Ok SMU football fans it's time to make your travel and holiday plans for Houston Texas this year.
No I haven't been celebrating New Year's Eve already; I'm talking in reference to Phil Steele's 2008 Projected Bowl Matchups that was recently released in his 2008 Pre-Season Preview Magazine.
It's a must buy for all SMU fans, it has the Mustangs listed at No. 6 out of his Top 20 most improved teams and points out how close this team came to having a winning record last fall.
Far fetched? Maybe not as much one might think.
As Steele explains The Mustangs led UTEP 42-28 in the fourth quarter, lost in OT to Tulane, led Tulsa 23-21 with a 4th and 1 at the q yard line with less than 2 minutes to play. A heart breaking 31 field goal with no time left on the clock gave Tulsa a one point victory. Add in a three overtime loss to Memphis and you find this year's SMU team a much undervalued squad.
All of this and we haven't even talked about the Mustangs new head coach June Jones and the excitement that his new coaching staff has brought to the Hilltop.
Several of the returning starters have stated in previous interviews that football is fun again for the first time since they arrived to the SMU campus. Coach Jones explained that it's his intentions to have a lot of fun at SMU.
"We are all hungry to get this thing turned around," Jones said. "The players have been very receptive to what we are doing. We are here to have fun; the best way to have fun is to win."
At Hawaii the year before Coach Jones arrival the Warriors were 0-12 and one of the worst teams in the country. The team's first year under Jones, Hawaii won the WAC with a 9-4 record.
Jones' laid back approach appears to be a welcomed change from the previous regime, no yelling and cursing could be heard coming from this new staff in spring practices. Jones admitted in an earlier interview that he brings a different, more professional demeanor to the college scene than a lot of coaches do.
One player that has been impressed with Jones' new approach is senior running back DeMyron Martin.
"He (Coach Jones) is incredible, he is such a laid back person," Martin said. "He treats us like men that are equal to him. He doesn't treat us like we are beneath him."
Jones appears to have the team believing in themselves again, when that happens anything can happen on a football field.
I for one plan on making New Year's plans for Houston this year, hopefully I will be covering the Mustangs game against the Aggies. A big win there could pay huge dividends in state wide recruiting, wouldn't it?