TCU-SMU Rivalry Is Back To Living Up To Its Historic Roots

Pete MisthaufenAnalyst ISeptember 23, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 04:  Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley #85 of the TCU Horned Frogs at Cowboys Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Last week, TCU stomped all over its original local rival, Baylor. The game was over in the first quarter and the poor Bears could not find any answer for the Horned Frogs on either side of the ball.

This week, TCU takes on its other long-term local rival the Mustangs of Southern Methodist University.

Not long after TCU moved back to Fort Worth, the rivalry developed that would soon reach the top tier of college football.

SMU football began in 1915, not long after the founding of the university, and started playing TCU in its very first year.

In just a few years, this rivalry became increasingly intense, especially as both TCU and SMU entered into the national scene in the early days of national college football.

One of the greatest games in the early years of the series took place in 1935. Taking place in the Great Depression and during a time with developing media.  

The game was filmed and fans around the nation were able to watch highlights from the game on newsreels that ran before motion pictures.

Both teams came into the game undefeated and at the top of the rankings and the game was one of several in the era that were termed the "Game of the Century".

A spot in the Rose Bowl and a possible national title was on the line and SMU prevailed 20-14.

SMU would lose in the Rose Bowl, while TCU went on to the second ever Sugar Bowl and prevailed over LSU.

While most of the rankings systems of the day awarded the title of "national champion" to teams before the bowl games, only one awarded it after the games. As such, both TCU and SMU claim a national title from the 1935 season.

TCU remained a major player in college football through the Eisenhower presidency, while SMU gradually declined while having moments of greatness such as the Doak Walker era after World War II.

By the 1960s, both teams were average, as Texas and Arkansas rose to dominate the Southwest Conference.

SMU rebuilt its program in the late 1970s and early 1980s, only to have the whole thing fall apart under the weight of the numerous scandals of the Pony Express era.  Even so, SMU dominated TCU even after the Ponies came back from the so-called Death Penalty with its complete ban of football.

TCU's current domination of SMU began prior to the beginning of the Patterson era, as they pulled off an upset in 1997—their only win on the season, a victory that denied SMU a chance at a bowl game.

Since the coming of the Patterson Era at TCU, they have completely dominated the series, absent the infamous 2005 SMU upset of a ranked TCU team that had just come from upsetting the Sooners.

That TCU loss cost the Frogs a chance at BCS busting, as they went on to dominate in its first season in the Mountain West Conference.

Last season, the game was surprisingly close on a raining night in Fort Worth, at least until Jeremy Kerley returned a kick for a touchdown, a returned highlighted by Tanner Brock's helmet-less block.

TCU then went out to win comfortably, 39-14.

June Jones has turned around the Mustang program, giving it hope and life it has not had since it was the, "Best Team that Money Could Buy" back in the 1980s.

On both offense and defense, SMU is greatly improved and looks like it can contend for the CUSA West crown, especially given the season ending injury to Houston's Casey Keenum.

But SMU has not faced an opponent like TCU this season and will face overwhelming speed and strength on both sides of the ball.

Senior QB Andy Dalton was rated this week as the fifth best senior quarterback prospect by ESPN analysis Mel Kiper, and numerous Frog starters on both sides of the ball are on watch lists for postseason awards.

SMU does not come into the game empty handed. Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine, the bible of Texas football, recently ranked SMU as the third best team in the state, behind No. 1 TCU and No. 2 Texas.

While SMU coach Jones is known for his run-and-shoot offenses, the Ponies have developed themselves a pretty good defense—which is the top 20 in the country in both sacks and rushing defense.

SMU QB Kyle Padron, from the local football factory Southlake Carroll, has not lost at home since becoming the starter in the middle of last season.  Padron can both run and throw.

Padron is assisted by RB Zach Line, who is averaging 92 yards per game this season.

SMU fans are very hopeful that they can pull yet another upset over a ranked TCU team.  And while SMU may end up winning nine or 10 games this season, this will not be one of them.

Frog fans will be descending on SMU in great numbers and half of the stadium should be wearing purple, as only stadium room only tickets are still available.

The rivalry is back, but it might be another couple years before it becomes a battle of ranked teams. At least this season, both teams are not only going bowling, but also looking to win their respective conferences.

Given where both programs were at the end of the Southwest Conference, it is nothing short of the amazing to see.

It has required hard work, quality coaching, and a determination of fans and boosters to make a return to the elite of college football.

TCU has led the way, but SMU is following the Frogs' path to success. With both programs relevant once again, perhaps Dallas and Fort Worth will be mostly Frog and Pony country, not Big 12 country.

TCU 48-SMU 10