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The long-running “Battle for the Iron Skillet” rivalry series between TCU and SMU will be put on pause following the 2025 season, a TCU spokesperson confirmed to CBS Sports on Wednesday. TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati cited the desire to add more home games in the future as a reason for the hiatus, though the door is open for the series to resume down the road, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports

SMU athletic director Rick Hart expressed disappointment over the decision, indicating the Mustangs wanted the series to continue. 

“It is disappointing that TCU made the decision to ‘pause’ our football series,” Hart said in a statement sent to The Dallas Morning News. “It’s disappointing for Metroplex football fans. This is a rivalry that has spanned a century-plus. It is the Battle for the Iron Skillet, Dallas vs. Fort Worth, Doak Walker versus Sammy Baugh, the Pony Express versus LaDainian Tomlinson, and more, It’s the game Grantland Rice, the famous sportswriter called ‘The Game of the Century’ in 1935. It is the very fabric of college football. Our hope is that TCU will resume the series, as we want to continue this rivalry in perpetuity.”

The TCU-SMU series has been played more than 100 times dating back to 1915, making it the latest casualty among several long-running college football series — many of which have been impacted by conference realignment. Since the series kicked off more than a century ago, only six seasons have passed without the two rivals meeting on the gridiron — the last instance being 2020 when the game was called off due to COVID-19 protocols. 

The Horned Frogs, No. 17 in the preseason AP Top 25, and Mustangs are slated to face off for the 102nd time in series history on Saturday, Sept. 23, at TCU. The 2024 matchup moves back across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to SMU before returning to Fort Worth in 2025. TCU won the most recent meeting in September 2022, a 42-34 victory at SMU, and owns a 52-42-7 all-time lead in the series.  

The Horned Frogs have defeated the Mustangs in 18 of the past 22 meetings between the area rivals, though recent years have injected new life into the Dallas-Fort Worth area feud. SMU snapped a seven-game losing streak in the series in 2019 and won again in 2021, marking the first time since 1992-93 that the Mustangs defeated TCU in consecutive meetings. The 2021 meeting was additionally marred by a postgame skirmish

More fuel was added to the fire at the end of the 2021 season when Sonny Dykes, after guiding SMU to 30 wins in four seasons as coach, was hired away by TCU to replace longtime Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson. Dykes subsequently led TCU to a College Football Playoff National Championship appearance in his first year at the helm in 2022, defeating SMU in his return to Gerald. J. Ford Stadium along the way. 

While TCU and SMU still have three more meetings, several other in-state rivalries on the chopping block are scheduled to be played for the final time in 2023. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are scheduled to meet in Stillwater this November for the final playing of the Bedlam Series, which also dates back to the early 1900s and has been played more than 100 times. Oklahoma moves from the Big 12 to the SEC on July 1, 2024. 

On the West Coast, USC and UCLA are both scheduled to face in-state foes Cal and Stanford for the final time in 2023 before the Trojans and Bruins make their way from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten next summer. Washington-Washington State and Oregon-Oregon State are also not scheduled beyond 2023 at this time after the Huskies and Ducks also announced Big Ten defections, effective next year. 

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