When this season’s football schedule was finalized way back on April 1, I was excited for a couple of reasons.
First, I saw the game against Big 12-powerhouse Oklahoma and was already getting pumped up to go to Norman. But even better than a showdown with the Sooners was seeing the junior varsity team we play before that.
It’s a road game less than an hour away – I am of course talking about the SMU Mustangs.
It’s time for the annual State Farm DFW Duel – Battle for the Iron Skillet.
Does this rivalry really need a sponsorship? What insurance company would really want to sponsor the slaughter we are going to see Saturday?
The Mustangs have a total of 133 rushing yards on the season. TCU rushed for 233 yards in one game last Saturday against the Cardinal.
How can you maintain possession of the ball, keep the clock moving and plan on winning games when you rush for 44.3 yards per game? You can’t. That’s why SMU has just one win on the season, a home victory against Texas State.
The Mustangs gave up 36 points to a team that isn’t even Division I. In their other two games they gave up 56 to Rice and somehow improved to just 43 points allowed against a Texas Tech offense that is actually pretty good, regardless of the 12-3 beating the Frogs put on them in 2006. But in that “improved” defensive showing, SMU could only put up seven points.
How can the Ponies expect to hold TCU to under 36 points and somehow muster more points in the same game against the No. 2 total defense in the nation? I don’t think they can.
But if there is one thing SMU has going for it, it’s history.
Last time TCU had SMU and Oklahoma on the same schedule, the Mustangs handed the Horned Frogs their only loss of the season in 2005. And this time the Frogs have to worry about overlooking June Jones’ squad on their way to facing the No. 2 team in the nation.
But still, the Ponies have to move and hang on to the ball against a defense that is allowing 178 yards a game. Not to mention stop an offense that is averaging 398 yards per game.
The difference in special teams? TCU boats a return man who ranks in the top 20 in the nation, while SMU’s game-changer is the punter. At least he’ll get several opportunities to practice Saturday.
June Jones’ offense might have worked out in Hawaii, but that was solely because he had the players around him who could run that offense. This SMU team isn’t there yet, but the roster is pretty sophomore heavy.
Maybe next year’s rivalry game will be a better contest, but this year’s matchup should be a landslide.