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Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Tommy Tuberville wants TCU -- eventually

By Jeff Caplan

DALLAS -- Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said he wants TCU. Just not this season.

"I think that's a natural game. I think we need to play that game," Tuberville said during Tuesday's Big 12 media days. "I think it needs to be a home-and-home game, and I think that it would help both [TCU coach] Gary [Patterson] and us to play each year."

Six months ago, with TCU coming off a Rose Bowl victory and a final No. 2 ranking, Texas Tech, to the dismay of TCU officials, dropped its scheduled Sept. 10 visit to Fort Worth.

The Red Raiders spun it as an inevitable consequence of the new, 10-team Big 12's round-robin schedule. With nine conference games for 2011 instead of eight under the former 12-team format, Texas Tech had to drop one of its four non-conference games. It chose TCU over Texas State, New Mexico and Nevada.

It's the second consecutive season that the Tech-TCU matchup won't happen. The 2010 game in Lubbock was canceled when ESPN requested to televise the Tech-Texas game on the same date. TCU walked away happy because ESPN made up for the bump by scheduling the Frogs' season-opener against Oregon State at Cowboys Stadium.

On Tuesday, Tuberville acknowledged that the caliber of TCU's program might have also played just a wee bit into the decision to drop TCU as opposed to one of the other three non-conference candidates.

"I've been in this business a while," the always straight-shooting Tuberville said. "Obviously, for us, we're going to be a very young team coming in. Gary's [Patterson] done a great job. He's done an excellent job of bringing in players and building depth and building consistency. That's really probably not the type of team we want to play right now."

TCU officials at the time weren't thrilled with Tech's timing, making it difficult to find a quality opponent to fill out the schedule (the Frogs wound up scheduling an ESPN game against newly independent BYU at Cowboys Stadium on Oct 28). They said they'd still like to schedule Tech in the future -- at the earliest likely 2015 -- but it would have to be a home-and-home agreement. A Tech official said the Red Raiders viewed the cancellation as only a delay and not an end to a series.

Tuberville made it official Tuesday. Within a few seasons, Tech and TCU could become an annual rivalry.