Legendary sportswriter Wendell Barnhouse recently left the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and is now a correspondent for Big 12 Sports.com. With 30 years experience of observing the college scene, his expertise is unmatched. In the spirit of Steve Harvey's Bottom Ten, Wendell will provide us a capsule look at college football's less fortunate. Over the next 25 days, Wendell will count down the Bottom 25 teams in Division I-A football.
No. 25 Southern Methodist
Conference: Conference USA, West Division.
Coach: June Jones, 1st season; 76-41 overall in nine seasons. Division I-A history: 438-466-54 in 91 seasons, .485 winning percentage.
Last bowl season: 1984.
Best record last five years: 6-6 in 2006.
Rank(ed) because: This is Year 21 since SMU's program resumed after two years on the sidelines. NCAA probation, aka The Death Penalty, ended football on The Hilltop in 1987. The school voluntarily added 1988 to the suspension. Two decades, one winning season, four coaches and 153 losses later, the Mustangs are still wandering in the wilderness.
Negative number: SMU has lost 43 games over the last five seasons. In 25 of those defeats, the Mustangs allowed 35 or more points.
Possible victory: If the Mustangs don't win their season opener at Rice, they should be able to defeat I-AA Texas State at Ford Stadium in Week Two.
Biggest blowout: Sept. 13 at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders rolled up 49 points at SMU last season. Considering that the Mustangs will be using an offensive scheme similar to Texas Tech's, there will be plenty of possessions. That's good news for Tech's prolific attack, bad news for SMU's questionable defense.
Is there hope?: Yes. Jones proved at Hawaii that he is capable of resurrecting losing programs. Phil Bennett, Jones' predecessor, did a good job of recruiting and the school's stringent academic guidelines have been softened. The pass-happy run-and-shoot (mostly shoot) offense Jones prefers is similar to the schemes used by most successful high school programs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Thanks to the Helmet Project.