I asked TCU director of athletics Chris Del Conte why he will not say that TCU wants to continue the Iron Skillet series after 2017?
"I have no issue we shouldn't continue it," he said. "The question is we don't know what the landscape will hold. I don't look at that we should not play them."
TCU plays SMU on Saturday in Dallas in a series that has become increasingly lopsided, and irrelevant. This is not like Texas not playing Texas A&M. TCU/SMU matters to a relatively small number of people in the FW/d.
TCU's real rivarly these days is with Baylor, or Texas Tech. Playing SMU is a nice, little game but does not generate much of anything outside of a small number of homes.
As an increasing number of old rivalries die, TCU should be sure that playing SMU will not hurt them down the road. TCU has far more to lose just by playing SMU.
Since 2000, the gap between TCU and SMU has grown wide, prompting former SMU great Eric Dickerson to rip his alma mater while praising his old rival. And now that TCU is in the Big 12 and SMU is in the Old Big East/Conference USA Thingy, that gap is the size of an ocean.
"Guys my age - we thought this was a good rivalry," former TCU wide receiver Bart Johnson told me. He was a senior on TCU's Rose Bowl team, and is currently in his third year at SMU law school. "I would think that for the students enrolled now or playing, I'm not sure they think that. I don't know if it carries the same weight as it did four or five years ago when we were in the Mountain West."
TCU has won 12 of the last 14 games in this series. TCU is favored by 32.5 points against a bad SMU team that has already seen head coach June Jones resign.
With TCU a member of the Power Five - Big 12, Pac 12, Big 10, ACC, SEC - and the new addition of a playoff "final four", there is considerable speculation how a non-conference schedule will impact teams at the end of a season.
If in the next two or three years the effect of playing teams such as SMU has minimal impact on whether a Power Five team makes it to this Final Four, games like this will continue. If it's a negative effect, series such as these are in jeopardy.
"Without question there are conversations on both sides," Del Conte said. "It makes a lot of sense financially to continue it. It's close. It's historical. Would you be able to pick up another game against a non-equity school member? To me, this opponent fits.
"But there are so many things that are moving parts."
TCU/SMU will likely continue, but the Horned Frogs are not pushing this, just in case.
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