford. Despite the loss, West Virginia still finished 24-10 on the season.

In baseball, TCU in the past few seasons has made the climb into the area of nationally prominent program. The Horned Frogs had won six-straight MWC crowns entering 2012, but got beat by San Diego State in the MWC tournament this year.

Once in the tourney, TCU knocked out former Big 12 member Texas A&M, going 4-1 in the College Station Regional to move on to play UCLA in the next round, where the Horned Frogs fell short,

On the other hand for the Mountaineers, the season ended early for the team, not making it to the post-season, but the program, which was formed in 1892, has amassed more than 1,950 wins and 12 NCAA Appearances as well.

And the list goes on an on, with softball, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, rifle, track and field, swimming, rowing, golf, equestrian and many more sports both universities field.

But the fact is, TCU and West Virginia add a lot to the Big 12.

You look at the big sports, little sports, all up and down the board, the Mountaineers and Horned Frogs are not just going to be the new kids on the block in the 2012-2013 seasons, but there is a very good chance they could both make some noise and take home a few Big 12 crowns.

Yes, the grind is different, with Top 25 teams on the schedule week in and week out now, instead of the occasional meetings throughout the season.

And West Virginia will have to figure in the travel as they sit alone in their area of the country, with all of the Big 12 member schools presiding in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa, for now.

But the previous success seen by both of these programs in all sports will carry over into the Big 12 and not only will make the Big 12 arguably stronger in football, but also every other sport as well.

So welcome to the Big 12, West Virginia and TCU, it should be an interesting and exciting roller coaster in 2012 for both these schools and the rest of the Big 12, as the conference has a new look, some new teams and some new logos.

In the end it is still the Big 12 and it is time for a new era, for a conference that has fallen apart and come together as one with a new commish and new teams for the 2012 season, to start.

And it starts now.


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