With UNLV backing out of their commitment, Wisconsin has a schedule hole to fill. So does TCU. A third party approached both schools proposing they play the season opener in Madison, in a rematch of the Rose Bowl. Bret Bielema says it took him half a second to say yes. TCU said no.
To be fair, it's much more than a matter of opponents for TCU. This one-time game wouldn't include any kind of home-and-home agreement. Without the Badgers traveling to Fort Worth, TCU doesn't see a penny of the gate for a big, big game. They also run the risk of losing their first game of the season, immediately forfeiting any carryover goodwill they might have earned with pollsters for the upcoming season. For an upstart program trying to establish itself as a perennial contender, taking a year off from the top of the polls isn't a good strategy.
So, big risk...but big reward. A win over a Big 10 powerhouse, on the road, in the first game of the season while the SEC titans are all playing FCS school — that'd make TCU number one by default, right? And the BCS being what it is, once you're number 1, it's yours until you lose. If TCU wants to make a BCS Title Game as soon as this year, without praying for the AQ conferences to have no undefeated teams, this is the best way to do it.
And it goes without saying that fans would love to see the game happen.
But it's a two-way street. What's to entice top schools to play at Fort Worth? While losing to TCU is no longer a huge upset, they still stand to lose more by falling to, than they stand to gain by beating the nouveau-riche BCS outsiders. As good as they are, no one wants to tank an entire season by losing to a Mountain West school. (And these days, the Big East isn't much of a step up.)