Monday, July 31, 2006


I buy a new SMU hat every year. I dunno why, I just do. Maybe it is a tradition or a right of passage. Maybe it is a fashion thing. Maybe it is the fact that after a year, my hats are good for nothing other than yard work.

So, Saturday’s errands took me near SMU and I stopped by the SMU Bookstore. I’ve done the khaki hat; I’ve done the white hat; mostly, I do the navy hat. Never did the red hat; never will do the red hat.

Usually, this is not a hard decision. After last year’s khaki hat, Navy was definitely in order for 2006-2007. One standard “Southern Methodist University” hat in Navy. This would be no. 5 of the same hat over eleven years. But they have some new hats. They have some new SMU football hats in Navy with a small, white embroidered football. My wife was partial to that one. They had a similar basketball hat as well. What better way to support the Doherty regime than with a new basketball hat? And then, I saw it…

Me: Look! An SMU BASEBALL hat.

Her: Huh?


Her: Do we even have a baseball team?

Me: No.

Her: Then why is there a hat?

Me: Because it is cool. I’m getting it.

Her: But there is no SMU baseball team.

Me: No, but it is an ironic hat. And that makes it the best hat of all.

Her: That is stupid.

Oldest son: Don’t say, “Stupid.”

Me: That is right son, we don’t say, “Stupid.” Mommy is sorry. What better way to show unwavering support for all SMU sports than by sporting an SMU baseball hat, when there is no baseball team? That way, I am not picking favorites.

Youngest son: Thturped.

Her: I think he’s right. Make up your mind, we are going to La Madeline. I’ll get you a chicken caesar sandwich.

Me: Baseball. Basketball. Football. Baseball. Basketball. Football. Baseball. Basketball. Football. Baseball. Basketball. Football. Baseball. Basketball. Football.
Baseball. Basketball. Football.

Or, Baseball & Basketball & Football?

Friday, July 28, 2006's C-USA Preview has posted its Conference USA Preview.

Nothing surprising or remarkable in it. However, like enarly everything I have read on this site lately, it is remarkeably inconsistent (read: contradictory}.

Relevant SMU breakdown:

4. SMU
Predicted record: 5-7 Conf. record: 2-6
Best Player: RB DeMyron Martin, Soph.
Offense - The offense started to come on by the end of last year and has the potential to finally start scoring on a regular basis if new QB Justin Willis plays up to the prep hype. There will be a variety of formations with the ability to go to four and five wide sets to run the spread and then quickly adjust to a regular pro-set using a "U End" as a fullback/tight end. Bobby Chase leads a good-looking receiving corps, but the strength is in the backfield where DeMyron Martin leads a deep, speedy group of runners. The line will be fine by the middle of the year once some depth starts to develop.
Defense - Head coach Phil Bennett is all about the defense, and his turned into a solid one as last year went on. The speed and athleticism is finally there to run things the way Bennett would like with more aggressiveness and more forced turnovers, but it might take a little while to fully jell with little experience in the back seven. Safety Joe Sturdivant and linebacker Wilton McCray are nice pieces to build around. The line should be dominant with tackle Adrian Haywood and end Justin Rogers among the best in the league.
This season will be a success if … SMU has a winning season. There are way too many holes to win the West, but the schedule is nice enough to expect seven wins and a possible bowl bid. At the very least, it would be a disaster if this is another losing season.

I can't gripe that they picked SMU 4th in the West, everybody has. But I think anybody predicting SMU to go 2-6 in conference is high.


For the heck of it, I checked out Still one of the most ill-conceived online retail shops I have ever seen. My company sells all the same stuff with its logo on it. Whoever runs this site is clearly a corporate gifts vendor. As a result, SMU athletics is being treated pretty much like your local mortgage broker or plumbing supply company.

The only truly unique item on the site that is new as far as I can tell are jerseys. I don't remember them being sold online before. One problem. I don't think these are accurate replica jerseys. The mustang insignia on the collar isn't there. Also, there is no white piping along the red stripes. In other words, even though they are selling on the "official" SMU site, they are not authentic.

Two questions. When will we be able to buy authentic jerseys? Second, when will we be able to buy the same shirts the coaches wear on the sidelines?


Kickoff Luncheon

The Football Kickoff Luncheon is scheduled for August 16th. Last year's event sold out, so buy your tickets.

Last year's speaker was Roger Staubach. No word on this year's speaker.

Individual game tickets ...

...go on sale August 1st.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Conference USA Football Media Guide

The Conference USA Media Guide is out and available for download on the C-USA Web Site.

Flame Out

It seems like every year, there is at least one kid that SMU was depending upon for the season that flames out on the SMU football team over the summer never to return again. Last year, it was Desmond Jones, Kendall Mouton and Clayton Cox.

This year, I haven't heard a thing. I am optimistic there won't be any surprises in August. I certainly haven't heard of any. Draw your own conclusions, but I think the players believe this team has a chance to accomplish something this year.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Conference USA Coaches Poll

Conference USA Coaches Poll is out.

Predicted order of finish by the coaches:

1. UCF 65
2. Southern Miss 52
3. Memphis 43
4. Marshall 35
5. UAB 28
6. East Carolina 25

1. Tulsa 61
2. UTEP 60
3. Houston 55
4. SMU 39
5. Tulane 20
6. Rice 17

No surprises there, pretty much the same as the end of last season. Actually, I was surprised ECU was not ranked higher after seeing several magazines rating ECU higher Marshall and UAB. But, at the time I read those magazines, I was surprised they had ECU that high.

SMU also only has one player preseason first team, Jessie Henderson as the kick returner.

Monday, July 24, 2006

What I am working on...

I am working on several things at the moment. First, are a couple od t-shirt designs I plan on selling on the site. I wouldn't make any money off the deal.

Second, a couple of big posts. One on the SMU fans. Another is identifying the borderline teams for making a bowl in an effort to size up SMU's chances.

Third, is the long awaited site redesign. It was up for a few minutes last night, but was taken down because it was unreadable.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ben Pointer on Channel 8

WFAA Channel 8 ran a nice little story on SMU Center Ben Pointer last night. The focus was on his volunteer work with children. Cute story (my wife liked it). And again, the SMU students come across very well on TV. Unfortunately, WFAA doesn't have the story on its website and my TIVO was working overtime on something else. If anybody else has it, I will see about getting it hosted.

Ahem. SMU SID? Clue us into these stories, please. No doubt SMU knew the story was going to run. It really wouldn't hurt to let us know these things.

Edit: Here is the link.

Useless Stats!

Two years ago, I pulled the stats on the records of teams the year after a winless season. Last year, I did the records of teams two years after a winless season. Well, a hard drive crash cost me my list of schools that had a winless season. Sorry. Rather than recreate the list, I thought I would go in another direction.

A 5-6 team is a funny thing. Perhaps it is on the brink of being a successful team; perhaps it is a bad team topping out at its potential. Myabe that team will break through the next year and maybe it will slip back into the bottom of its conference. I was curious. How well do teams that finisha year 5-6 do the next year?

I took a sample. The schools I used were every Big XII team; every C-USA team; every SMU nonconference opponent this year and the past five years. That includes every team in Texas. I went back to the beginning of college football; if one of the teams finished 5-6 in 1917, it is included.

78 teams in the sample finished 5-6. That is surprisingly low to me. Some teams, however, never finished 5-6 in their history. Such is the case with Houston. On the other hand, Rice has the record with eight 5-6 finishes.

Of the 78, exactly half, 39, finished with a record better than 5-6 the next year. Six teams repeated their 5-6 performance (7.7%). The remaning 42% did worse.

SMU, for those that are curious, finished 5-6 seven times. On three occasions, SMU improved the next season.

Hypothetically, the odds that SMU will win more than five games are in SMU's favor, if only because it is a 12 game season.

Again, read the headline.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Houston Chronicle C-USA picks

The Houston Chronicle's Ronnie Turner, on his Blog, made his C-USA predictions. Turner is the UH beat writer.

Relevant to SMU, under C-USA West:

4. SMU: I actually think this could be the year the Mustangs receive a postseason bowl invite. But they won't win the conference. And if they don't find a reliable signal caller, they won't be winning much else, either.


Bowl teams: UTEP, Houston, Tulsa, SMU, Southern Miss, UCF

CFN 2006 Rankings

College Football News is slowly unveiling its 2006 college football rankings. SMU comes in at 91. That is ahead of Tulane, Rice, UNT and Arkansas State. Everyone else SMU plays is obviously ranked higher.

Couple of interesting points. CFN predicts SMU to win five games, matching last year's total. I think that is low; I think they simply took the number of games against teams they have ranked lower and added SHSU and moved on. I think there is a risk in doing that. The difference between the number 1 team in the country is great; the difference between a top 10 team and a top 25 team is big; but the difference between a top 75 team and a top 90 team no matter whose rankings you use is not significant.

Second, CFN lists SMU's strengths as running back and defensive line. Hard to disagree with that. They list weaknesses as offensive line and secondary. I can't disagree with the secondary comment, but I think the offensive line is as good if not better than it has been in years. I probably would have substituted QB as a weakness, because that is the biggest question mark on the whole team.

Before the 2005 season, the same web site had SMU at 114. The website also had a "pre-preseason rankings," back in January 2006 which had SMU at 90. I don't know what has happened between January and July to push Akron over the top.

As an aside, Sagarin, ended last season with SMU ranked 88th.

Tulane, Rice, UNT and Arkansas State are consistently ranked below SMU in every publication. Most publications usually add at least another team to that list such as Marshall, ECU or UAB.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Back with a vengeance

I just got back from Florida on something called a “vacation.” A full week with spotty internet, e-mail and voicemail. Basically, I was a nervous wreck all week. Fear number one was that the office would fall apart without me. Fear number two was the office would not fall apart without me.

With a week of nothing to do but chase my children on the beach and read, I tried to do much of the latter. Endlessly repeating things like “No, don’t eat that!”, “Stop throwing sand at your brother!” and “Put that down.” gets old after a while.

Included among my reading this year was (hold on, let me get it out; I want to make sure I get the title right) “Dave Campbell’s 2006 Texas Football.”

I also read a number of other college football magazines as well. As an aside, the general consensus in all the magazines is that SMU is the 4th best team in C-USA West. That is an improvement. Last year, every publication picked SMU dead last in its division.

But this is not about those other magazines. This is about “Dave Campbell’s 2006 Texas Football.” More specifically, this is about you. More specifically, this is about those of you that have read “Dave Campbell’s 2006 Texas Football” and those of you who haven’t but have heard and possibly relied upon the comments of those that had. This is about what you may or may not know is in “Dave Campbell’s 2006 Texas Football.”

For reasons that are unfathomable to me, no one has mentioned what I consider the single most important item in “Dave Campbell’s 2006 Texas Football.” Originally, I thought of calling it a conspiracy, but it clearly isn’t. Nobody is collaborating to keep this from you. You cannot, however, convince me that there are not people who have read “Dave Campbell’s 2006 Texas Football” and seen the same thing I have and not recognized the significance. For whatever reason, those people have not shared it with you.


Take a look…

Take a closer look…

The “premier Texas football publication” predicts SMU to go to a bowl game and nobody mentions it for a month? A writer for a local paper told me not to swear on the blog. He said it limited my readership and meant that most websites couldn’t link to me. But seriously, “WTF?”

Yes, it is a 6-6 prediction for a season record. Given SMU’s softer schedule, that is arguably not much of an improvement. Some have stated as much. And yes, I would argue that a 6-6 season isn’t likely to get SMU to a bowl and I made that argument a couple of months back quite persuasively using statistics. Still, when was the last time “Dave Campbell’s Texas Football” predicted SMU to go to a bowl game?

And yes, it is the New Orleans Bowl. Would I like SMU to play in the Fiesta Bowl? Sure, but when SMU hasn’t been to a bowl game in over twenty years, you take what you can get. AND YOU ENJOY IT! It is progress. It is a reward for a successful season. It is like a guy I used to work for told me at 3AM while eating bad, cold, borderline stale pizza during a break while we were stuffing fundraising envelopes for a political campaign. “Pizza, even when it is bad, is still pretty ___’n good.” Sure, he followed it up with a profane remark regarding women’s anatomy, but the principle still holds up. A bowl game, even a bad bowl game, is still a good end to the season.

In the grand scheme of things is this important? If SMU does pull off a bowl invite, the answer is obviously "Yes." But even the idea that a magazine would pick SMU to go to a bowl is important as well. It means that somebody that has seen these teams and talked to these coaches likes what he sees. There are people outside SMU that see progress for this program. They think it is improving. So, yes. It is important.

There are a variety of reasons this has not been mentioned before. I think some people want to preserve low expectations and don’t want to put any pressure on Phil Bennett. That is crap. Phil’s a big boy and has dealt with plenty of “manure” up to this point. He has the schedule he has wanted all along. The players from top to bottom are his recruits. He hasn’t had a major change on his staff in two years. This is his schedule, his scheme and his players. This is his team. Phil Bennett’s coaching tenure has passed beyond expectations; it is time for some results.

I think some people can’t bring themselves to talk positively about SMU. They have their reasons. Maybe they are jaded. Maybe they are cynical. Maybe they are pessimistic. Maybe they are rooting for SMU to fail. Doesn’t make them right. It just makes them less fun on the Boulevard.

For that matter, why hasn’t SMU mentioned it? Maybe it doesn’t warrant a press release. But hey, a small mention on the SMU website couldn’t hurt.

I started reading the SMU message boards because I wanted information. Information that I wasn’t getting from the newspaper because I wanted more detail specifically on SMU than the DMN could provide. It is disappointing when, for whatever reason, people are not forthcoming. So, yeah. I am irritated at the people that bought “Dave Campbell’s 2006 Texas Football” and failed to mention that they picked SMU to go to a bowl.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Indoor Practice Facility

So TCU is going to build an indoor practice facility for football, but "it will be used by all sports." I guess that means Women's Soccer will be allowed to take their team photo there for Title IX purposes.

This falls under the category of "hand-wringing" if that is what you want to do. The first question I had was, "Why?" The reasons I came up with are: (i) new offices and meeting rooms; (ii) secrecy; (iii) climate-control; (iv) inclement weather. The thing is I don't know if the practice facility will be anything other than a "barn" or a hanger;" if you wanted to, you could do something really nice with new training facilities, offices film and meeting rooms, but I don't know if that is part of the plan. As for secrecy, depending on the school, you can just as easily walk over to the stadium and lock everybody else out. As for inclement weather, how many days are we talking about during the season? Weather can't interfere with practice more than a handful of times, if at all. As for the heat, that is a real concern.

Then I started wondering who had a football practice facility? Right now, I think UT is the only one in the state. A&M is building one. I don't think Tech is building one, and nobody else has one.

If you can't tell, I just don't see the need. And it wouldn't matter if I did, there is no room to build one at SMU.