The Big Mac Blog

TCU fans lose big in Ohio State schedule change

The vision of watching the Ohio State Buckeyes at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth was always for sale. It was a question of how much.

The answer is $5 million.

When TCU announced a home-and-home football series against the State University of Ohio back in 2012, the series was so far down the calendar it was hard to get excited about this home game. We are now one year away from Ohio State’s originally scheduled visit to Fort Worth in 2018. TCU was to return the visit in 2019 at the Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio.

This is all past-tense, of course. On Thursday, it was announced that the home-and-home is now a one-gamer at Jerry World on Sept. 15, 2018.

This had been rumored for a while and both schools were handed $5 million to make this adjustment. There was no way TCU was going to, or should, turn down $5 million. TCU brings in about $1 million for a home game.

The loser in all of this announcement is, of course, the TCU fan.

It was a coup by TCU to land this series. Drawing Ohio State out of Columbus for a game in Fort Worth spoke volumes about TCU, and athletic director Chris Del Conte.

The series offered its fan base the chance to host a blue-blood national power that is routinely over the sport’s luxury tax. It was the chance for the TCU fan to watch their team play in one America’s great sports venues — the Horseshoe in Columbus.

In the place of this series, TCU announced it will instead play Purdue University in a home-and-home beginning in the paradise that is West Lafayette, Ind. in 2019.

Yes, Purdue has a football team.

“Rather than chocolate cake, we’re going to serve you this delish’ chocolate covered shoe ... ”

Purdue will then come to Fort Worth in 2029, by which time all parties who agreed to this preposterous date will be elsewhere, or retired.

That a game for 2029 has been added to a schedule here in 2017 is all you need to know about the absurdity of college football scheduling.

No program in America has mastered the art of the “challenging” non-conference game better than Gary Patterson and TCU. They routinely find the mid to bottom team in a Power 5 conference and take their chances, usually to their benefit.

Last year’s overtime home loss to an Arkansas team that finished 7-6 is an exception.

The trade in Thursday’s announcement benefits the TCU football team but not the TCU football fan.

Gary Patterson would always prefer a one-game in a situation like an Ohio State rather than a home-and-home. It’s Ohio State, which under head coach Urban Meyer has stockpiled talent like he did when he was at Florida and built an SEC-caliber team.

TCU was going to be an underdog in both games, and Gary knows these are the types of dates fans crave until they lose, and or their players suffer injury.

It was a reason why he had no trouble quickly turning a home-and-home series with LSU into a one-game date at Jerry World in 2013.

The fan loses out on the experience of watching a team like Ohio State come to their house and instead is handed a plate of Purdue. The change will likely net TCU a win, but would you trade that for a crack at Brutus in The Carter?

TCU will still play Ohio State, but it will be “neutral site” in name only; that’s what happened when TCU played LSU in ’13. Horned Frog fans will be dwarfed by Ohio State’s endless, and loyal, fan base that will follow their beloved Buckeyes to JerryWorld, to Mars, and anywhere else provided John Cooper is not the head coach.

TCU vs. Ohio State will be a nationally televised game and it’s always a coup to play Ohio State in any non-conference game away from Columbus, but Thursday’s announcement is a downer.

TCU had a wonderful home-and-home lined up with Ohio State, and sold it for $5 million.