So, ESPN, er, a “third party” apparently approached the Wisconsin Badgers and Texas Christian Horned Frogs about staging a rematch of their Rose Bowl thriller on the opening weekend of the upcoming season. The only catch: It would be a one-shot deal in Madison.
Not surprisingly, Wisky coach Bret Bielema jumped at the opportunity to exact some revenge on TCU, which struck a blow for the little guy versus his Badgers on New Year’s Day.
TCU? Eh, not so much.
Now, before I saddle up the Homerism high horse, a few words about the plight of the Horned Frogs.
No one should fault athletic director Chris Del Conte for passing on this offer. At this point, TCU should have done enough to elevate itself on the national scene beyond the point of taking money games on the road against college football’s upper crust. And the Horned Frogs already have Baylor slated for the opening weekend. Stiffing the Bears on a return trip after the two teams tussled in Fort Worth in 2010 won’t win any friends.
From a business standpoint, it all makes sense.
Still, if the Texas Christians and Boise States of the college football world want a shot at playing for the national championship, you don’t pass on these opportunities.
Last year, the Broncos scored some major bonus points with the public at large by traveling across the country and winning what amounted to a home game for Virginia Tech. Playing the game at the “neutral” venue of FedEx Field in Washington might have made the circumstances a little more palatable for BSU – as did the payoff, I’m sure. There’s no way Virginia Tech goes for a home-and-home agreement against Boise, though.
The terms of that matchup illustrated the reality that non-AQ squads will have a hard time getting anywhere scheduling-wise unless they make some concessions.
Is it fair? No. Unfortunately for a team like TCU, it’s life. (Which is about to get a little easier when the Horned Frogs join the Big East in 2012.)
We don’t really know if taking games like this ESPN extravaganza could eventually help a mid-major school bust through college football’s glass ceiling. Yet, I can’t imagine that passing on them will help their cause.