TCU's game with Ohio State is absolutely huge on Saturday, obviously. It's No. 4 against No. 15. It's two of the most successful programs of the millennium -- Ohio State has 14 10-win seasons since 2002; TCU has 11 -- squaring off for the first time since 1973. Two One future Hall of Fame coach pacing the sidelines. The winner jumps to the front of the College Football Playoff and Heisman discussions. GameDay will be on TCU's campus in the morning, and ABC's Saturday Night Football crew will be on hand to show the game to a primetime audience.
To earn the win, TCU will have to solve an Ohio State offense that bombed away on Oregon State and Rutgers, running up 129 combined points while Buckeye quarterbacks have completed 82.1 percent of their throws for 10.4 yards per attempt with 10 touchdowns against one pick. On defense, Ohio State comes at opponents with the most talented defensive line north of Clemson, S.C., led by possible No. 1 draft pick Nick Bosa and former 5-star Chase Young.
But that's not the only opponent TCU will have to overcome on Saturday night.
The Big 12 has not won a national championship since 2005 (the second-longest drought among Power 5 leagues) and has not played for once since 2009 (the longest), a time frame that happens to coincide with the opening of the Big 12's own personal house of horrors -- AT&T Stadium.
The domed, massive state-of-the-art home of the Dallas Cowboys figured to be a home-away-from-home for the Big 12, like the SEC had with the Georgia Dome and enjoys now at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. But the actual results have not been friendly to the league.
In fact, Big 12 teams are 0-13 in non-conference games at AT&T Stadium.
This curse dates back to very opening of Jerry World. The stadium officially opened with a George Strait concert in the summer of 2009 and a Cowboys preseason game was the venue's first football game, but the first competitive football game inside AT&T Stadium was No. 3 Oklahoma facing No. 20 BYU. Fresh off back-to-back-to-back Big 12 championships and a trip to the BCS National Championship, OU returned the reigning Heisman winner in Sam Bradford and a team determined to avenge its loss to Florida to end the 2008 season. Instead, BYU separated Bradford's shoulder in the closing seconds of the first half and the Cougars stunned the Sooners, 14-13.
The Cotton Bowl Classic moved from its eponymous home in Dallas proper to AT&T Stadium later that year, and the streak continued as unranked Ole Miss upended No. 21 Oklahoma State, 21-7.
To date, the Big 12 has never won a Cotton Bowl game inside AT&T Stadium, a 6-game losing streak that includes Texas A&M losing as a Big 12 school but winning as an SEC school.
Big 12 in the Cotton Bowl since moving to AT&T Stadium
No. 21 Oklahoma State
No. 11 LSU
No. 18 Texas A&M
No. 7 Arkansas
No. 11 Kansas State
No. 9 Texas A&M
No. 11 Oklahoma
No. 9 Missouri
No. 13 Oklahoma State
No. 8 Michigan State
No. 5 Baylor
Lest you think Texas A&M's "lose as a Big 12 team, win as an SEC team" history is a fluke, rest assured it isn't.
The Aggies have played Arkansas at AT&T Stadium seven times. They were winless as a Big 12 team, but are undefeated as an SEC team.
A&M vs. Arkansas at AT&T Stadium
No. 11 Arkansas
No. 18 Arkansas
No. 14 Texas A&M
Texas A&M joins SEC
No. 6 Texas A&M
No. 14 Texas A&M
No. 10 Texas A&M
No. 17 Arkansas
* - overtime
As Big 12 members, Texas A&M tripped over its feet against the Hogs. They ended a game-tying drive with an interception in 2010 and blew a 35-17 halftime lead in 2011. As SEC members, the Aggies are invincible in the clutch, winning all three overtime games.
This phenomenon doesn't just extend to the Aggies, either.
TCU has played in the Advocare Kickoff Classic twice to date. They're 1-0 as Mountain West members (a 30-21 win over No. 24 Oregon State in 2010) and 0-1 in the Big 12 (a 37-27 loss to No. 12 LSU in 2013).
That's 11 non-conference losses by Big 12 schools inside AT&T Stadium. Here are the other two.
No. 1 Florida State
No. 12 UCLA
That's seven different programs contributing to that dozen loss streak, one of whom is no longer in the conference and another who won inside the stadium before they joined.
The first 13 times weren't the charm for the Big 12. What about the 14th?