Putting the Sizzle on Hold: The Legacy and Pause of the TCU vs. SMU Iron Skillet Rivalry

In the world of college football, few rivalries burn as fiercely as the one between Texas Christian University (TCU) and Southern Methodist University (SMU). For over a century, the Iron Skillet matchup has captivated fans and showcased the passion that runs deep in both institutions. However, the announcement that the rivalry will be put on pause following the 2025 season has left many questioning the future of this historic showdown. In this article, we delve into the rich history of the TCU vs. SMU rivalry, explore its significance, and ponder the reasons behind the pause.


The Essence of the Iron Skillet

The Iron Skillet rivalry between TCU and SMU transcends the boundaries of a simple football game. It’s a tradition that has withstood the test of time, connecting generations of fans and alumni. The series, which began in 1915, has seen its fair share of ups and downs, triumphs, and defeats. For 101 years, the two schools, located just 35 miles apart, have battled for supremacy on the gridiron, forging unforgettable moments that remain etched in the annals of college football history.

A Historical Tug of War

The Iron Skillet rivalry is a testament to the tenacity and competitive spirit that defines college athletics. With TCU holding a 52-42-7 lead in the series, the competition has been fierce and evenly matched over the years. The rivalry’s longevity can be attributed to its ability to adapt and endure through conference realignments and changing landscapes in college sports.

From Conference Foes to Intermittent Rivals

The rivalry between TCU and SMU has navigated through the ever-shifting tides of conference affiliations. From their shared time in the Southwest Conference to separate paths in Conference USA, the Mountain West Conference, and the Big 12, the teams have managed to keep the flame of competition alive. Despite the changes, the Iron Skillet matchup remained a focal point on the schedule, serving as a yearly reminder of the historic ties that bind the two institutions.

A Pause in the Sizzle

The decision to pause the Iron Skillet rivalry following the 2025 season has left fans on both sides puzzled and disappointed. The details surrounding the hiatus remain shrouded in uncertainty, leaving many to wonder when the iconic matchup will grace the football field once more. The hiatus raises questions about the factors contributing to this decision, including potential shifts in priorities, logistical challenges, or broader changes in the college football landscape.

Significance Beyond the Scoreboard

The Iron Skillet rivalry extends beyond wins and losses; it encapsulates the essence of college football and the vibrant culture surrounding it. The annual clash serves as a rallying point for alumni, students, and fans, fostering a sense of camaraderie and belonging. The tailgates, traditions, and shared memories that accompany the Iron Skillet matchup create a unique tapestry that intertwines the two universities.

Reflecting on Legacy and Looking Ahead

As the rivalry takes a hiatus, it presents an opportunity for reflection on the legacy it has built and the impact it has had on the institutions, their communities, and college football as a whole. While the Iron Skillet may be on hold, the flame of anticipation continues to burn, waiting for the day when TCU and SMU step onto the field once more to renew their storied competition.


The Iron Skillet rivalry is more than just a football game; it’s a cherished tradition that has united communities, celebrated the spirit of competition, and woven a rich tapestry of history. As TCU and SMU temporarily set aside their battle for supremacy, the legacy of the Iron Skillet continues to inspire and captivate. Whether it’s the memories of past matchups, the anticipation of future showdowns, or the indomitable spirit of rivalry, the Iron Skillet remains a beacon of college football’s enduring allure.

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