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SI.com: Conference Realignment Hasn't Affected TCU's Recruiting

Over at SI.com, Andy Staples has a look at how the Southern schools that switched conferences this year in the big game of musical chairs -- Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, TCU and West Virginia to the Big 12 -- are faring when it comes to recruiting.

Somewhat surprisingly, he's found that the Horned Frogs 2012 recruiting class has not been all that different from what it would have looked like if they had stayed in the Mountain West:

The school that should have received the biggest bump from its conference switch is TCU. The Horned Frogs have been in the Mountain West, but coaches began this recruiting cycle thinking TCU would begin Big East play in 2012. That all changed when TCU was tapped to replace Texas A&M in the Big 12. But not much changed for the 2012 class. Twelve of the Horned Frogs' 19 signees/commitments chose TCU before the conference move. Of the other seven, none had an offer from Texas and only two (linebacker A.J. Hilliard and offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai) reported an offer from Texas A&M.

At an October news conference celebrating the Big 12's acquisition of TCU, Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson made it clear that he didn't believe a new league alone would make top-rated recruits clamor for offers from TCU. "Being in the Big 12 Conference doesn't make us successful," Patterson said. "Winning in the Big 12 Conference is what makes you successful."

Of course, it's easier to win a conference when you consistently have the best recruiting classes, which TCU did in the Mountain West. The Horned Frogs were the only conference school with direct access to the Texas recruiting area, annually one of the strongest talent bases in the country.

It's a lot harder when your class comes in far behind the top two programs in the Big 12 -- Oklahoma and Texas. That's the harsh reality TCU will have to face going forward if they want to replicate their success over the last decade now that they are in a BCS conference.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.