Week 4 of the 2022 college football season is here and the action will take us to every corner of the country as we continue through the month of September. This weekend, most of the viewing public will be fixated on the marquee games like Florida-Tennessee and Wisconsin-Ohio State. Well, where they zig, we’ll zag.
Every week, we’ll go full hipster and point out an under-the-radar game that you should also be paying attention to on the schedule. For this week, we a have a very bitter rivalry in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex where the hatred has been cranked up multiple levels for this year’s matchup.
TCU at SMU, Noon ET, ESPNU
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Spread: TCU -1.5
Total: Over/Under 70.5
Moneyline: TCU -130, SMU +110
One of the things that fuels this sport is the palpable hatred between two longtime rivals. It’s why we celebrate when rivalries like the Backyard Brawl are restored and lament when annual games like the Bedlam Series are put on hold because of conference realignment. The 101st edition of the Battle for the Iron Skillet between the TCU Horned Frogs and SMU Mustangs will take place at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas this weekend, and the animosity between these two rivals is at an all-time high.
That animosity is driven by the fact that former SMU head coach Sonny Dykes switched sides following last season, taking over as the head man at TCU. After longtime Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson stepped down midway through the 2021 campaign, Dykes’ name was immediately floated as the frontrunner for the open vacancy. These rumors helped derail SMU’s momentum as after a 7-1 start, the Mustangs dropped three out its last four contests. Dykes had indeed been in contact with TCU officials during the season as reports that he had officially accepted the job surfaced the day before SMU’s season finale.
Needless to say, the Mustang faithful feel like they were stabbed in the back and have sold out this year’s Battle for the Iron Skillet. Dykes himself joked this week that he’d boo him too if he bought a ticket for this showdown.
Rivalry banter aside, this should be a fun offensive showdown as both schools have top 20 offensive units in SP+. TCU (2-0) has put up good numbers through its first two games of the Dykes era, putting down Colorado 38-13 to open the season before lighting up Tarleton State 59-17 two weeks ago. Senior quarterback Max Duggan has looked excellent even with a short sample size, completing 78.1% of his passes for 417 yards and five touchdowns.
Meanwhile, SMU (2-1) hasn’t skipped a beat offensively with Dykes’ successor Rhett Lashlee now in charge. The Mustangs put up 40+ points in blowout victories over North Texas and Lamar to start the year before falling in a spirited 34-27 road contest at Maryland last week. The Pony Express is also being led by a senior QB in Tanner Mordecai, who has already thrown for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Wide receiver Rashee Rice is responsible for nearly half that production, already snagging 28 targets for 491 yards and three touchdowns.
When starting your CFB Saturday this week, have ESPNU in your rotation. You’re going to see plenty of points, angry bowtie wearing Highland Park residents in the stands, and maybe a fight or two on the field.