If you haven’t heard, Houston beat Tulsa 27-10 on Saturday. Now, you may ask, “Why should I care?” It is really simple. SMU plays Houston at home on Saturday. If SMU wins, SMU is 4-2 in conference; Houston has conference losses. Then, the next Saturday, SMU plays Tulsa at home. If SMU wins again, SMU is 5-2 in conference; Tulsa has conference losses. Then, SMU plays Rice. If SMU beats Rice, nothing else matters and SMU wins Conference USA-West.
Put another way, SMU controls its own destiny.
SMU ended last season with a three-game winning streak. Obviously, SMU would like to end this season with a four game winning streak. Each one of these games will be the biggest games in post-death penalty SMU football history.
Now, a fair question is to ask when has SMU ever won a game with some importance? Most of SMU’s victories have come with nothing on the line. And when there is a big game, SMU has historically folded. Yes, I remember a six win SMU team losing to a winless TCU in 1997 on ESPN2.
I also remember SMU beating UAB on ESPN2 on Tuesday night. And that encourages me. That was a big game. It was on national TV and the loser of that SMU-UAB game was likely done for the season. Funny how games lose their importance after they have been played. I went back and watched the game and came away with one conclusion: SMU played better than I thought. SMU was not going to lose that game.
I keep thinking about the SMU playbook. And I until I put this thought in the blog, I won't be able to get it out of my head. So, here goes. I don't know how may pages are in Rusty Burns' playbook, but if a single play goes unused in the next three weeks, I am going to be ticked. Except the freeze play and the swinging gate, that is, I never want to see those again.
SMU’s is completely healthy for the first time since Week 2. The only injury is KR Jessie Henderson, who has a sprained ankle, and he is listed as probable.
If I lament anything about SMU playing Houston, it is that I now have to read the Houston Chronicle for a week.