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.

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