Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lessons in SMU Hate - Never Forget.

Southern Methodist
Hate has a face.
Seriously. So much hate looking at this thing.

If you’ve followed much of the Dallas media this week, you’ll have noticed a trend. I's been in the Morning News. And ESPNDallas. The Star-Telegram got in on the action and even the cheerleaders have thoughts on it, although I must say our culinary interests and thoughts on Kate Gosselin are shockingly in tune. It seems like all anyone wants to talk about is 2005. Forget the fact that if you line up the past ten games in the SMU/TCU series, that’s the only outlier; SMU beat TCU that year, and by god they still love talking about it.*

As an interesting side note, the ESPNDallas feature – important moments from the TCU/SMU rivalry – also talks about the game in 1997 when 0-10 TCU defeated 6-4 SMU 21-18 and kept them from a bowl game for the billionth consecutive year. The best part though is how that game pretty much set the new direction for TCU as we hired Fran that off season and, obviously, you see where we are now. In other words, the outcome of this game can have major implications for the winner ad the loser. The more you know…

And you know what? Bring it on. You have to learn from your mistakes. Our team that year had no business losing to SMU. None whatsoever, but hey, I suppose it’s why they play the games. We could’ve been the second of the BCS Busters, would have been had the current rules applied back then. But regardless, we came out flat against the Mustangs, they came out hot, and we blew our opportunity. And that still makes me mad. Not because of the loss persay; sure, it was brutal to witness, and reflecting back what happened the rest of the season it was especially painful, but I can remember one thing above all that stands out about the entire experience. One thing that, no matter the circumstances surrounding the game, will always make me want to destroy SMU and explode their scoreboard.

The son of a bitch SMU Band.

I’m not sure how it is still arranged, but back then the TCU student section was directly next to the SMU band. And if you think our band is filled with a bunch of pantywaist nerd folk with an inflated opinion of their personal space, you should’ve seen these guys. Goofy hats? Check. Candy striper jackets? Check. That damned “coming around the mountain” fight song blared every 15 seconds in our direction? You betcha. And, you talk about nerdy shit talking fans, they were the absolute worst. If they knew anything other than "TCU Sucks" I never heard it. And it never stopped. The entire game. Even when CoRo took the second half kickoff to the house and make it 10-14, they never let up. On one hand, you have to kind of respect them. Most sensible fans would’ve seen that as a potential turning point and gotten down a bit. But not these guys. They were as oblivious to the nuances of the game of football as anyone I’ve ever come across. And unfortunately, I couldn’t say a word. Well, ok, of course I DID say some stuff, but it was all empty, heartless and I probably didn’t mean it anyway. Every time I thought TCU was going to pull it out, there was the band to remind me that, "TCU Sucks." I was ultimately beaten down by the SMU band.

And that’s how I remember my SMU 2005: Sitting in the emptied out TCU student section being taunted by a fat Asian clarinet player in a candy striper jacket and goofy hat.

Never again.

Never again will that happen. We all have to take our collective experiences from that night and use them as rage fuel for this weekend. We all need to pick a moment, the one moment where we felt the lowest we could possibly feel, and use that negative energy against the Ponies.

Other potential moments I can specifically remember:

  • After the game, being pulled into a cab by an SMU alum and taken to a strip club, where he funneled me an endless supply of funny money that had to be used that evening, and not even being able to bring myself to a free lapdance or cocktail. Seriously, we were way the hell out in north Dallas, I had no ride home, and there was an endless supply of women willing to take their clothes off for a nominal fee. And I couldn't do it. I was so empty inside. And even if I had been able to, all I would've seen was that fat clarinet player's face on the plastic body of that broken woman. That may have even been lower than the band experience itself.


  • Sitting in the stands, checking my phone for the score of the Texas/Ohio State game from that year and seeing that Vince Young overcame a late deficit and two INT night to throw a late TD pass to Limas Sweed to put the Horns over the top right at the exact moment that we were completely pissing the game away against the Ponies. As you'll recall, Texas went on to win the National title that year and we, after never dropping another game and winning the MWC in our first year, played Iowa State in our second Houston Bowl that doesn't even exist in that form anymore. This was preceded by tailgating with some friends before the game who went to TCU, but once the game started, sat behind their car watching the UT game while wearing UT shirts and refusing to come into our game, one of the most vivid memories I have of UT T shirt fandom. I had such a fragile mind then. It was a traumatizing experience.


          • LoChoco. Peter LoCoco may be remembered for having a huge leg while at TCU, but he was absolutely TERRIBLE against the Ponies that evening. He missed three of his four attempts and, while it never should’ve come down to kicks, if he hits all four, we’re down by two and it could’ve turned the tide of the game. After Mr. All American Nick Browne, this was a huge letdown, and probably paved the way for the sometimes unnecessary Manfredini and Evans hate, although, in my defense, Utah 2008.


      • Another “semi-guilt by association” similar to the one above is losing to a Quarterback named Jared Romo is probably at the heart of my hatred of Tony Romo, who I hate so much that I genuinely can’t fully enjoy watching the Dallas Cowboys despite having cheered for them since I was a child. Well, that and losing to the Bears. So thanks, Jared Romo, for retroactively ruining my childhood.


  • SMU fans rushing the field. I can think of two times that SMU kids have rushed the field in recent memory. One was in 2004 when, having lost every single game the season before and 15 consecutive total, the Ponies knocked off San Jose State – a team we hate a little bit – for their first win of the season. The other was after this game. There’s a picture of it at the top of the post. Look at it. Let it sear into your memory.

Obviously emotion is a big part of college football and, in particular, rivalry games. And that’s always the biggest worry when facing SMU. Even though we’ve probably been favored every year since Patterson has set foot on campus – not sure how to check this, but who disputes it? –the series has featured scores such as 17-6, 20-13, 21-7 and, of course, the lone loss. In other words, other than 44-0 and 48-7, we rarely blow these guys out when we’re supposed to. Even last year, in an eventual 39-14 victory, the game wasn’t in hand until the end of the third quarter, and we would’ve trailed at halftime had Kerley not gotten his swerve on the punt return TD. If you’ll recall, we were eventually 0.5 seconds away from playing for a national title last year and SMU was 8-5, so we're not talking Goliath vs. Goliath here.

Of course, losing that game probably has a little bit to do with the freshman that year never losing another one to the Ponies. But those guys are gone; no one on the current team was on the team in 2005 and knows what it felt like. Gary, as you’ve probably seen, picked up a DVD copy of the game-“must’ve been a pretty big deal, they made a DVD” as he put it –and has shown it a few times in practice this week just to build team rage heading into Friday. He’s also closed practices and is a master at bringing his teams down from their high horse to get ready for any game on the schedule, hence calling this game a “50/50” game. So the coaching staff probably has most of it covered, but they can always use our help.

That’s why I implore all of you to recount your lowest memory from that game in the comments so we can all relive the mental anguish we went through that night in Dallas and vow to never let it happen again. And if your story is worse than, “being so angry that not even free big fake boobs in your face could cure it” then you and I probably need to sit as far away from each other as possible because our retroactive rage will probably cause the visiting section to spontaneously combust.

Go Frogs.

More SMU Video stuff

Here's a preview of the game (in 2 parts) from Ponyfans.com:

Part I:



Part II:



Here's an interview with sophomore QB Kyle Padron:



...and one with senior LB Pete Fleps:

Top 10 Preview: SMU Hate Week Edition.


Our national title hopes and dreams rest on the shoulders of a man
who once navigated campus using this method.

Mentally preparing for consecutive hate weeks has, admittedly, sapped some of my interest in the goings on in the rest of the football world. Since this week is the back end of round deux, some of these will be a bit brief. However, there are two MONSTER potential upset games to keep an eye on this weekend, so I’ll give them their due.

#1 Alabama -7.5 @ #10 Arkansas. 2:30PM. CBS.

For me personally, having this game on Saturday afternoon could not have made our Friday night matchup with SMU arrive at a more perfect time… except I’ll be on an airplane heading to a wedding during part of it. Fail. A double shame because I had an opportunity to attend this game if it weren’t for said wedding. To see those Arkies in an uproar over what is easily the biggest game to roll through Fayetteville since the Hogs joined the SEC would’ve surely been a treat from backwoods heaven.

Sigh.

As for the game, I have conflicting opinions. On the one hand, Arkansas has one of the most potent offenses in the country- 15th overall, 3rd passing – and actually feature a credible defense for the first time in recent memory – 6th in points scored, 11th in yardage- although the level of competition through three weeks leaves a lot to be desired. QB Ryan Mallett got on board the Heisman train when he announced he was coming back for his senior year; after last week’s big win at Georgia, it’s running full blast until the defense comes back to earth and derails him. The Arkansas ground game is a work in progress, and things got much worse when starting RB Dennis Johnson was lost in week 2 due to some sort of, for lack of a better term, butthole injury – seriously, look it up – but with Mallett playing as he has been, the ground game is an afterthought anyway. He currently leads the country in passing yardage, has 9 TDs and a 70% completion rate. But, even though they got the Georgia monkey off their backs last week, and even though they’re at home, Alabama is a different beast altogether.

Alabama, to state is the obvious, is really good. Sure, their schedule has included San Jose State and Duke, but did you see what they did to Penn State? I’m not sure how good Penn State is, but they should be around in the Big Televen race all year, and they were absolutely manhandled by the Tide. Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson provide easily the most solid ground attack in the NCAA to the point that you forget that they have a former top overall WR prospect in Julio Jones on the outside. Fortunately, Arkansas ranks relatively high in run defense, but they’ve never faced anything like they’ll see Saturday and the pass defense is and has always been susceptible. And Alabama does their best work against the pass on defense, so without a running game to create issues, Mallett is going to find out very quickly what he’s made of.

But, earlier in the year I called the upset, so I’ll stick with it. Fayetteville is going to be going absolutely NUTS and you really haven’t seen a true homefield advantage until you’ve seen nearly 80,000 uneducated liquor drunk rednecks screaming at the top of their lungs. It’ll be close, but Arkansas creeps away with a victory and then probably loses to Missisippi State or something down the road. It’s the nature of the beast.

#2 Ohio State -44.5 vs Eastern Michigan. 2:30PM.

They make spreads that high?

#3 Boise State -16.5 vs. #24 Oregon State. 7:00PM. ABC.

Although Arkansas/Alabama is the game of the week from a rankings perspective, for a TCU fan this is THE game of the year that doesn’t involve the Frogs. We can sit here and say that we think Nevada is salty enough to take down Boise at home later in the year, but the fact of the matter is this is the best chance we have for Boise to lose because there’s no reason to think they’ll lose a WAC game ever again. And, since we share a common opponent, this is the most desirable as well, even moreso than Virginia Tech- only the second best team in the state of Virginia. Gameday is headed to Boise – hope they quadruple Erin Andrews protection because she’s entering rape central – the Broncos are still ranked third and getting first place votes, and what else is there to do in Boise on a Saturday night? Needless to say, this will be the most intense football atmosphere ever in Boise, Idaho.

Boise is fresh off an absolute destruction of Wyoming in Laramie and has to feel pretty good about their chances, especially considering they’re a 3 score favorite. As you can imagine, Boise ranks in the top 20 in all offensive categories, and Kellen Moore has been a machine with 585 yards and 5 TDs. But, it’s the Broncos ground game that has been the difference maker this year, chewing up yards and scores with the best of them. And while the Boise run defense looked human against Virginia Tech in allowing 128 yards, they then went and held Wyoming to -21. And they’re just as stout in the passing game, so don’t expect Ryan Katz to do much either.

The Beavers, after accepting their punishment in JerryWorld, took a week off and then snuck by Louisville 35-28 last weekend, getting out gained by the Cardinals 453-319 and were only saved by a late INT and Jacquizz rushing for 3 TDs. But, seeing as how they’ve painted their practice field blue this week, it’s probably safe to assume they were caught looking ahead. Still – 453 yards? To Louisville? 288 passing? Yikes.

On paper, this looks like the Broncos should roll easily. They haven’t lost a game in Boise since 2001 and have twice beaten Oregon State in that span. Jacquizz Rodgers and his brother James are both immensely talented, but while they can make the difference against Louisville, if their defense doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, this one could get extremely uncomfortable before those guys have a chance to catch their team back up. I don’t know, I just don’t see it happening for Oregon State. I hope I’m wrong.

#5 Oregon Ducks -11.5 @ Arizona State. 9:30 PM.

As this game immediately follows the Boise/Oregon State game, it could either be a phenomenal six hours for the state of Oregon or, more likely, really good for the southern part and not as good for the northern, if I have my geography correct. However, a reversal of that situation could be immensely positive for TCU. Sorry, that was confusing – read: OSU win/OU lose good. OU win/OSU lose bad.

So we all know about the Oregon Ducks. They have an insane offense. Like, maybe the most ridiculous offense ever seen in the NCAA. Averaging 63 points per game and almost 400 yards rushing. 611 yards of offense total on average, which leads the country. You couldn't do that on Xbox if you tried. Shockingly enough, Arizona State actually has one of the better run defenses in the country, giving up only right at 100 yards per game on the ground. However, even with the pounding the Ducks put on them, Tennessee actually has an overall not too bad rush defense of their own, so I’m not sure how we should gauge their chances.

The Sun Devils are coming off a tough loss to 11th ranked Wisconsin last weekend where they lost by one after having an extra point blocked to tie it in the 4th quarter. And they actually have a pretty passable offense, ranking 19th nationally and are especially talented in the passing department. But, Oregon also has a pretty good defense – although they haven’t been tested by any means – and they’re one of those teams that will likely score enough points to stay in any game.

Until proven otherwise, the Ducks hold serve.

#6 Nebraska –no line vs. South Dakota State. 6:00PM.

See #2 above.

#7 Texas -15.5 vs. UCLA. 2:30PM.

A very intriguing matchup just because no one really knows how good, or in UCLA’s case bad, either team is. Unfortunately, as it conflicts with Arkansas/Alabama, I won’t take in one second of this one. You’ll read a lot this week about how the last time UCLA game to Austin it resulted in maybe the worst loss in the history of UT football. I still like reading that.

However, even though UCLA whipped Houston last week, it was without Case Keenum. And UCLA is REALLY REALLY Bad on offense – 99th nationally, 118th in the pass. And while UT isn’t exactly going to set any records on that side of the ball this year – 72nd overall – they are at least fully capable of shutting down even the best offensive units they face. See: Tech, Texas. UCLA features some defense as well, but not that much.

This game will be boring and low scoring… as will most UT games this year once they hit conference play. But no way UCLA pulls the upset.

#8 Oklahoma -14 @ Cincinnati. 5:00PM.

Really, really wish this game was last year. But it’s not. OU will win because Cincy is terrible, terrible, terrible.

#9 Florida -14 vs. Kentucky. 6:00PM.

All signs point to this being the upset special of the weekend because Kentucky can score and Florida most certainly cannot. Florida has pulled out all of their games entirely due to their defense keeping them in the game until the offense can eventually wear down the poorer athletes across the line from them. Kentucky features a QB, Mike Hartline, who has completed 72% of his passes and thrown 5 TDs this year and the 15th ranked rushing attack anywhere led by Derrick Locke and his 5 TDs.

Unfortunately for Kentucky, history isn’t on their side. They haven’t beaten the Gators in 23 years, and haven’t won in the Swamp since 1979. Can you imagine the meltdown that would occur in Gainesville is the streak ends this year? Don’t see it happening, but it will be close.

I apologized in advance for the lack of enthusiasm I have for this thing, and I was right. But, this really could be the week where we move ahead in the rankings. For those of you with nothing to do Saturday, this will be the best upset watch viewing of the year. Godspeed.

Never Gets Old

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