SMU smart to make its case now

August, 25, 2011
SMU athletic director Steve Orsini is making his case for the Mustangs' inclusion in an automatic-qualifying BCS conference. And, of course, SMU would prefer the Big 12.

A move to the Big 12 has obvious appeal to SMU. It would help recruiting, knowing that rather than telling kids they'll play East Carolina and Tulsa, they're getting to play Texas and Oklahoma. SMU's program is on the rise, so the timing would be right. June Jones is already finding it easier to recruit better athletes with two consecutive bowl games under his belt and he'll find it even easier if SMU can play more regional schools and pack the house more often. SMU averaged just more than 23,000 fans last season. Imagine would they could do selling games against OU, OSU, Baylor and others instead of some of the Conference USA schools that aren't in the region.

Making the case now is important because Texas A&M is ready to leave and the ripples could be coming soon.

The question is how interested the Big 12 would be in SMU. The league already has a TV footprint in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and would likely look at other markets first. That's probably one reason Orsini is pressing for a bigger Big 12, not simply just adding one more team. He notes the landscape is changing and that already four BCS conferences have 12 teams. His argument: Why not add at least three more teams if A&M leaves? That would give SMU a better chance, certainly.

This argument wouldn't even be worth making if not for Jones' recent success. But the Mustangs still have plenty of work to do to reach TCU's status. They know that. But they've got some nice facilities and an improving program to sell. Adding more regional games would only enhance that. And, of course, SMU would welcome the chance to compete in a league with an automatic bid into a BCS bowl bid, something they don't have in Conference USA.
Richard Durrett joined in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.



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