SMU Football: a Storied Past, a Questionable Future
A death penalty in 1987, a coaching carousel ever since and good ole’ fashioned sustained mediocrity have left the once proud Southern Methodist Mustangs in a place hardly befitting of a university with such impressive graduates. Southern Methodist has fallen so hard that THE SMU is probably not even this SMU anymore. That distinction belongs to the Mustangs’ Conference USA rival, Southern Miss, who finished second in the conference a season ago.
But Southern Miss is no Southern Methodist. They never had Dandy Don Meredith or Raymond Berry or Eric Dickerson or the immortal Doak Walker. They aren’t the alma mater of Lamar Hunt. They don’t take on TCU every year in the Battle for the Iron Skillet. They don’t look to move to the Big 12 conference and get left with a solid consolation prize like an invitation to join the new Big East conference in 2013. However, that SMU also has not been struggling recently as much as this SMU.
Head Coach June Jones came over from a high-powered Hawaii attack that made the BCS Sugar Bowl in his final season there in 2007. Since his arrival, SMU has had middling results. He is officially on the hot seat, however official such a distinction can be deemed. But the university has concerns beyond their current coach. A move to the reformatted Big East after this season means a chance for a fresh start but also leaves the possibility of restarting at the bottom. Although Conference USA is no cake walk, their best team, the Houston Cougars, are moving right along to the Big East with SMU. There is the distinct likelihood that Southern Methodist hangs their new banners and agrees to join a conference much too difficult for them to compete in. And that would be a shame, not only for the current crop of players, coaches and faculty, but also for what the Mustangs once were: a three-time National Champion who routinely ran out All-Americans and Heisman Trophy winners.