The future of Texas' Thanksgiving game was put into doubt when Texas A&M bolted for the Southeastern Conference a year ago.
But make no mistake, it was a Longhorn tradition, said coach Mack Brown, and he hopes it survives.
"I think it's such a special game that everybody watches and it used to highlight Texas and Texas A&M kids and high school players from the state of Texas, but it will be no different Thursday night. It'll still highlight some of the best players in the state of Texas where everybody can see the passion for football in this state."
TCU gets the first opportunity to play in the coveted prime-time, nationally televised ESPN game, slated for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Royal-Memorial Stadium. The Horned Frogs (6-4, 3-4 in Big 12) replaced A&M on the Big 12 schedule for 2012.
"Very honestly, it doesn't feel that different for me because TCU is our fifth-longest rival game, it's an old Southwest Conference game," Brown said Monday during the Big 12 teleconference. No. 16 Texas is 8-2, 5-2.
TCU coach Gary Patterson said he relishes playing at night and the national exposure a game such as this provides. Playing at night typically means your team is winning and on national television, he said, which helps recruiting.
"I said before the season ... that developing depth was going to be the key and the only way to do that was to recruit. And the best way I know to recruit is to be on national TV," Patterson said. "Now I will say this, I think it's great to be on national TV if you play well, you win, or you play well and you lose. It's not if you get blown out. Up to this point we've played well, either won or played well and lost by a close margin. As we get through the season with Texas and Oklahoma we have to be able to do the same thing."
Tech next holiday foe?
Texas Tech could be the next Thanksgiving opponent for Texas. Tech athletic department spokesman Blayne Beal tweeted Monday that the Red Raiders will play Texas next season in Austin on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28).
The schedules have yet to be released.
Texas' Hicks out
Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks will not return this season, the result of a hip injury. The junior has not played since suffering the injury on Sept. 15 at Mississippi. He will apply for a medical redshirt.
Texas defensive tackle Ashton Dorsey is expected to play against TCU after missing two games with a calf injury. Defensive back Sheroid Evans also is expected back after missing four games with a lower leg injury.
Texas Tech offensive guard Alfredo Morales reinjured his shoulder and is out against Baylor, coach Tommy Tuberville said.
Correspondent Austin Laymance contributed to this report.