Tuesday, July 26, 2005

History? What History

One of the things that bugs me about the current state of SMU football is how SMU fails to embrace its history. At least the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History is an attempt to highlight some of it. Nevertheless, there is n "History" section on the website. There is no mention of SMU's national championship.

There is no mention of the fact that SMU has five NFL hall of famers-only six schools have more. More than any school in Texas, more than any school in the Big XII, more than any school in Conference USA.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Road From Bristol

Not SMU related, but worth checking out. A single elimination tournament to determine the most hated ESPN personality. If Steven A. Smith doesn't win this thing, it is a crime.

The Road From Bristol

Tripe in the DMN

From Wednesday's Steve Davis column:

Hands off, ladies

If Dallas-area bachelorettes seem a little sadder these days, maybe it's because SMU football coach Phil Bennett – swell guy, makes good money, dotes on his kids – is off the market.

The Mustangs football coach recently married Julie White, who previously lived in College Station. They met long ago when he was an assistant at Texas A&M, but they never knew each other that well until more recently.

Bennett's family has subsequently doubled in size. He has two children, Sam and Maddie. (His first wife died in 1999.) Now, White's children, Katie and Megan, have joined the extended SMU family.

Katie already has been accepted at Baylor on a soccer scholarship. What does that mean for the new family when it's Bears vs. Mustangs on Sept. 3?

"She's already told me she's going to root for the Mustangs that day," Bennett said.

Oh, dear Lord. There hasn't been a worthwhile story in the DMN on SMU in a month and this is the latest mention? I mean, that is great for Coach Bennett. I am glad he's happy and all that, but do we need the "bachelorette" reference?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Stewart Mandell on SMU

Question from Stewart Mandell's July 19th College Football Mailbag:

Does SMU ever have a chance to be a football powerhouse again? Or was the death penalty literally the death of the Mustangs? What can they do to compete with other big-time football schools in the future?
--Thomas Bruce, Dallas

Baby steps, Thomas. Forget becoming a "powerhouse" for now. It would be a step up just for SMU to become competitive in a second-tier conference. The Mustangs last rose above .500 in the WAC in 1997, and now they're moving into Conference USA, which lacks a juggernaut like Boise State but on the whole should be comparable. If Phil Bennett can just get them over that .500 hump, though, and into a bowl game -- which they haven't done in 21 years -- then maybe that program could finally build some momentum.

We've seen it time and time again recently: previously forgotten cellar dwellers (such as Memphis, Northern Illinois and Bowling Green) turning themselves into respectable mid-major programs with the right mix of coaching, support and fortunate recruiting. The death penalty (or, more accurately, the gross misbehavior that prompted it) certainly put an end to any hopes of SMU ever returning to its glory days of the '30s and '40s, but it's no longer a valid excuse for why the Mustangs can't at least field a competitive program in the C-USA.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Lamar Hunt on the Ticket

As I mentioned before I left, BAD Radio on the Ticket had Lamar Hunt in studio today. Obviously, Hunt was there to talk FC Dallas and Pizza Hut Park (blech). You forget what a tremendous life this man has: helped start the AFL; NFL hall of famer; owner of the KC Chiefs; owner of FC Dallas; used to own part of the Chicago Bulls.

But he also played football for SMU for three years and never lettered. At my cajoling, Bob asked Lamar Hunt a question about SMU football, which was basically a generic “What do you think?” question. Hunt’s response was pretty diplomatic. He’s behind Bennett; he’s behind Copeland; likes the move to C-USA; believes SMU will turn it around; thinks the team is moving in the right direction. Generic question; generic response. But what did you expect?

So go out and buy a ticket to a FC Dallas game and put some coin in Hunt’s pocket. Maybe it will trickle down to the Mustang Club.

I’m Back

Where to begin? Before I left on my trip, I found the most amazing place. A place that will just give you books! For free! All you have to do is promise to bring them back. And not just any book, they have old books, out of print books. That is right-the library.

So I checked out a copy of A Payroll to Meet: A Story of Greed, Corruption, and Football at SMU, by David Whitford. I suppose I could have paid up to $31.76 on Amazon.com for a used copy.

Here is my abbreviated book review. It is a good book; it is an easy read. It is as much a history of Dallas as it is of SMU and SMU football. The money, the power, the speed at which things got done in old Dallas. I regret not buying it. I’ll do a thorough review later, but here are a few things jumped out at me, reading the book today:

1) There is a sense, by me anyway, of “That is it? That is all they did?”

2) This is how you defend yourself against an NCAA investigation: First, hire your own lawyers and conduct your own investigation. Second, issue a lopsided report and sanction yourself for about 1/10th of the stuff you did. Third, don’t cooperate at all with the NCAA. If you do that, you can get away with anything.

3) The decision by Gov. Clements, almost unilaterally, to continue payments, has to be considered one of the stupidest decisions in the history of SMU. Even dumber than the Mustang Maniac.

4) Ron Meyer’s recruiting strategy was not that different than Bennett’s today. Meyer focused almost exclusively on Texas and Texas kids.

5) SMU’s history is tied to football. The day that classes started, the football team was organized. Coach Ray Morrison was the second person hired by SMU; was probably the first fired. The first SMU President, Dr. Robert S. Hyer, understood the importance of football.

6) The discussion of academics and football consists entirely of four sentences in a 200+ page book. So, when people talk about how academic reforms were necessary after the death penalty, think about that. There was not one single allegation of any academic impropriety.

I could go on, and I will …later.

Friday, July 08, 2005


In the words of our illustrious Governor, "Adios, mo fo."

I know the blog is just getting off the ground, but it is vacation time for me and the family. I will try and check in and post if there is anything of note. Hopefully, Copeland won't try and change the color scheme to orange and black in honor of the Cleveland Browns while I am gone.

I'll take this time to say thanks to everyone that has stopped by over the last month. It has been great to read the handful of e-mails that have been sent to me because of this site. I am thrilled to see that the number of hits to the blog have slowly risen. It is good to know that there are people out there that still care about the team and the product on the field.

I'll also take the time to request that you send me a note and let me know how I am doing; what I am doing wrong; what I am doing right. I'll point out that this past week has shown that the athletic department does a terrible job of getting the message out to the mustang faithful. So, if you know something or hear something and you are looking for a forum, send me a note and we'll talk.

Oh, by the way, BAD Radio on the Ticket is going to have Lamar Hunt in studio on July 18th. Bob and I exchange e-mails from time to time. I am begging him to ask Mr. Hunt as a former player, alumnus and donor at least one question about SMU football. We'll see if anything gets asked.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

CollegeFootballNews.com Conference USA Preview

CollegeFootballNews.com has their Conference USA preview up. I think it is an interesting read. Their SMU preview came out a couple of months ago; it was a pretty fair analysis of the team.

Like all the other college football preview magazines, CollegeFootballNews.com picks SMU last in Conference USA West. They also list Phil Bennett as the "Coach that must produce". When they say you have to produce and at the same time pick you dead last, that is not encouraging.

CollegeFootballNews.com goes through the motions of predicting the winner of every game on the schedule. They predict SMU will win one game in 2005, at home against East Carolina. It should be pointed out that CollegeFootballNews.com predicted that SMU would win only one game in 2004. I personally think SMU will do better than that, but I'll save that for another day.

Other items of note:

Alvin Nnabuife is the only SMU player that is preseason first team Conference USA. CollegeFootballNews.com ranks Alvin Nnabuife as the 14th best player in Conference USA.

Brad Kieschnick made second team offense.

If you are interested in unit rankings (out of 12 teams): Offense (12th); Defense (11th); Special Teams (6th). By position, SMU is ranked no better than 10th.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Who's the Jack@$$?

Saw this picture. It is from the 2002 Humanitarian Bowl Golf Tournament. Made me laugh. Funny, in the "I know Phil Bennett could beat this guy to a bloody pulp" sort of way. Or maybe it is just pony ears.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Revenue Sharing

Interesting read in the Birmingham News on the financial interworkings of Conference USA. Though written from UAB's perspective, you can see the benefits for SMU as well.

A Tale of Two AD's

No doubt that the move to Conference USA is a positive for SMU. You can't even debate it. Closer, more logical in conference rivalries; money savings; less travel. But I thought I would point out a few comments from UH athletic director Dave Maggard in the Houston Chronicle:

The University of Houston never looked at Conference USA as a destination in the
first place. It was always the means to an end.

UH wants to be in the Big 12, and if that sounds silly to you, it's not silly to the people who are working so hard at fund raising, recruiting and coaching.

The first thing UH athletic director Dave Maggard had to change was the attitude about such things. He had to convince staff and alumni that great things were possible. He might have done that.

Whether he succeeds, well, nothing is guaranteed.

"My goal is to get us in a position where we have options," he said. "We're never going to be satisfied being a bottom feeder."

"The biggest thing is that people, coaches, staff and alums are beginning to buy into the belief we can get this thing back up," Maggard said. "I feel we're close. We spend a lot of time telling our story, and it's beginning to pay off in fund raising. We've got a long way to go and will require a continual push. I think the new Conference USA gives us a great opportunity."

Compare that with the comments from SMU AD Jim Copeland in Sunday's DMN
Jim Copeland, the athletic director at SMU, said the Mustangs' move into C-USA is financially responsible and helps build a regional fan base.

"If you talk about national recognition, that comes from the prestige of the conference and what type of television package you have," Copeland said. "National recognition comes through being in the Eastern media. But people in the West find out their football games aren't covered until Monday morning. That's a fact of life."

Copeland also pointed out that travel to the West Coast is tough on players in terms of scheduling classes, and it drains money from the athletic budget. C-USA's members are spread across the East, Midwest and Southwest.

Copeland estimated the football program spent $200,000 on a trip to play former conference mate Hawaii.

I am debating whether comment is necessary. Ya see.... Well, nevermind. Draw your own conclusions.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Dave Campbell Interview on the Ticket

I was listening to Ticket Sports Saturday this afternoon with SMU play by play man, Rich Phillips. They had Dave Campbell on. There was only one SMU mention. Dave said he talked to a coach that went to several spring practices around the state. He said A&M looked better than Texas. He also said SMU looked improved, but Baylor looked better. That is the opinion of one high school coach that saw one practice. Take it for what it is worth.

Friday, July 01, 2005

SMU Bookstore

After reviewing the mustanglockerroom.com website and being underwhelmed, I thought I would point everyone in the direction of the SMU Bookstore, which is MUCH better.

You can pick up the coveted SMU shot glass, bottle opener keychain and flip flops. What more do you need?

Conference USA

Today, we officially joined Conference USA, even though we stopped WAC play a month ago. Did we really need a countdown? Should we really be that excited?

The fact is we should have joined Conference USA in 2001 when TCU did, but that invitation was not extended. It goes back to the same things. We have not been competitive. We have stumbled upwards into conference USA. Every other school that has joined conference USA can point to something that they bring to the table but SMU. Even Rice has a national championship in the last few years in baseball. The closest thing we have is our men's soccer team.

Joining Conference USA does not make SMU better. We are still the same struggling athletic program we were yesterday. We can, however, treat this conference realignment as an opportunity. Time will tell if we can make the most of it.

By the way, mustanglockerroom.com is terrible. I won't link to it. It is filled with generic corporate logo items. For the most part, it isn't even SMU's logo; the arching SMU is not our logo. If it is, I want it changed back. And requiring someone to enter in their e-mail address before viewing the site is ridiculous. I am not looking for things to complain about here; I am just saying it won't work.