Replacement may be sought outside C-USA

MOBILE, Ala. -- TCU declined an invitation to the GMAC Bowl
on Monday, telling bowl officials their game conflicted with the
school's exams schedule.

The No. 19 Horned Frogs (11-1), who played in the game in 1999
and 2000, would have played Miami of Ohio (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP).

Messages left for TCU athletic director Eric Hyman were not immediately returned.

TCU had said it preferred to play in two other bowl games tied
to the conference: Fort Worth (Dec. 23) or Hawaii (Dec. 25). Final
exams at TCU are Dec. 15-19, and the GMAC Bowl is Dec. 18.

The GMAC Bowl, with a payout of $750,000 per team (by contrast, the four BCS bowls pay out $14 million to $17 million per team), gets the
second pick from Conference USA. But with TCU declining the
invitation, the door could open for the bowl to seek another C-USA
team, such as Louisville, or a team from another conference, said
bowl executive director Frank Modarelli. A conference call with
C-USA officials was set for Monday afternoon.

If the bowl looks outside C-USA, possible scenarios include Boise State (No. 17, No. 18), which won the Western Athletic Conference, or a
school from a bigger conference, Modarelli said.

"I would say yes, we've had conversations with [conferences] other than the mid-majors," he said. "We've definitely had some
big conferences calling."