Recently I was contemplating over what schools I’d like to see the Big 12 pursue in order to get back up to at least 12, and maybe even 14 teams. As a colleague and I kicked some names around one came up that we both agreed would be a great addition to the conference if only they could get their act together. The program under scrutiny was that of the SMU Mustangs, and we both agreed that now is the perfect time for SMU to pull itself up out of the purgatory of mediocre teams in NCAA Football.
SMU has been a hum-drum program for as long as I can remember, probably because I was born in 1988 and the Mustangs were recovering from their 1987 “Death Penalty” throughout the majority of my life. At the present moment, however, SMU has the funding and facilities to be much better than the 7-5 record they seem to achieve every year like clockwork.
The first thing that needs to happen at SMU is a change in mindset. It appears that the bigwigs with the deep pockets in Dallas seem content with fielding a mediocre football team. That isn’t good for the future of SMU football. They need to realize that SMU is in the perfect position to jump out and improve their level of talent in a hurry, and then push to make that happen.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area is oozing with talent and is normally a hotbed of recruiting battles. However, the Oklahoma Sooners are looking like they are about to enter a couple year lull and the TCU Horned Frogs and Texas Longhorns are battling each other for recruits, so the competition for SMU as far as recruiting is somewhat limited at the moment. I mean, how hard is it to convince guys from massive Dallas high schools that living in College Station would be zero fun? I’m guessing it wouldn’t be too hard of a sell, and it would allow SMU to stop having to turn to Texas throw-away players like QB Garrett Gilbert.
Also, June Jones is not the guy to lead the Mustangs into the future. Sure, the head coach brought SMU back to semi-relevance, but I think he has hit his ceiling at 7-5. SMU needs to go out and grab a young coordinator on the rise in the next year or two and let that guy carry them forward.
SMU is set to join the Big East for the 2013 season, and while I don’t think that conference will be playing football for much longer, it is a step forward for the Mustangs. The 2013 version of the Big East doesn’t exactly make me shake in my boots, and as a new kid on the scene SMU could take some teams by surprise. The Mustangs need to have a solid 2013 campaign in order to grab some national attention and get more stable conferences, as well as highly talented recruits, to take notice. SMU attempted to woo the Big 12 into taking them during the 2011 season, but failed to impress enough to warrant any attention.
Conference realignment talk aside, SMU needs to jump on the golden opportunity that is currently sitting in front of them to become a better, more consistent program. The situation is perfect for the Mustangs, they just need to execute.