MINNEAPOLIS — The Gophers football team announced Tuesday that it will play a home-and-home series with Texas Christian University beginning in 2014.
The first of the two games will take place in Fort Worth, Texas, on Sept. 13, 2014. Minnesota will then host the Horned Frogs on Sept. 3, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium. The home game for the Gophers replaces a previously scheduled game against South Dakota State.
University of Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague said he and associated athletic director David Benedict have a prior relationship with TCU’s athletic director Chris Del Conte. Gophers head coach Jerry Kill and TCU coach Gary Patterson are also longtime friends, but Teague said that didn’t play into the decision. It had more to do with Minnesota needing to fill a void in the 2014 schedule.
“You’re always undergoing some type of football scheduling and we had a hole in ’14,” Teague said. “They knew we needed a game and we knew they needed a game. So it connected that way. We were really pleased with the timing.”
The Gophers will receive $500,000 to travel to Fort Worth in 2014 and will not owe TCU anything when the Horned Frogs come to Minnesota the following year. TCU is also on the hook for $400,000 for the Gophers’ previously-scheduled game against South Dakota State in 2015, which the game with TCU replaces.
Minnesota had previously paid the University of North Carolina an $800,000 buyout to take two games with the Tar Heels off the schedule in 2013 and 2014. With the $900,000 total from TCU, the Gophers not only recoup that money lost from the UNC series but also save face a bit by scheduling the Horned Frogs.
“We’re really pleased with that,” Teague said. “It certainly wasn’t all a financial issue or a financial decision, but that was part of it and we’re pleased with it.”
Minnesota and TCU — now in the Big XII Conference — have faced off just once, back in 1974. The Gophers earned a 9-7 win over the Horned Frogs at Memorial Stadium in Minneapolis.
In Kill’s second season as head coach last year, the Gophers advanced to their first bowl game since 2009 when they played Texas Tech in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. With a loss in the bowl game, Minnesota finished 6-7 overall. TCU finished the 2012 regular season 7-5 and lost to Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. The Horned Frogs are just a few seasons removed from winning the Rose Bowl, as they beat Wisconsin by a 21-19 final to cap their 2010 season.
“It’s going to be great having a program like TCU coming to TCF,” Teague said. “They have really been on a roll the last six or seven years, so it’s going to be great for fans to have a program like that come into our stadium.”
The addition of TCU to the 2014 season completes Minnesota’s non-conference schedule. The Gophers will also play Eastern Illinois, Middle Tennessee State and San Jose State before opening the Big Ten season.