This one has been rumored for some time now, but this morning we get official confirmation. From the New York Times:
TCU is moving to the Big East Conference, where the Horned Frogs would be BCS busters no more.
A person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Monday that TCU is moving from the Mountain West Conference to the Big East starting with the 2012 season. The person would not comment publicly because the decision had not been announced.
TCU scheduled a Monday afternoon news conference for "a major announcement involving the TCU athletics program."
For TCU, admittedly this is a big move with a lot of positives and seemingly no real downside for the football program. They now move to a laughably weak conference with a guaranteed BCS bid, and given the physical distance between them and the rest of the conference they have no worries whatsoever of anyone encroaching upon their recruiting base. They may have to make a handful of long flights every year, but this one seems like a no-brainer for their football program. I'm sure it will be hell for all of the other sports -- I don't know how a conference with 17 schools works, but I imagine it does not work well -- but surely that is a tertiary concern for TCU.
This move probably adds some legitimacy to the Big East, and they do plan on adding a tenth football member as well (widely rumored to be Central Florida). With West Virginia, Pitt, South Florida likely back on the rise with Skip Holtz, and teams like UConn, Rutgers, and Cincinnati, they have the potential to be a somewhat solid conference if a few programs get it together, and TCU won't easily walk through the league. Nevertheless, it still looks to be easily the weakest of the automatic qualifier conferences for any extended period of time.
Boise State is also affected in a major way by this one as well. They are joining the Mountain West, but with all of the changes being made they are effectively re-joining the WAC. Utah will be headed to the Pac-12, TCU will be headed to the Big East, and BYU is going independent. In their absence, the Mountain West will replace them by adding three more programs currently in the WAC (Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawai'i). For Boise, they basically play the same laughable cupcake schedule each and every week, just under a different conference banner.