Big 12 commish: TCU, WVU have had moments in difficult transition

TCU has gone 8-46 in football and men's basketball combined in Big 12 play after its first two seasons in the conference.

Tim Heitman/Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas — TCU won the Rose Bowl to close its 2010 season. West Virginia capped its 2011 campaign with an Orange Bowl rout and landed in the preseason top 10 for its inaugural Big 12 season.

Two years later, the Frogs and Mountaineers are picking up the pieces of twin 4-8 seasons. TCU was locked out of the postseason for the first time since 2004. WVU hadn’t been left out of a bowl game since 2001.

"Their task is a little harder now than it was before. I think they’ve both seen it," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Sunday. "They both came in with good football programs."

In basketball, West Virginia has yet to make the NCAA Tournament despite doing so in all five seasons under Bob Huggins in the Big East.

This year, TCU lost all 19 Big 12 games it played and went 2-17 in Year 1.

The new additions haven’t made the transition as well as they would have liked, or the way Bowlsby would have, either.

"Our league is fast company. You’re going to have to be pretty good in everything to compete," Bowlsby said. "I think they’re in a transition period, but they’ve both been terrific members."

It’s never a good sign when the commissioner has to cite women’s soccer as evidence for your program’s success in its new league, but Bowlsby did exactly that, recognizing the Mountaineers’ regular season titles in the sport in each of its first two seasons.

"They’ve had their moments," Bowlsby said of the Mountaineers. "TCU has, too. I don’t think Gary Patterson would say these last couple years have been his best teams, but when he had his best teams, he could certainly play with the best teams in our league."

While WVU and TCU floundered, Louisville captured a national title in basketball and beat Florida in the Orange Bowl at the end of the 2012 season. Some Big 12 members favored inviting the Cardinals to the league back in October 2011, but the Mountaineers ended up getting the final spot in the 10-team Big 12.

Bowlsby balked when asked if he thought the Big 12 whiffed on the decision.

"I wasn’t involved in it, so I don’t really have any perspective on it," he said.

He does see brighter days ahead for both programs.

TCU is beginning a major, $59 million renovation of Daniel-Meyer Coliseum and earlier this week, WVU’s Board of Governors approved a $106 million plan for wide-ranging upgrades to the university’s athletic facilities.

"They’re great additions and they’re also investing in sports and in ways that will bear fruit moving forward," he said.