UH game a chance for SMU to steal spotlight

Despite losing three of their last four games, this weekend is a chance for SMU to showcase its program and how they've improved not just in the past three years that June Jones has been on the Hilltop, but in the past 25 years since the Death Penalty. With ESPN College GameDay broadcasting their show live from the UH campus, its put up or shut up time for the Mustangs.

There have been two major storyline surrounding SMU all season.

One is the program's deep desire to join a BCS conference (the Big East deal is still not finalized, although something could happen this week if Boise State finds a home for its non-football sports and/or BYU shows more interest in the league) and the other is the fact that SMU has been on the rise ever since June Jones came here in 2008 (the Mustangs were 1-11 in his first season and are currently sitting at 6-4 with three games left).

It's been quite a ride, as the team started off the season getting blown out by Texas A&M to going on a five-game winning streak, which was highlighted with an overtime victory over a ranked TCU, to most recently dropping three of their last four.

But this weekend might be bigger than everything thus far. SMU will play undefeated Houston on its grandest stage of the season as ESPN College GameDay broadcasts its show live from the University of Houston campus.

This is a chance for the Mustangs to showcase a program that's really been under wraps since the death penalty over 25 years ago. Are they competitive or are they the same old SMU?

"It's a big game, but if you don't want to play in big games like this, you shouldn't be here at this level," senior wide receiver Cole Beasley said. "We'll tell everybody the same thing—if it's too big for you, you shouldn't be here…But everybody is going to be ready to play. It's a big game. We really want to beat these guys. Since I've been here, we haven't beaten them. This is a game we really want to win."

Houston is averaging 628.8 yards of total offense a game and Heisman hopeful quarterback Case Keenum is averaging an FBS-best 395.1 passing yards per game.

The Run and Shoot has been struggling down the stretch behind quarterback J.J. McDermott, averaging just nine points a game in recent losses to Southern Miss, Tulsa and Navy.

The Mustangs need to find a way back to the caliber of oomph they played with against TCU last month.

"We're just gonna go down there and play as hard as we can play and let the chips fall where they may," Jones said.

For more SMU coverage, follow Laken Litman on Twitter!

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