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SMU vs TCU: Is The Iron Skillet Even Hot Anymore?

SMU plays its fiercest rival in fellow Metroplex private school TCU, but should the Mustangs take a break from this series?

Scott Halleran

I'll preface this article by saying that while I lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex for most of my years, I never really crossed paths with SMU or TCU football. My parents are University of Texas alums, and I grew up cheering for the Longhorns, until 2006, when I entered the University of North Texas.

However, my collegiate years coincided with both the rejuvenation of the SMU football program under June Jones, and the rise to national prominence for the TCU program under Gary Patterson, both which garnered significant media attention in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. It's a huge deal among some alums- two private schools, one based in the heart of Dallas, one in the heart of Fort Worth.

While the games between the schools immediately post-Southwest Conference breakup involved some close games, since the new millennium it's been all TCU, with the Horned Frogs winning 12 of the last 14 games, the most recent a 48-17 rout at Amon G. Carter Stadium last year.

While the Battle for the Iron Skillet isn't "dead", as a Ponyfans poster exclaimed this morning, (TCU sold out of its allotment to this year's game at SMU) TCU might be shifting its own priorities, as the "Pound the Ponies" young alumni fundraiser has been scrapped in favor of one focused on the much more daunting task of beating Baylor. While there is still animosity among the fanbases of both schools, many younger alumni have focused their vitriol on Big 12 schools like Texas and Texas Tech.

Had SMU followed the TCU model of constantly jumping conferences, good recruiting, and consistently beating Power 5 teams, maybe the tables would be turned. The Ponies, in the midst of a coaching search, and starting 4th string quarterback Garrett Krstich, find themselves looking up at the Frogs once again.

While SMU bares the scheduling fortune of having four regional rivals for nonconference play, plenty of alums have asked to cut the SWC reunion tour- SMU is 0-48-1 since the breakup in 1995. Some have even gone as far as to want to buy out the series with UNT.

But the question remains: Is the TCU game relevant for SMU right now? A win would save would will most certainly be a disaster of a season. But what would yet another possible blowout loss prove for the Mustangs this season? One thing's for sure, SMU should win the helmet battle this weekend.