COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- In 2010, the Mountain West lost its three best football programs. BYU and Utah announced they would be leaving months ago, and TCU has joined them in heading to bigger things.
TCU announced Monday all of its sports would join the Big East on July 1, 2012. That's a huge blow for the Mountain West. TCU is ranked third in the Bowl Championship Series standings and finished in the top 10 of the final Associated Press rankings the past two seasons.
The Mountain West has added Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada and is talking with Hawaii about coming aboard for football, and Air Force officials remain optimistic.
"We feel very confident about the long-term sustainability of the Mountain West Conference," Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, superintendent of the Air Force and the chair of the MWC board of directors, said in a statement released by the academy.
"TCU has been a valued member of the Mountain West Conference and we wish them well as they move on to the Big East," Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh said in a statement.
"We're confident that the Mountain West Conference will continue to thrive moving forward."
TCU leaving the conference likely ends the Mountain West's hopes of getting an automatic bid into the BCS.
"Clearly the tremendously successful TCU football team adds enormous strength to the Big East roster," Big East commissioner John Marinatto said during a press conference at TCU that was shown on the Mountain West's television network.