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FOW Trial Post: Non-Conference Scheduling (and Winning) Key to Growing TCU Image

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TCU's brand has grown immensely over the past several years, but there's still more growing to do.

Manager's note: This week, we will be publishing trial posts from our FOW finalists. With over 60 applicants, thanks to those who sent an email. This piece is by Stephen Lopez; enjoy!

Despite TCU going 12-1 in 2009 with a Fiesta Bowl Appearance, 13-0 in 2010 with a Rose Bowl Championship, and 12-1 in 2014 with a thorough beat down of Ole Miss in the Chick ‘fil A Peach Bowl, some people still attach the small school stigma to TCU. Although I believe the national perception of TCU has come a long way, it’s still something the purple faithful are dealing with.

So how do you change it?

Grow your image.

Aside from simply winning, growing an image for a small private school like TCU is challenging. But Del Conte and Co. have, knowingly or unknowingly, mastered the art of non-conference scheduling by inking schools that geographically expand TCU’s reach.

How can scheduling help grow a school’s image?

Media coverage.

It's one thing to schedule opponents based on history, but when you are a school still growing into the national spotlight, it is essential to schedule as methodically as possible. TCU’s membership in the Big 12 allows for it to capture many of the media markets in the central US (Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, Oklahoma City…).

Additionally, appearances and victories in major bowls (Fiesta, Rose, Peach) exposed TCU to critical media markets outside of our conference’s reach (Phoenix, LA, Atlanta). Here are the media markets TCU has reached with both their Big 12 and non-conference schedules past, present, and future:

non con data map

But for a non-traditional powerhouse program, it is important for TCU to schedule opponents that will give the program more of a national exposure. And with the induction of the College Football Playoff, it is important for TCU to get that media exposure as early as possible.

Future non-conference opponents such as Minnesota (2015), Ohio State (2018/19), and Cal (2020/21) will allow TCU to play in front of key national media centers such as Minneapolis/St. Paul, Cleveland, and San Francisco.

Every series Del Conte locks gets us a step closer to becoming the purple powerhouse all of us Frog fans know we are going to be.