The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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The Road to a Bowl

The team says they are not talking about it, they claim they are trying not to think about it, but the possibility is real.

If the Mustangs (5-4, 4-1) can beat conference foe UTEP (3-6, 2-3) they will become bowl eligible for only the second time since receiving the death penalty, and have a realistic chance of securing a bowl bid, their first in 25 years.

“We try not to think about it. We set a goal for ourselves in preseason but we just take it each game at a time,” head coach June Jones said.

The Mustangs also find themselves with a winning record in November also for only the second time since the death penalty. This time, however, the Mustangs appear to be in better shape.

In 2006 the Mustangs were also 5-4 in November, but were entering the toughest part of their schedule with games against the top three teams in Conference USA West, including eventual conference champion, Houston. The Mustangs’ remaining three games this season come at the hands of opponents with a combined overall record of 11-16.

The Mustangs need just one win to become bowl eligible and two to secure a definite spot in a bowl. But Jones is down playing the possibility with his team, trying to keep them humble and focused on the game in front of them.

“I don’t talk about the rest of the games, we just play each quarter at a time and play each play at a time,” Jones said. “They’ve got to understand that we’re not that good right now. We’re winning but we’re not that good of a football team. Eventually we’re going to be pretty good but right now we’re just young and still learning how to win.”

Currently there are eight teams in C-USA with four wins or better with three games to play, and all have at least a chance of making the six-win mark for bowl eligibility.

Because of this senior wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders wants to make sure to get the lucky seventh win ensuring the bowl bid.

“The thing in the back of my head is … We’ve got to go seven,” Sanders told The Dallas Morning News. “You never know. The only thing we can control is getting seven wins, and then we’re for sure in a bowl game.”

In 2006 when the Mustangs lost the final game of the season to Rice and were passed over at 6-6 for a bowl. That same season, Conference USA had only five bowl tie-ins; this year they have six bowl spots likely to go to C-USA teams.

Each week the bowl picture becomes a more clear, and expert bowl analysts have SMU picked for a few of the C-USA eligible spots. The most talked about prediction is putting SMU in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24. This would be a notable return for Jones to the islands where he had so much success. Jones was a fan favorite in Hawaii and is a serious contender for the Hawaii Bowl selection committee.

Another possibility is the Mustangs will remain close to home, getting a bid in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Ft. Worth on Dec. 31.

The Hawaii bowl would draw more national exposure to a resurging SMU program, however, the Armed Forces Bowl would allow for more bowl hungry SMU fans to make the trip.

Getting to a bowl has a special meaning to current team members, freshman and experienced.

“It’s cool. It’s a really great feeling,” freshman quarterback Kyle Padron said. “We haven’t been a to a bowl game since 1984 so that will be really special to be apart of. I’m really looking forward to it.”

“It would be awesome to be on the team that turned the corner for SMU football and finally put an end to the death penalty talk. Since I have been here, that is all I have heard about, and I’m tired of it,” Kennemer said. It would be great to be on the team that finally brought back excitement and energy to SMU with a bowl game.

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