This Saturday afternoon the former SWC rivals and current cross-town rivals, SMU & TCU, lace 'em up to battle it our for the 91st time and claim right to the Iron Skillet. Both teams opened up the season with a road loss to a Big 12 team (TCU @ Baylor, SMU @ Texas A&M) but have each rebounded nicely reeling of 3 consecutive wins a piece. The Battle for the Iron Skillet in most years is about the TCU defense matching up against the SMU offense but this year we seem to have entered smeo sort of a bizarro-world where SMU's offense is ranked outside the top 25 in total offense at 31 and the TCU defense is all the way down the list at 85. Conversely the SMU defense comes in ranked at #10 in the nation.
On offense TCU didn't have to wait long for QB Casey Pachall to fill the shoes of the departed Dalton and he should be able to match scores with JJ McDermott and the Ponies if he has to in the event of another TCU defensive meltdown. This matchup marks the first true test for the TCU defensive backfield since being embarrassed on national television by Robert Griffin III and his Baylor Bears. Even if the coverage steps up this week the Mustangs proved to be a well-balanced team last season when RB Zach Line ran all over the Frogs through delayed draws. The loss of TCU's 2010's leading tackler, LB Tanner Brock, could prove to be costly Saturday against a bruiser like Line.
I look for this game to be a high scoring affair with multiple lead-changes that will come down to a one-score game. Normally homefield advantage would be the trump card in a game like this but with a limited capacity of 32,000 due to construction and it being a day-game also due to said construction the crowd could be less influential than in a typical Iron Skillet game at ACS.
No. 20 TCU (3-1) vs. SMU (3-1)
Fort Worth, Texas -- Amon G. Carter Stadium (32,000)
Saturday, Oct. 1 -- 2:30 p.m. (CDT)
Television: CBS Sports Network -- Dave Ryan (PBP), Rich Rodriguez (color), Kaylee Hartung (sideline)
Radio: TCU/IMG Sports Network -- WBAP 820 AM and 96.7 FM, KTCU 88.7 FM, KKHT 100.7 FM (Houston), GoFrogs.com [Brian Estridge (PBP), John Denton (color), Jeff Williams (sideline)]
Spanish - AM 1270 Univision Radio - Miguel Cruz (PBP), Elvis Gallegos (color)
ABOUT THE GAME
*No. 20 TCU closes its three-game homestand when it hosts SMU in the State Farm DFW Duel - Battle for the Iron Skillet.
*During the post-World War II college football boom, TCU and SMU students created a traveling trophy called the Iron Skillet that was presented to the winner of the annual football game between the rivals. The tradition eventually died and the skillet was lost. In 1993, the tradition was revived.
*The Horned Frogs' longtime home of Amon G. Carter Stadium is in the midst of a $143 million renovation. Capacity for the 2011 season is 32,000. After full completion of the renovation in time for the 2012 campaign, Amon G. Carter Stadium will seat 43,000 with the ability to expand to 50,000. Following this season, the east stands, opposite the press box, will be redone and have a double-deck appearance similar to the new north end zone.
*TCU's Gary Pattersonis 8-1 as a head coach versus SMU.
*As an assistant coach, Patterson was 4-2 against the Mustangs. Patterson was on the 1995 Navy staff when the Midshipmen won 33-2 in Dallas. As defensive coordinator at New Mexico during the 1996-97 campaigns, Patterson split a pair of meetings with SMU. TCU was 2-1 against SMU when Patterson was the Frogs' defensive coordinator (1998-00).
*During his time as TCU's defensive coordinator, Patterson twice faced June Jones when the current SMU head coach was at Hawaii. Patterson's Frogs won 34-14 at Hawaii in 1999 and 41-21 in Fort Worth in 2000.
*Since 2005, the Frogs are 36-1 in day games and 62-4 in Saturday contests. TCU hasn't lost a Saturday home game since the 2004 season finale against Tulane.
*The SMU game will mark TCU's 33rd contest against a former Southwest Conference rival since the league dissolved after the 1995 season. TCU is 21-11 versus its former SWC foes, including an 11-3 mark against SMU.
*TCU holds a 44-39-7 edge over SMU in a series that began with a 43-0 Frog win in Fort Worth in 1915.
*The Frogs have won four straight games over the Mustangs and 10 of the last 11.
*TCU has a seven-game home winning streak versus SMU. The Frogs' last home loss to the Mustangs was a 21-15 setback in 1993.
*The Frogs are 25-17-5 versus SMU in Fort Worth and 19-22-2 in Dallas.
*SMU is TCU's third-most played series. The Frogs' 90 meetings with the Mustangs trail only Baylor (107) and Texas A&M (92).
*Other than the two seasons (1987-88) the Mustangs did not field a team, the 2006 campaign represented the only time TCU and SMU have not met since 1925.
DEFENDING THEIR HOME
*TCU has a school record 22-game home winning streak.
*The streak has set a Mountain West mark previously held by Utah (21, 2007-10). The Utes' streak was snapped by TCU's 47-7 win in Salt Lake City last season.
*TCU's 22 straight home wins rank third for the longest current streak in the nation (Oklahoma 38, Boise State 33).
*Under Gary Patterson as head coach, the Frogs have a 53-6 home record.
*Since 1999, TCU is 64-6 in its last 70 home games.
*In their last 12 home dates, the Frogs have allowed just 16 touchdowns and outscored their opponents 545-135 (an average margin of 45-11).
*The Frogs have recorded five shutouts in their past 28 home dates.
THE WIN COLUMN
*TCU has won 30 of its last 32 games and is 41-4 in its last 45 contests.
*Since the start of the 2008 season, TCU is 39-4. The Frogs' 39 wins trail only Boise State (41-2) and Alabama (40-5).
*The Frogs are one of just three teams (Ohio State, Oregon) to play in a BCS game each of the past two campaigns.