A win over TCU would put SMU on the map

It's no secret, SMU wants in the Big 12. Reports this week have connected the conference to TCU. Would a win over their biggest rival give the Mustangs an opportunity to have serious talks about joining an AQ conference? This weekend's matchup between SMU and TCU is for more than the Iron Skillet.

With both programs on the upswing, this year's SMU-TCU Battle for the Iron Skillet has a little more oomph to it.

The rivalry dates back to 1915 and the schools have played each other all but three seasons in that time period.

After they lost season openers to Big 12 teams (SMU to Texas A&M, TCU to Baylor), neither school has lost since and both stand at 3-1.

"You can't really lie, this is a big game for us," said Zach Line. "Cross-town rival. Everyone knows TCU. We're not going to treat it any bigger, but it is. Everybody knows it."

Line, who's originally from Michigan and grew up a Spartans fan, compared this rivalry to the Michigan-Michigan State one.

"It's bigger than a bowl game," he said "I'm learning to hate TCU. It's become a smaller-scale rivalry. One of those games you just really want to win.

"TCU is a good team and have been for the past few years. And we're an up-and-coming team. It would give us some credibility getting a win on the road."

TCU has taken 11 of the last 13 matchups, including last year's 41-24 victory at Ford Stadium.

"We've gotten better over the years so obviously it's a much more appealing game to the fans than it used to be," quarterback J.J. McDermott said. "[TCU] has kind of beaten down on us. I think we've got a good shot this year."

Last year, the Mustangs played their rival pretty tight. The Frogs were only up 14-10 at halftime and SMU took a 17-14 lead in the opening minutes of the third quarter. But then former TCU quarterback Andy Dalton went to work and led his team to a 17-point victory.

Stat-wise, SMU stuck with TCU the whole game—TCU had 21 first downs to SMU's 19, 185 passing yards to SMU's 169 and the Mustangs rushed for 192 yards to the Frogs' 190.

Line rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown and Kyle Padron threw for 169 yards and two touchdowns, the longest being a 50-yarder to Darius Johnson.

The score did not reflect how hard the Mustangs battled a team that would go 13-0 and become Rose Bowl Champions.

"When I first came here, I never realized there was that big of a rivalry," June Jones said. "But after playing them a few years now, I've noticed that the kids on both sides kind of turn it up a little bit."

This week there have been some reports regarding the Big 12 and TCU. At the start of the season, SMU president R. Gerald Turner and athletic director Steve Orsini made it public knowledge that SMU wants to play in the Big 12.

Though the Mustangs didn't make the statement they wanted against the Aggies in Week 1, playing TCU provides a second-chance opportunity to argue their way into an automatic-qualifying conference.

"This would put us on the map," Line said.

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