Upon Further Review: SMU vs. Houston

Demo has your Upon Further Review following SMU's loss to Houston last week.

I want to clarify some things I said in my “Rapid Reaction” on Thursday, but first let’s get all the textbook sports story stuff out of the way. 

Thursday’s tilt between SMU and Houston went about as expected, as the Mustangs had no answer for Cougars quarterback Greg Ward—losing to Houston 49-28.

That’s now the fourth consecutive game that SMU has allowed 48 points or more and the fifth this season.  

SMU is 1-5 and the Mustangs lone win came against a terrible North Texas team—a team that fired its head coach (Dan McCarney) hours after the Mean Green lost their homecoming game 66-7 against Portland State, this past Saturday. That win isn’t nearly as satisfying as it originally was.

Now that that stuff is out of the way, I want everyone to realize that this was the first time I picked against SMU. I think my prediction of 42-27 was the closest of our staff, but I’m not bragging.   

Anyway, my point is that I expected it to be that ugly. I expected SMU to get its butt handed to it in a brown paper bag. I was just hoping that I would be wrong.

The last couple weeks I’ve been trying to talk everyone off the ledge, trying to be a calm voice in this sea of overreaction and hysteria. I told you that this team would be heartbreaking, because the players and coaches are young and learning as they go—this is a rebuilding year after all.

Because we saw flashes of potential when SMU played up to its competition, anything but that level of play is going to be disappointing and that is understandable.

Okay, time for some quick background: I’ve always felt that “Rapid Reaction” is supposed to be our immediate response to the events we just witnessed. I know that’s just restating the title and you all already know this.  But, because RR is being turned around so quickly I felt we needed to add another piece of content that was allowed to sit and marinate.

I wanted to offer something that would be revisited and reworked several times before being posted.  Thus, UFR was born.

Thursday’s RR was most certainly my immediate response to what I saw and that response was disappointment. Three days later and I still feel disappointed, but what I regret and wish to revisit and clarify is my usage of the word regression.

BryanMcCannFan said he didn’t agree with me that the program was regressing.  I didn’t intend that sentence to be stretched over the entire program. And BMF probably didn’t mean it that way either.

Dutch also didn’t agree with the sentence and said “we’ve been competitive all season long.”

This is true, but ultimately not applicable to what I meant.

What I wrote:  After such a promising start to the season, the Mustangs continue to regress.

What I meant: SMU has not gotten better each week, but has instead played worse.

Now regression can mean either returning to a former or a less developed form. In this instance I’m not talking about SMU regressing back to last season, but they have taken a step back to a less confident, less capable team than the one we saw through the first three games.

They aren’t getting worse, but they are not improving enough to get wins. There is most certainly room to improve.

They take a step forward each week in the first half, and then take one back in the second.  Yes, we’ve been competitive in each game, but I’d argue that we have been less competitive against teams of lesser quality than we were against teams of higher quality.

What I think now: SMU set the bar too high for itself by over performing against Baylor and TCU and has since been stuck in a rut of mediocrity and ineffectiveness fueled by a lack of depth and inexperience. That disappoints us.

What I should have written: After such a promising start to the season, the Mustangs have been stagnant.

To my knowledge, there is no magical “fix everything” switch available to SMU. It’s more of a “make the best of what we got for the rest of the season and try to get better each week type” of deal.

So a bye week is the best thing that could happen right now, because the Mustangs have two weeks to work on specific issues, maybe even experiment in practice some.

Will they be able to effectively neutralize mobile quarterbacks? Probably not, but maybe the coaches will implement better strategies to limit their damage. Or even retool their schemes enough to get the most out of the talent they have and what they’ve seen over the first six games.

SMU is better than last season and full of potential. We (including myself) need to keep reminding ourselves that we are on the rebuilding year roller coaster. Keep calm and pony up, my friends. That’s all we can do.      

Pony Stampede Top Stories