TCU turns down Wisconsin rematch

Updated: February 10, 2011, 11:36 PM ET
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com

Is a Rose Bowl rematch brewing between Wisconsin and TCU for the 2011 season opener?

It's not going to happen, but both schools were contacted about the idea.

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said on a Madison, Wis., sports radio station Wednesday that he was approached about playing host to TCU on Sept. 3.

"I was contacted probably a week, maybe a week and a half after the bowl game about the opportunity to play TCU in our opener," Bielema said on the show. "It was something that was going to be broadcast and made a big deal. It took me all of about point-five seconds to say, 'Yes.' "

TCU defeated Wisconsin 21-19 in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day, vaulting the undefeated Horned Frogs to a No. 2 final ranking in The Associated Press and USA Today top 25 polls (they remained No. 3 in the final BCS standings).

"I would definitely love the challenge to play them again," Bielema said on the show. "And really, I thought it would be a great sell with our folks. Unfortunately, TCU wasn't as excited about the matchup."

TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte on Wednesday confirmed that a third party approached him about playing the Sept. 3 season opener at Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium. Del Conte also confirmed that he declined the offer.

However, he said his lack of interest in the game had little to do with a lack of excitement at the prospect of playing the Badgers again, but rather that the one-time meeting would not produce a return game in Fort Worth.

"We already have Baylor for our opening game," Del Conte said. "A team supposedly Wisconsin played last year doesn't want to go back there. A third party was shopping the game around to other teams. I have no interest in playing a one-[time] game."

A source said UNLV, which played host to Wisconsin for the 2010 season opener, wants to get out of its scheduled Sept,. 3 game against Wisconsin.

Del Conte said plans for a potential home-and-home series were never discussed.

"It was a very quick conversation with a third party," Del Conte said. "I want to be clear: I never spoke to the Wisconsin athletic director or football coach."

Now, had Ohio State -- whose president, E. Gordon Gee, famously had chided non-BCS conference teams such as TCU for playing schedules littered with the "Little Sisters of the Poor" -- been the Big Ten team seeking a late schedule change, Del Conte said he would have been all ears.

"Oh yeah," he said, "of course."

Jeff Caplan covers colleges for ESPNDallas.com.

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