Very painful long post follows.
Somehow, I got in an argument on the message board about SMU's future schedule which includes North Texas and Arkansas State, and is rumored to include Sam Houston State in the future. I am not trying to antagonize anybody. I am just stating the facts. And the facts are irrefutable. I really didn't want to make this argument now and I reserve the right to address it in the future.
One of the main reasons we have scheduled Texas Tech and OSU in the past was an attempt to curb the mounting deficit that the athletic department faces every year. Pressure was put on Copeland to schedule teams that would pack Ford. In 2001, Turner and Copeland were trying to schedule Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. In November 2003, Copeland was quoted in the DMN as saying he wanted to schedule Texas. I assure you they were not doing it to improve the product on the field, they were doing it to make money. It has been said before, we were renting fans. It is easier to fill the stands with other schools' fans than it would be to make the product on the field worth watching.
Copeland was scheduling tough teams not because they were tough, but because they can fill the stadium. The faculty, which still wields a stupid amount of power over such things, moans and groans on the deficit constantly. Scheduling Texas Tech, OSU and A&M was and still is about money.
Bennett wants the schedule we have this year and next. He has wanted it since he came here. He believes you need to build confidence and getting pounded by the top half of the big XII isn't the way to do it. He's been saying it for years. Other coaches not associated with SMU have been saying it for years, too. Copeland has decided to give Bennett what he wants. It isn't about disguising the record; if Bennett beats Ark. State, North Texas and SHSU and still finishes with four wins in 2006, in all likelihood, he is still going to be fired.
My point has always been that this is what you have to do. Here are two examples:
N. Illinois, 0-11 in 1997, began scheduling a I-AA team every year early in the season, then went 2-9, 5-6 and have been above-.500 ever since.
After going 1-10 in 1997, Coach Fran and TCU ditched OU and entered into a two year deal with Arkansas State beginning in 1999. They followed that up with a two year deal with North Texas.
For those that say they don't want to go to Ford Stadium to watch Arkansas State, I agree. I don't want to go to Ford Stadium to watch Arkansas State; I don't want to go to Ford Stadium to watch Texas Tech; I don't want to go to Ford Stadium to watch Oklahoma State. I want to go to Ford Stadium to watch SMU and only SMU. I certainly don't want to go to Ford Stadium to watch Texas Tech and Oklahoma State pound SMU's brain in like they have the past few years. I don't like seeing our stands filled with other schools' fans. People say that the fans won't show up for Arkansas State, I say they won't show up to watch SMU perpetually lose.
Next, let's look at the argument that our in-conference schedule is soft so scheduling a weak non-conference schedule should be unnecessary.
Let us assume that any team not in a BCS conference has a "weak" in-conference schedule. I am also going to assume that the Sunbelt Conference is the worst conference in Division I-A and that Division I-AA teams tend to be weaker than I-A (all logical assumptions). At the end of this post is a list of EVERY non-BCS team that went to a bowl from 2002-2004. As you can see, every non-bcs school that went to a bowl during that time, schedules Non-I-A teams or Sunbelt teams. There is one exception and that is Louisville. Even Louisville makes a point of scheduling Temple* and they have scheduled Florida Atlantic for 2005.
*Temple has the lowest winning percentage of any BCS school over the past 20 years and it isn't even close, barely winning 1 out of 5 contests. Over the past 10 years, they are the second worst team in Div. 1-A. Now removed to the MAC for a lack of competitiveness.
I will not disagree that SMU football should be better than it is. I agree. I will not disagree that SMU football used to be better than it is. I agree. I will not argue that all of these are guaranteed wins.
I will not argue that if SMU beats Arkansas State, North Texas, Sam Houston, and beats three others and gets to go to the worst bowl in the country then SMU football has acheived its goals. But I will argue that it is a good first step. I will argue that it is better to beat a bad team than to lose to a good team. I don't believe in moral victories. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. You have to prove you can beat somebody or they will believe anybody can beat you.
NON-BCS BOWL TEAMS NON-CONF. SCHEDULES (2002-2004)
2004- Eastern Washington (non-IA)
2003- Wofford (non-IA), N. Texas (Sunbelt)
2002- Army (bowl)
2004- Idaho (Sunbelt) (bowl)
2003- Idaho State (non-IA) (bowl)
2002- Idaho (Sunbelt), Utah State (Sunbelt) (bowl)
2004- Southeast Missouri State (non-IA) (bowl)
2003-Liberty (non-IA), E. Kentucky
2002-Tennessee Tech (non-IA)
2003-Rhode Island (non-IA), Temple (bowl)
3005- Western Carolina (non-IA)
2004- Portland State (non-IA) (bowl)
2003- Portland State (non-IA) (bowl)
2002- None (bowl)
2004-Idaho (non-IA), Fla. Atlantic (bowl)
2003- Appalachian State (non-IA) (bowl)
2002-Eastern Illinois (non-IA) (bowl)
2003-Lousiana Lafayette (Sunbelt) (bowl)
2002- Louisiana Lafayette (Sunbelt)
2004- None (bowl)
2003- Temple (bowl)
2002- None (bowl)
2005- Fla. Atlantic
2004-Troy State (Sunbelt) (bowl)
2003- Hofstra (non-IA)
2002- Appalachian State (non-IA), Hofstra (non-IA) (bowl)
2004- Tennessee-Chattanooga (non-IA), Arkansas State (Sunbelt) (bowl)
2003- Tennessee Tech (non-IA), Arkansas State (Sunbelt) (bowl)
2002- Murray State (non-IA)
2004- Indiana State (non-IA) (bowl)
2003- None (bowl)
2004- Northeastern (non-IA), Duke (bowl)
2003- Virginia Military Institute (non-IA) (bowl)
2004- New Mexico State (bowl)
2003- Southwest Texas State (non-IA), New Mexico State (Sunbelt) (bowl)
2002- Weber State (non-IA), New Mexico State (Sunbelt) (bowl)
2004-None; Sunbelt-What are you going to do? (bowl)
2003-None; Sunbelt-What are you going to do? (bowl)
2002-Nichols State (non-IA) (bowl)
2000-Samford (non-IA) (bowl)
2004- Southern Illinois (non-IA) (bowl)
2003 Tennessee Tech (non-IA) (bowl)
2002- Western Illinois (non-IA)
2003-Louisiana Lafayette (Sunbelt) (Bowl)
2002-Jackson State (non-IA)
2005-NcNeese State (non-IA)
2002-N. Texas (Sunbelt)
2004- Temple (bowl)
2003 Liberty (non-IA)
2002- Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo (non-IA) (bowl)
2004- Florida A&M
2003 Northwestern State (non-IA)
2002- Southern (non-IA), Louisiana-Monroe (Sun Belt) (bowl)
2004- None (bowl)
2003 Troy State (ind.)
2002-Troy State (ind.)
2005- Troy, (Sunbelt), Jacksonville State
2004- Utah State (Sunbelt) (bowl)
2003 Utah State (Sunbelt) (bowl)
2002- Utah State (Sunbelt)
2004- Weber State (non-IA) (bowl)
2003 Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo (non-IA)
2002- Sacramento State (non-IA), New Mexico State (Sunbelt) (bowl)
2004-Appalachian State (non-IA) (bowl)
2003 Montana State (non-IA)