Friday, September 22, 2006

Long awaited thoughts on Sam Houston and Arkansas State

I have said nothing about the victory over Sam Houston State. SMU beat a vastly inferior team. Stats don’t matter. The score doesn’t matter. Anybody thinking that SMU has this thing figured out now needs to tap the breaks.

I believe, for the most part, I-A schools lose to I-AA schools only when they are not taken seriously. Colorado’s talent is vastly superior to Montana State’s. I suspect Colorado spent very little time gameplanning for there I-AA team and that lack of urgency filtered down from the head coach to the assistants to the players. To an extent, I think the same can be said for the A&M-Army game. A lack of urgency brought on by not taking the opponent seriously leads to a close game or an upset.

Urgency, for SMU after losing to UNT, was not going to be a problem. As an aside, if I ever get wind that there is such a problem before another SMU game this year, I am going to have a conniption.

Still, a win is a win. It serves two purposes. First and foremost, it is one of six needed for bowl eligibility, which is still the goal. Actually, the goal is to get to a bowl game, which I think is going to take more than six wins.

Second, it establishes a floor from which to build on the season with some confidence. I fully believe that if SMU had a I-AA team on the schedule in 2003, SMU would have won that game and then gone on to win at least one other game. If you can’t win a game, the negativity takes over and feeds on itself. But this year, the team has had some success and knows that if it performs it can be successful. People seem to dispute this and think it is better to play top 10 teams, but they are just wrong-when you are trying to build a program, you soften the schedule. I have already done the research and it is in the archives. I have been inviting people for two years to show me a rebuilding program that didn’t soften the schedule and nobody has shown me one. While I am all for conversation, until you can give me an example, don’t talk to me about it ‘cause I am going to swat your argument back to half court like Bamba Fall (hey, basketball season is coming up).

But I digress, SMU now faces Arkansas State in a third consecutive game that SMU should win. Much has been made of the fact that Arkansas State beat Army and Army almost beat A&M and this means disaster.

Well, there is something about that Army-Arkansas State game you don’t know. On the eve of the Army-Arkansas State game, the Thursday before that game, the NCAA received a phone call from one of Army’s opponents questioning the eligibility of starting center Pete Bier and starting left guard Dan Evans, both fifth year seniors. Army sat the two players against Arkansas State, until their eligibility was confirmed before Army’s game against Kent State. Imagine what happens to a run oriented offense loses the guts of its starting offensive line one practice before its first game. Don’t imagine; I will show you: Going backwards, against A&M, Army had 295 rushing yards; against Kent State, Army had 215 rushing yards; against Arkansas State, Army had 90 rushing yards. I watched the second-half of the Army-A&M when I got home from the SHSU game, Army runs between the tackles all day. If the Army-Arkansas State game were today, Army would crush them.

The game is at home. SMU should have better talent. SMU should win this game. The area of concern is running back where Martin out, Johnnie Fitzgerald is questionable, and now, apparently Fred Turner was hurt in practice. That leaves Cedrick Dorsey, redshirt freshman James Mapps and kick returner Jessie Henderson. Everybody else is expected to play, and it was suggested to me that Fitzgerald will play. The troubling word is their is a rumor that Justin Willis has the flue, though there is no word on that in the DMN. I know Kate Hairopoulos is new, but she can't be so incompetent as to neglect that detail, can she?

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