Perhaps no topic garners more discussion than this one. Mitchell versus Willis; Willis versus Mitchell.
Lost in the scuttlebutt of leading the Houston game for all but the last few seconds was an interesting statistic. Bo Levi Mitchell set the SMU freshman record for passing yards with 2,047 (with four games to play). He will almost certainly break the SMU freshman total offense record of 2,401 this week. Further, Mitchell has 21 passing touchdowns (22 total touchdowns) and has four games to play; Willis had 26 passing touchdowns (29 total touchdowns) his freshman year (lest we forget he sat a game).
Not so long ago, SMU ran this ad for a kid that scored 29 touchdowns.
Reminder: Bo Levi Mitchell is a TRUE freshman.
Barring injury (knock on wood), Mitchell will likely beat all of Willis’ freshman records. That includes interceptions, of course. Assuming Mitchell starts 12 games in 2009, he will obliterate all of Willis' career records as well.
Here is an interesting thought: the offense appears to be coming around somewhat; the last four games, SMU has averaged 28 points per game. Assume that SMU adds a field goal to that average over the next four weeks. SMU would then average as many points per game as it did in 2006.
The difference between 2006 and 2008, of course, is wins. The difference, of course, is a lousy start and a lousy defense. In 2006, SMU probably had the best defense it has had in 20 years and it still gave up points in bunches. Make no mistake-in the future, SMU will only go as far as its defense takes it.
So what does it mean? This is not an attempt to say that June Jones was right to start Bo Levi Mitchell. I think that decision was wrong. Nothing I have written above changes that. Mitchell played too early; he struggled; they tried to compensate by dumbing the offense down and made matters worse. Now, it appears he is starting to get it. But it does give you hope for the future. Next season, there will be an offense in place that will likely be better than any offense we have seen in 20 years. I think you have to be optimistic about that.
Now if we can just get a defense that only gives up 300 yards a game....