Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lessons in SMU Hate: Upward Mobility?

College Conference realignment is a somewhat volatile subject to discuss depending on which side of the fence your team landed on.  For TCU, despite the emotional roller coast it sometimes took us on, our landing spot in the NCAA's game of musical chairs is where we've wanted to be for nearly 2 decades, so we like it.  Getting into the Big 12 afforded TCU opportunities we never would've been able to imagine were we still in the Mountain West.  Things like access to better bowls, a more secure position in the NCAA landscape due to the media rights waiver in effect thru 2025, a less volatile situation in the polls and of course, the big one, a LOT more money.  Like, hilarious amounts of money.  Like, more money from TV than some schools have in their entire athletic budgets.  But while all of those things are great - and, oh, they are - there's one aspect to joining the Big 12 that pleases me just as much as the others, if not moreso:  The fact that we're in it and SMU, despite inviting themselves into the Conference, isn't.

When SMU was invited to join the Big East, I think we were all somewhat disgusted by the way they rode our coattails into a better Conference situation and at the same time laughed at the Big East for basically becoming Conference USA 2.  Still, it was extremely appalling to think that should things remain as they were - and recall that at this point a college football playoff was about as realistic as Mack Brown negotiating a teeth whitening package into his next contract - SMU technically had just as much access to the BCS as TCU, despite doing absolutely nothing to earn it.

Well, things have changed a bit...

True, the Big East was probably a dead Conference walking in the next round of BCS negotiations, had it stayed together, without TCU, Pitt and Syracuse - and maybe even with us - but when the dissolution of the BCS was an actual thing, it became all but official.  Once a playoff was announced, the Big 5 leagues immediately locked in big money contracts with the bowl affiliates of their choosing - Pac 12/Big Ten in the Rose, SEC/Big 12 in the newly minted Champions Bowl, and the ACC with the Orange.  Strangely enough, the Orange did not wish to continue a relationship with the Big East.   Notre Dame leaving the BEast in all other sports, while a blow to a future TV contract, was basically just insult to injury at that point, with the nail in the coffin really being the playoff.  Funny that a college football playoff, a thing that was supposed to increase access, has really done nothing at all except open the Championship to leagues without "SEC" in their names.  Too bad...

So, if you're doing the math, SMU - unless they unlikely manage to win the Big East next year - currently has as much access to a major bowl - a major bowl being one of the current 4 BCS, plus the two TBD additions that will join the semi-final rotation - as they did when they were in the WAC and/or Conference USA.  And truthfully, they may have made it harder for themselves - rather than compete with Houston, UCF, Southern Miss and, well, that's about it, for an undefeated season and outside shot at a major bowl bid, they're now going to be competing with Houston and UCF PLUS Boise State, San Diego State, Louisville, Cincinnati, Rutgers and South Florida.  Except now, unlike the current situation where a non-AQ school could automatically qualify under certain terms, there is NO direct link for anyone outside of the Big 5 Conference to a major bowl game!  As lyle so eloquently put it to me earlier, "their seat at the adult table just turned into the same card table in the living room with juice boxes instead of wine glasses."

So what are SMU and their Big East pals doing now?  They're going to WHINE about it, of course! I expect the conversation went something like this:

BEast: "WAAAH, where is OOOUUURRR spot at the table?"

Big Five: "Well, little one, what exactly do you think you've done to earn it?"

BEast: "WAAH, Haven't you heard of a little school called CINCINNATI or another called CONNECTICUT? WEST VIRGINIA?"

Big Five:  "You mean the last three BCS bowl representatives from the Big East, one of which is no longer a member and the other two who were each absolutely flattened in their games? That's your argument?"

BEast: "WAAAH, well... I'm ENTITLED because daddy told me so!"

Big Five: "That... that doesn't make sense."


Big Five:  "Ugh, ok, you can have the Alamo Bowl if you'll just go away."


Seriously, read some of the quotes.  The have-nots have the wambulance on 24 hour patrol.  Larry Scott of the Pac-12 summed it up pretty well, saying, "For me it's not a big deal because going forward will be on the playoff...It's a distraction college football doesn't need to focus on access..."  Basically, "Ugh, ok, you can have the Alamo Bowl if you'll just go away... but I'll be damned if you ever get legitimate access to the playoff."  Feeding back to my earlier point about SMU decreasing their access to a major bowl - if they add the seventh bowl as proposed and tie it in with the BEast, Mountain West, Sun Belt, Conference USA and MAC - the WAC will be dead of dysentery by then- that's FIVE CONFERENCES worth of teams competing for ONE spot, with one of the Big 5 likely filling the other side.  Theoretically, the Big East winner is going to get it most years, but, let's say, as might happen this year, Ohio from the MAC runs up the ole W/L to 12-0?  Or a team from the Sun Belt or CUSA does the same?  You're putting a 3 loss BEast team in over them?  Doubtful.  Even though they haven't come close to doing it, wouldn't you think SMU has a better chance at going undefeated in CUSA than they do winning the Big East over Boise, Cincy, Louisville and SDSU?  I do.  Enjoy a lifetime of Beef O'Brady's Bowl bids.

And that's today's lesson in SMU Hate.



Spit Blood College Pick 'em: Week 4

Picking the games last week wasn't too bad, for me at least.

We had 78 actually pick games and the median correct was 10 out of 20.

The real disappointment is that 16 chose UVA over TCU.  I understand that TCU didn't cover the week before, and even I thought that 17.5 points was a bit ambitious considering we only scored 20 against Kansas.  However, if anyone dares to pick SMU this week -- in the spirit of Hate Week -- I'll call you out by name next week.

The spreads are final. Make your picks by Saturday morning.

SMU is...

Maybe you have seen the "stellar" new billboard campaign SMU has plastered all over Dallas, advertising SMU as "College Football" and "Dallas's Team". First of all, let me just say: HAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHA.

Ok, I feel better now.

So, just to remind you guys, this is the same football program that once employed Craig James (#CJK5H #NeverForgetThe5). The same program who's coach left, well, tried to leave, this summer until the Arizona State alumni base made such a stink that the AD withdrew his offer. This is also the same program who thought starting Garrett Gilbert at QB was a good idea. So, as you can imagine, their sense of themselves might be a little off.

Here on the right, you will see SMU's new ad campaign. It says things like "SMU is Dallas' Team" and "SMU is College Football". Well, neither of those things are true, so I thought I might help them out with some new billboards, that were slightly more accurate.

I would love to see your thoughts on what "SMU is..." in the comments. POUND THE PONIES!

Players to Watch: SMU Hate Week Addition

So far we've covered Hate from all angles this week, including bashing their coach, quarterback, fans, and night-life douchebaggery, but now it's time to take a hateful look at a couple of players who could actually have some sort of positive impact for them on Saturday night's game.  As bad as they suck and as badly as I think we will beat them, I'll still do them a solid and pretend they have 2 good players on their roster not named Zach Line.

Offense:  WR #3 Darius Johnson (5'10, 175 Sr.)

Since I've already said I wouldn't profile Zach Line and already made mention in a previous post about how miserable QB Garrett Gilbert is (and been criticized for it, but I repeat- Garrett Gilbert is awful at football), I thought I'd go to a different position.  Johnson was an easy selection solely based on what he did to us last season in Fort Worth.  Johnson, who is off to a relatively slow start this year (14 catches, 110 yards, 0 TD's), gashed the Frogs' inexperienced secondary a year ago to the tune of 12 catches for 152 yards and 2 TD's.  For those of you who don't excel at math, he put up better numbers against us in one game last year than he has through the first 3 games this year.  Clearly Johnson hasn't done much with the ball in his hands this year, but he's still tied for the team lead in catches with Line and Jeremy Johnson while being targeted the third most on the squad.  Jason Verrett and Kevin White might not be the ones lining up across from Johnson in coverage, so we could likely have one of our safeties (Hackett or Carter, most likely) drawing that assignment.  I for one was frustrated with the amount of underneath passes we gave up last week against UVA, and judging by the very low for a WR 7.9 yards per catch that Johnson has, I assume he will be the one whose ankles Garrett Gilbert is rifling balls at on drag routes.  In all seriousness though, we need to eliminate the underneath routes in order to prevent them from moving the chains and controlling the football to win this game.  It'll be hard enough to stop that Peyton Hillis clone at RB, so let's make Gilbert make some tough throws down the field.  They usually wind up playing out like punts anyways.

Defense:  LB #44 Taylor Reed (6', 230 Sr.)

Undisputed leader of one of the worst defenses in all of football.

I feel like this guy has been playing for SMU forever now, and he's been one of their best defensive players for a few years.  He's in his 3rd year starting and played in all 13 games his freshman year, so I guess he has been around for a while.  He's led the team in tackles each of the past 2 years and is currently 6th on the squad right now with 15 tackles (including 2 for loss and 1 sack), but I'm sure by the end of the year he'll find his way to the top of that list.  SMU's defensive statistics are grossly over-inflated due to the 9 turnovers they forced in their shutout against SFA which included 3 defensive TD's and a special teams TD, so I won't really let the numbers from that game sway my opinions on who the playmakers (if there are any) are on the SMU defense.  They did give up over 400 yards to SFA despite forcing all of those turnovers, so that along with seeing what the stagnant Aggy offense did to them (48 points) as well as Baylor (59 points) shows me that we should have no problems moving the football.  Like I've said in each of the past 2 games, the key will be keeping Pachall's jersey clean and keeping him upright.  If anyone has the ability on this lousy SMU defense to disrupt Pachall's timing and blow up what appears to be an already suspect run game, Reed is the guy.  Well, Reed and their freakazoid Estonian kick blocking extraordinaire Margus Hunt.

Morning Dump: 09/27

Preview: #15 TCU @ SMU -
What ever happened to TCU's Ed Wesley - Mac Engle
TCU Sweeps Tech in opener -