As I sat at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Saturday night, it wasn’t until the SMU section started chanting “Iron Skillet” that I remembered that it wasn’t going to be an ordinary loss.We didn’t just lose the game; we lost the Skillet too.
And for the first time in a long time, the Battle for the Iron Skillet mattered to me.
I guess the Skillet is just one of those things you don’t miss until it’s gone. Because TCU has won the “rivalry” game every year I’ve been here, and I never cared.
I never stayed after the game to see it presented. I never went by the trophy case to bask in its glory. I never participated in an “Iron Skillet” chant because there wasn’t one.
Because, while there was a rivalry, only one side cared.
And now they have it. And I couldn’t be more angry.
Especially since they’re gonna have the Skillet proudly on display for two years.
On Friday, I was glad that SMU wasn’t on our schedule in 2006. TCU was ready to move on to bigger and better things, and we didn’t need SMU holding us back anymore.
Now everything has changed.
When I was originally assigned this column, I was going to say that the rivalry should end until SMU was ready to step up and play us.
Apparently they’re already more than ready to step up and play with us.
Before, SMU was just a hole in our schedule where you could just throw in a “W.” When I looked at the schedule for this year, I knew we’d have an automatic win in between tough battles against Oklahoma and Utah.
But, now, we might beat OU and Utah, but lose to SMU?
It just feels wrong. Very wrong.
Before, there were three absolutes in the sports’ world. USA Olympic Basketball wins the gold medal. The Yankees beat the Red Sox. And TCU beats SMU.
Now those aren’t true anymore. What has the world come to?
In order for a rivalry to work, one side has to hate the other side. And for six years, TCU didn’t hate SMU. If anything, the Mustangs were to be pitied.
It has all happened before. From 1972 to 1986, SMU dominated the series so much that the two teams didn’t play for a couple of years. Because, what was the point in playing the game if one side won every year?
And when the Frogs won that game in 1989, I’m sure our students reacted the same way the SMU students reacted Saturday after years of frustration. The monkey was finally off their back, and I’m sure it felt great.
And I’m sure the SMU students were just as shocked as we were this past weekend.
We now understand how it feels to be on the losing end of this rivalry. We now understand that SMU is no longer to be pitied. They are to be hated.
Now we’re the angry ones, and the rivalry is free to thrive again. And it will, because we won’t overlook SMU next time.
Before, I never wanted to play SMU again. Now I can’t wait until 2007.
Because we’re getting that Skillet back if it’s the last thing we do.
Drew Irwin is a senior economics and broadcast journalism major from Dallas.