TCU is preparing to join the Big East in 2012. Part of that (a very large part) means that as a BCS conference team, the Horned Frogs will no longer need to fight for a chance to play in the BCS. The rules are simple - win (in this case, your conference) and you're in.
So it's no shock that TCU is respectfully declining a chance at a big game against a BCS school in 2011.
Apparently, the Horned Frogs had an opportunity to play Wisconsin in a rematch of this year's Rose Bowl, but turned it down:
"We already have Baylor for our opening game," Del Conte said. "A team supposedly Wisconsin played last year doesn't want to go back there. A third party was shopping the game around to other teams. I have no interest in playing a one-[time] game."
Wisconsin, however, was all for it:
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said on a Madison, Wis., sports radio station Wednesday that he was approached about playing host to TCU on Sept. 3.
"I was contacted probably a week, maybe a week and a half after the bowl game about the opportunity to play TCU in our opener," Bielema said on the show. "It was something that was going to be broadcast and made a big deal. It took me all of about point-five seconds to say, 'Yes.' "
Now, I'm not saying the deal definitely gets done if TCU isn't headed to the BCS in '12, but I do think they'd be much more open to the possibility of a one-time game with no return date if they were still going to be in non-AQ status. Let's face it, TCU simply doesn't need to do that anymore.
Of course the obvious fact is that the game was proposed for 2011, not 2012. And in 2011, TCU will still be a non-AQ. But their schedule is already set for this season, so no need to complicate things right now with membership coming only a year later. And don't forget about the fact that even a Wisconsin win with an undefeated schedule wouldn't guarantee a national championship appearance. If there were two other BCS conference teams undefeated again like there were last season, they're still on the outside looking in.
Then there's the pride factor. I'm sure that TCU feels that it deserves a return game with just about every team in the country (and rightfully so, by the way). If the game were in Texas, I'm sure they'd jump at the chance. But no way they're going to play second fiddle to Wisconsin (who they just beat) in this scenario.