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Sunday, November 30, 2003
Updated: December 1, 8:35 PM ET
Replacement may be sought outside C-USA

Associated Press

MOBILE, Ala. -- TCU declined an invitation to the GMAC Bowl on Monday, telling bowl officials their game conflicted with the school's exams schedule.

The No. 19 Horned Frogs (11-1), who played in the game in 1999 and 2000, would have played Miami of Ohio (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP).

Messages left for TCU athletic director Eric Hyman were not immediately returned.

TCU had said it preferred to play in two other bowl games tied to the conference: Fort Worth (Dec. 23) or Hawaii (Dec. 25). Final exams at TCU are Dec. 15-19, and the GMAC Bowl is Dec. 18.

The GMAC Bowl, with a payout of $750,000 per team (by contrast, the four BCS bowls pay out $14 million to $17 million per team), gets the second pick from Conference USA. But with TCU declining the invitation, the door could open for the bowl to seek another C-USA team, such as Louisville, or a team from another conference, said bowl executive director Frank Modarelli. A conference call with C-USA officials was set for Monday afternoon.

If the bowl looks outside C-USA, possible scenarios include Boise State (No. 17, No. 18), which won the Western Athletic Conference, or a school from a bigger conference, Modarelli said.

"I would say yes, we've had conversations with [conferences] other than the mid-majors," he said. "We've definitely had some big conferences calling."