FORT WORTH - When Texas A&M moved to the SEC, their traditional Thanksgiving Day game against Texas was canceled.
So instead of the Aggies and the Longhorns playing on Thursday, it'll be Texas and TCU.
"Even though we aren't playing A&M on Thanksgiving, we really excited to continue to play and have the tradition of Thanksgiving night for us," said Texas football coach Mack Brown.
So, the eyes of Texas will be upon the Horned Frogs.
"We know we were not part of the A&M Texas [tradition,] but we hope to be a great substitute at this point in time," said TCU football coach Gary Patterson.
Being a substitute is exactly what TCU has become. Texas is hoping to keep the Thanksgiving Day game in Austin on a permanent basis and rotate their opponents.
With that in mind, Texas Tech will be playing in Austin next Thanksgiving Day, not TCU.
"Right now the way it is - playing on Thanksgiving - Texas gets a chance to enjoy their traditions, play at home and play the Thanksgiving game," Patterson said. "Nobody else gets a chance to start those traditions. That's not a complaint, all I'm saying is, you'd like an opportunity to be able to do that so you could be part of history."
TCU did play a Thanksgiving Day game back in 1928. The Frogs topped the SMU Mustangs 15-6 in that game 84 years ago. That's hardly a tradition, while Texas has played 75 games on Thanksgiving Day dating all the way back to 1895.
And while the Horned Frogs don't have the history, they're ready for the challenge.
"We are very grateful to play on that day, and it’s just going to be a great game," said TCU defensive tackle Chucky Hunter.
Thursday’s game marks the 83rd meeting between the two teams, with the Longhorns holding a 61-20-1 series edge.
This year, TCU and Texas lead the nation tied with 16 true freshmen on the playing field. Patterson said despite his young team, he feels good to be at this point with two games remaining.
“These kids and staff have done a lot of work to get where they need to," Patterson said. "For everything that has happened to us, for this team to have fought back and won an overtime game at West Virginia and now be bowl eligible, it’s truly an accomplishment.”
TCU guard Eric Tausch said the nationally televised game will be a chance to chow the country how much they've grown up.
"Everybody is going to be watching and it'll be a good opportunity for us to show everybody what we have," Tausch said.
Patterson said the national spotlight will be a reminder to his team of what they have to be able do to win a Big 12 title -- win in environments like Austin, Texas, and Norman, Oklahoma.
“If want to win the conference consistently, you better find a formula to be able to be beat [those] two football teams,” Patterson said.
The good news for TCU is under head coach Gary Patterson, the team is 81-2 when allowing 17 points or less. The bad news, Texas is averaging just shy of 40 points per game.
For Texas and Mack Brown, it's a big change this Thanksgiving, but they're moving on from the rivalry with Texas A&M and the game's association with the holiday.
"The A&M series has been a great series," Brown said. "It's one that we really enjoyed. It was fun playing at both places. It was the ultimate in-state rivalry. Now that we're not playing any more, we're really excited that TCU has come into our league."