Before I begin this post, I just want to apologize. Last week I suggested that the biggest neglectful by-product of the baseball team’s run was the fact that we all seemed to forget that football season is right around the corner. This may have been true at the time, but the more I think about it, the more the flaws in that assessment continue to jump out at me, because CLEARLY the biggest thing SB has been lacking is the thing that very well may be the basis of our union: Pure, unadulterated SMU Hate. And it’s not that we’ve been lacking for hate; I think I covered the Longhorns and Seminoles fairly well, and while the initial UCLA hate was lacking in vindictiveness, Trevor Bauer clearly demonstrated that my skeptical hate was misguided upon further review. It’s just that, while I do genuinely hate the University of Texas and all of its aspects, the way I feel about SMU clearly trumps any ill will I generated towards our two CWS opponents. So it’s time to get back to basics, and since I’m a bit out of practice, I’m drawing from the inspiration of someone that is typically an all too familiar foe: The Houston Cougar High Cougars.
Being well versed in the death penalty situation at SMU and the 25 dismal years that followed, I’ll spare you the background details of what led to the 1989 SMU/Houston game, but do know this – the events that followed not only set school and NCAA records for the Cougars, they also destroyed a relatively well established friendship between SMU Coach Forrest Gregg and Houston Coach Jack Pardee. On the levels of hate, the Friendship Destroying variety is arguably some of the strongest around.
So 1989 is the first year SMU was able to field a football team following their two year NCAA imposed vacay for Craig James’ crimes against humanity, and the odds were HEAVILY against them as they were only about to suit up freshman and sophomores who basically became lambs for the slaughter. But nothing from that season would compare to the physical and psychological beatdown reigned upon them by that year’s Heisman Trophy Winner, Andre Ware of Houston.
To set the stage, SMU entered the game a 59.5 point underdog, which is pretty amazing even when referencing a game like Alabama vs. The Citadel, so this is doubly amazing considering it came in a conference game. And it seems that fortune shined on the Ponies in the most ironic of ways, as the Cougars all but covered this spread in the first half, heading into halftime up 59-14, surely setting up a more docile post-halftime slapfight. The lopsided score was bad enough, but Ware’s first half stats truly deserve their own paragraph:
517 Yards, 5 TDs on 25-41 passing. His passing yards in the second quarter? An NCAA record 340. Seriously, you could go pick up a copy of NCAA Football 11, start a season as the Frogs and play the Tennessee Tech game on easy mode only running seam routes alternating between Jimmy Young, Jeremy Kerley and Antoine Hicks and not hit that number. Thems are just some silly, silly numbers.
So, like I said, you’d think, with Gregg and Pardee being friends, and with the Ponies having no shot at making the game interesting, Houston would call of the dogs a bit and just run out the clock after halftime, right? If you said yes, you obviously don’t understand the feelings of odiousness SMU brings out in a person.
Admittedly, Houston did remove Ware from the game for the second half, but they certainly didn’t do anything remotely resembling scaling back their attack. Their tactics would be akin to the US Army following up the bombing of Hiroshima by reigning down AIDS needles on all the survivors. Houston’s final tally? 1,021 yards of total offense, – breaking the then record set by Nebraska by ONE HUNDRED THIRTY EIGHT YARDS – including 771 yards passing, and a final score of 95-21. According to the story, Pardee not only refused to run the ball in the second half, he actually continually rotated in fresh receivers in order to effectively destroy the souls of the winded SMU secondary.
Normally I’d consider this a TOTAL dick move, but seeing as how it was against SMU, and an SMU team that was a by product of a program that to this day remains the most harshly punished cheaters in NCAA history, I’ll give the Cougs a pass. In fact, the 95 points weren’t even the most scored by a Houston team– they dropped 100 on Tulsa while giving up only 6 back in the 60s, scoring 49 of said total in the fourth quarter alone. That’s a whole other plateau of rubbing it in right there.
Admittedly, perhaps my favorite hate quote of all time is when then Ohio State Coach/Bitch slappin’ MF Woody Hayes stated, when asked why he went for 2 against Michigan while up 48-14, “Because they wouldn’t let me go for three.” That’s just great, great stuff. But, Jack Pardee’s post-game comments may be second on my list, which are as follows, ''If I had a choice, I wouldn't have gotten 1,000 yards…'I didn't want that or 100 points. It's a shame to have to work with freshmen and redshirt freshmen. That's not what college football is about. We're not interested in rubbing it in on anyone.''
Wait, whaaattt? Not interested in rubbing it in on anyone? May I redirect you to every single thing I just wrote about the game? I mean, I’m all for playing down a blowout victory, but when it’s done in the name of SMU Hate, that’s a completely different situation. Embrace that shit, comrade.
And while you might expect that the karma generated by this game would eventually turn the tables on the two teams, I’m not sure you can make that argument as Houston is still blowing teams out with bundles of offense and SMU is just now starting to regain its footing. So I think the takeaway from the story is this – beating the crap out of teams for the sake of it is unsportsmanlike and generally frowned upon by the football gods; beating the crap out of SMU for the sake of it is A-OK by most standards and, while you may have to toil around in CUSA obscurity for the rest of your time as a program, at least you’ll look good while doing it. And, when you’re a commuter University in a run down part of town, a little bit of gridiron beauty goes a long way.
And that’s Today’s Lesson in SMU Hate.