The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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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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It’s bowl or bust for Mustangs

A closer look at the 2007 football schedule
SMUs DeMyron Martin looks to have a productive 2007 after an injury-marred 2006 season.
SMU’s DeMyron Martin looks to have a productive 2007 after an injury-marred 2006 season.

SMU’s DeMyron Martin looks to have a productive 2007 after an injury-marred 2006 season.

The 2007 football season has the Mustangs playing nine teams they faced last season.

Against those nine teams, the Mustangs went 3-6. Does that mean that the Mustangs will suffer the same fate against these teams next season? Not at all.

The team showed signs of promise throughout last season. Although there were some disappointing moments, the Mustangs made progress.

There are some tough spots in the season, including the season opener against Texas Tech. SMU will have the luxury of playing at home this season, and it will be the first of two games televised on ESPN.

The Red Raiders always pose a problem for the Mustangs, who will face their toughest opponent in the first game for a second straight season.

Then the Mustangs will get a chance for revenge. The game most people pointed to as a turning point when SMU did not make a bowl game was the poor showing the Mustangs had in Denton last season against North Texas.

It won’t be the same Mean Green team, however; with new coach Todd Dodge running things, UNT could have a different look this season.

SMU will then hit the road for a couple of games.

The Mustangs will play their second game in a row against a Sun Belt Conference team when they travel to Jonesboro, Ark., to face off against Arkansas State. Last season’s game against the Indians, along with the Sam Houston State game, was when Justin Willis first started looking comfortable running the SMU offense.

Then, after not meeting for the first time since the death penalty, the Mustangs will travel to Fort Worth to play rival TCU and attempt to hold on to the Iron Skillet for the second year. The Horned Frogs finished the 2006 season as the No. 21 team in the nation.

Then the Mustangs will return home to begin the Conference USA season.

Last year’s game against the Miners was filled with controversy. Due to a one-game suspension last year, this season’s game will be the first time Willis will take the field against UTEP.

SMU will then travel to face the Eastern Division winners from last season, Southern Miss. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Mustangs and the Golden Eagles.

The Mustangs won’t return home for long when they’ll face Tulane (the only road victory for the Mustangs last year).

SMU will return to the road for a two-game road trip.

The first opponent will be Tulsa, C-USA Champions two seasons ago, against whom the Mustangs posted an impressive come-from-behind victory last season after falling behind early.

Then the Mustangs will face the reigning champion Houston Cougars. It was against Houston that the Mustangs blew a big first-half lead and allowed the Cougars to come back. Houston will have a different look after star quarterback Kevin Kolb, who started for the Cougars throughout his career, graduates.

SMU will get another revenge game at home. The team that ultimately took away a bowl spot from the Mustangs will come to Dallas. After appearing in, and losing, their first bowl game in more than 40 years, the Owls will see SMU a little earlier in the season.

The season will end against two teams the Mustangs haven’t played before.

The first team, UCF, is the former stomping ground of Athletic Director Steve Orsini. They will come to Ford Stadium.

Then the Mustangs will travel to Tennessee to play the Memphis Tigers. The Tigers had the worst record in the conference last season, winning just one conference game.

The schedule looks surprisingly similar for the Mustangs. Of course, they play the other five teams in their division of C-USA every season, and three of the four non-conference games are against the same opponents.

But overall, it could be an easier schedule. Playing Texas Tech and North Texas at home could be an advantage, as well as playing the weaker side of the east in C-USA, with the exception of Southern Miss.

This schedule has all the makings to put SMU into a bowl game. It’s up to the team to make the most of it.

Justin Willis was named Conference USA’s Freshman of the Year and will be an important part of SMU’s 2007 season.

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