Not a lot of Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl news going on out there, so I'll try to touch on the few items I read about SMU.
I had been wondering about SMU's thoughts on the ESPN 30 for 30 film Pony Excess. June Jones talked to the Dallas News about the film's effect on this year's recruiting class.
Army coach Rich Ellerson recounted Sunday a story from when he and SMU coach June Jones were young coaches at Hawaii, preparing to face Air Force, a triple-option team.
"I remember in the locker room, June saying, 'I hate this offense,' " Ellerson said. "I remember saying, 'I love this offense. I hate to play against it.' Here we are, umpteen years later, getting ready to get after each other."
Ellerson, now a master of the option offense, will lead his resurgent Black Knights against Jones' up-and-coming SMU program and its Run and Shoot offense Dec. 30 in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
Rave review: Jones gave Pony Excess a rave review and said the ESPN "30 for 30" documentary on SMU's recruiting scandals of the 1980s became an instant recruiting tool. SMU had 15 or so recruits visit over the weekend, and Saturday night's broadcast couldn't have come at a better time, Jones said.
"I thought it was pretty awesome," Jones said. "These kids weren't even born, but they didn't know the history, that SMU was the best in the country at one time. The energy the next morning after the show with them was off the charts.
"You cannot buy that kind of publicity. We're still being replayed right now. When we go on the road, in airports, people go, 'Where's SMU? What is that, what does that stand for?' ... That whole part of the show just changed that."
Jones said the negative aspect of the story bothers some on campus.
"I'm sure there's some people at SMU that didn't particularly care for it being dragged out again," he said. "But the end result is that it's positive for us right now."
It's easy for Jones to not mind the exposure as he one of the few SMU partisans viewed in a favorable light in the entire movie. With that said, what happened at SMU went down a long time ago and the school paid dearly for their rules violations. In the last 9 or so years I have become very aware of SMU's effort to return to the postseason and by casually following their story I've become a bit of an SMU fan. I don't go out of my way to watch SMU games, and win or lose it's their deal, not mine. But I find it hard to root against them knowing how good the Mustangs were and how far they had fallen. At any rate, you may have the chance to watch Pony Excess between now and the bowl game and if you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor - watch this documentary. There has been a grand total of one ESPN 30 for 30 movies that didn't entertain and educate me and the 30 for 30 film The Two Escobars ranks among the best movies I have ever seen - certainly one of the top documentaries I have ever seen. So if you haven't seen it, watch it, it's a very entertaining film.
CSTV takes Coach Jones to task about his "hatred" for the option offense in this enlightening Q&A.
Q: Do you like playing triple option offenses, going up against them?
A: You know, it's one of those things during the year that you usually get some guys rolled up or get some guys hurt in the front seven with all the cutting and all the things that go on with it. So you kind of take a beating the next week whenever you go play.
But all in all, I think the advantage of playing the Academy outweighs all the things about the offense. When I was in Hawaii, the only time we got any newspaper coverage was playing Air Force, Army or Navy, and it would be on the front page of the New York Times. They normally wouldn't even cover our games because they were so late, but they always covered those, so it was important. Since I've come to SMU, when we play Navy, it's in everybody's newspaper and the TV coverage. So it's all positive for the school.
June Jones is wary of the option offense.
"The triple option is a very difficult offense to prepare for," Jones said. "I'm glad we have time to prepare for it. We also played against it at Navy. This will be a better situation for us. I know Rich very well. He will have some new little wrinkles and some little things by the time we get to game day."
And both coaches are aware of what postseason play means to developing a program.
"The young guys, you get an extra spring practice almost," SMU coach June Jones said. "You get a chance for them to live in January through March with a good feeling and a chance for them to say, 'Hey, we've got to get back to that bowl situation next year.' It breeds more of that."