TCU-Baylor Rivalry Just Not the Same

Despite old SWC rivalry, teams will only meet for third time in last 15 years

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Frank Heinz, NBCDFW.com
    It's been a long time since TCU and Baylors were rivals in the old Southwest Conference.

    Baylor coach Art Briles figures there is no reason to tell his players about the old Southwest Conference rivalry with TCU.

    "If I said SWC, (our players) would have no idea what I was talking about and rightfully so," Briles said of the league the two teams were in together through the 1995 season -- when many of the current players were still in preschool.

    Just ask Robert Griffin, the Bears' sophomore quarterback.

    "I didn't know what the SWC was until I got to Baylor," he said.

    Whether it's still considered a rivalry or not, No. 4 TCU (2-0) and Baylor (2-0) play Saturday at sold-out Amon G. Carter Stadium, where the Horned Frogs have won 15 consecutive games and have only six losses in 11 seasons.

    Though the private Christian schools are less than 90 miles apart and have played 105 times (49 wins for each side and seven ties), this will be only the third meeting in 15 years since the SWC disbanded.

    "Any time you play anybody instate for us, whoever you play, it's an emotional game," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "It has to do with recruiting, it has to do with bragging rights, it has to do with all those kind of things."

    And for TCU, a three-touchdown favorite, it is also about taking another step toward another undefeated regular season and a chance to be a BCS buster again. That is what ultimately drives the Frogs.

    "We're motivated because we know what our end goal is," said Andy Dalton, whose 31 victories are the most in TCU history and most among active FBS quarterbacks. "We obviously want to get back to where we were last year. Each game counts one. They're next on the schedule. ... We're as motivated as ever."

    Dalton's first start was a 27-0 victory over Baylor in the 2007 season opener, when he was 18-of-30 passing for 205 yards and a touchdown without an interception.

    "I didn't really know what to expect," he said. "Now I feel like I've been put in every situation."

    Griffin is a sophomore because the Big 12 approved his injury waiver and restored a season of eligibility after he tore the ACL in his right knee in the third game last season and sat out the rest. The dynamic dual-threat quarterback, 6-8 in his Baylor starts, is fully healthy and gets the chance to pull off a program-defining upset for the Bears.

    TCU has won championships in three different conferences since being left out when Baylor and three other Texas schools from the SWC merged with the Big Eight to form the Big 12.

    "We're all pretty much too young to really know about the Southwest Conference rivalries," TCU senior receiver Curtis Clay said. "To us, it's another game. It's a game against a Texas team. You always look forward to those kind of games anyway."

    Despite the chance for automatic BCS inclusion, Baylor hasn't even had a winning season since the Big 12's inception in 1996.

    Still, the Bears are 2-0 for the first time since 2005, which is the only time since 1996 they also won their third game to make it that deep into a season still undefeated.

    After averaging 34 points and 478 total yards in home victories over FCS team Sam Houston State and Buffalo, this will be Baylor's first real challenge. TCU has won both non-SWC meetings between the schools, in 2006 and 2007. The next scheduled meeting is the 2011 season opener on the Baylor campus.

    The Horned Frogs, the nation's top defense each of the past two seasons, have allowed only 203 yards per game so far. While eighth nationally, that is the best in 13 seasons under Patterson -- three as defensive coordinator and 10 as head coach.

    "We are going to go out and play fast like we do, stretch the field," Griffin said. "We get excited for every game. Throw some ranking into any game, people start talking. ... Let the excitement be in the stands. We are going to execute and play football."

    Rivalry or not.