SMU has been a train wreck that smashed into a soup sandwich factory this season on defense.
Let's take a look at how the season started:
SMU started the season with Baylor, UNT, and then TCU. Wow. They gave up a combined 112 points and 1,423 yards to both Big 12 offensive powerhouses to start the season. However, they won the game they were supposed to against The Mean Green 31-13. They managed to pick off UNT's McNulty (not from The Wire) twice and held UNT to 240 total yards. I don't know too many teams that wouldn't allow Baylor and TCU to rack up ridiculous offensive numbers, so the 'Stangs get a pass through week 3.
Week 4 featured a very good James Madison University team. Apparently, SMU players were at Chaucer's in Deep Ellum every night that week because they allowed an FCS team to come to Dallas and hang 48 points and 729 yards on them. No disrespect to JMU, but this is an FCS team we're talking about here. SMU managed to take the game down to the wire, eventually losing 48-45. Event though I think that the FCS vs. FBS gap is much smaller than many may think, SMU needed this win to gain momentum for much improved American Athletic Conference schedule.
The rest of the season:
The last 6 weeks featured much of the same as SMU perfected the matador defense allowing AAC foes to score no less than 38 points and gain 350 total yards, including allowing Navy to rush for 403 yards last week in which should be featured as a triple-option instructional video. Viewer discretion is advised.
So what do we have to look forward to?
Tulane appears to be the only beacon of hope to secure a conference win this season. The Green Wave's only conference win has been against an abysmal UCF team whose coach may or may not have been looking at lake front real estate brochures during team meetings. Teams with the word "Green" in their names are usually bad, and Tulane is no exception. Tulane ranks no higher than 100th in any major category. Couple that with the fact that this will be SMU's final home game of the season, and I see them finally crossing the threshold.
Head Coach Chad Morris has to sell Dallas and SMU moving forward. He has to get creative. Has to find away to pluck a 4-star recruit or two in the DFW area. Sure there may be a few that slip under the radar and outperform their 3-star rating, but it won't be enough to shore up this defense within the next few years.
In the meantime defensive leaders Junior DB Darrion Richardson and Sophomore DE Justin Lawler have to set the tone moving forward. There was talk earlier this season about Coach Morris' enthusiasm and attitude creating an atmosphere of winning around the SMU program. It sure doesn't look like it.