Friday Night Spotlight – TCU v. SMU

This series will cover the most intriguing game of the Friday night games, it might not be the highest profile game…
The only Friday night game this week, and so by default is our Friday Night Spotlight, but don’t let that take away from what looks to be a great game. The TCU Horned frogs come into this 1-0 on the season after an obliteration of Southern University (an FCS school). SMU comes into this game 0-1 after a comedy of errors against North Texas that eventually ended up with a 96-yard kick return, a pick six and the defense allowing North Texas to throw for 444 yards and 3 touchdowns.
This is one of college footballs rivalry games with the “Iron Skillet” on the line. The first between the two was in 1915. There are varying stories of how the iron skillet would become the trophy and the one I’ll talk about is the more interesting (and thus, better writing material) one that is often retold by SMU fans.
The story begins with a pregame tailgate, with SMU fans cooking up some frog legs (remember, TCU’s mascot is the horned frog). According to the story, a TCU fan came upon the SMU fan with the frog legs and argued that this was inappropriate for a rivalry game and that they should instead let the game decide who would get the frog legs and the skillet. SMU was said to have won that game (and thus, the frog legs and the skillet) and the skillet tradition eventually bled over to the game trophy. The all time record between the teams is 50-40-7 with TCU holding the slight edge.
Rilvary games in college football are notoriously hard to predict, but having looked at their statistics from last season and this season. I’m pretty confident (only about 98% though…) that TCU will win this game. Last season, in route to a 7-6 season, SMU beat that same North Texas team by the amount they were beaten by them this year. That season also included a loss to at the time #20 TCU (by 20 points). SMU has a super difficult schedule forthcoming and I think they will have done well to stay in all these games.
TCU, however, will want to avenge their 3 losses from last season, and although none of them were “bad losses” (all were top-25 teams when they played), these Frogs want glory. And they want to go to the College Football Playoff, and it has been a stretch to get a 2-loss team in, let alone a 3-loss team. I’m interested to see how TCU comes into this game, they have to make sure they don’t get lackadaisical in their approach to any part of this game or SMU will try to exploit it.
Enjoy the Friday Night Spotlight game and we’ll see you next week!

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