Dallas Colleges: Tulane Green Wave

Future nonconference slate: SMU

April, 4, 2013
Last Wednesday's announcements that Connecticut had agreed to a home-and-home series with Boise State and that Cincinnati would be heading to the Big House in 2017 were the latest in a trend that has seen BCS-conference schools boost their nonconference schedule strength.

While the soon-to-be-former Big East is entering its last season as a BCS school, before the four-team college football playoff takes into effect in the 2014-15 season, aggressive scheduling is one way to keep the league on the national radar.

The slates will provide several opportunities for big national upsets in the coming years, so here's a look at some of the notable future opponents for SMU.

SMU: The Mustangs have quite the in-state home-and-home lineup. They canceled this season's home game with Baylor, and while it is unknown if the 2013 game will be made up or bought-out completely, the schools still have a home-and-home scheduled through 2019. The Battlle for the Iron Skillet with TCU will continue through 2017, with the Horned Frogs playing host this season. SMU will go to Texas A&M this year and host the Aggies in 2014, closing out a four-year home-and-home. They begin this season with a Friday night home contest against Texas Tech.

Conference USA basketball preview

October, 24, 2012
Before we get to the Blue Ribbon team-by-team previews for Conference USA, here is Eamonn Brennan's quick wind sprint through the league:

Blue Ribbon breakdowns of all 12 teams in C-USA:

East Carolina

Southern Miss
UTEP Insider Free

More Conference USA content:

-- Andy Katz with five things he can't wait to see in Conference USA
-- John Gasaway answers five burning questions for the league Insider
-- Eamonn Brennan's Three Big Things on Memphis
-- Brennan on the improved shot of Memphis' Adonis Thomas and Myron Medcalf's five questions for Thomas
-- Brennan rates and analyzes the nonconference schedules of the C-USA
-- Katz on Marshall star DeAndre Kane and the unexpected tragedy he had to face in the offseason
-- Medcalf on how new Tulsa coach Danny Manning is counting on Bill Self's lessons
-- Paul Biancardi identifies the top freshmen and potential recruits in C-USA Insider
-- Katz and Greenberg's conversation with new SMU coach Larry Brown
-- ESPN.com's Summer Shootaround preview of C-USA
-- See where Memphis and Houston ranked in our "50 in 50" series, which attempted to identify the 50 most successful programs of the past half-century
-- For more coverage of Conference USA in the Nation blog, click here.

Was Boise State add, the MWC's Colorado?

June, 12, 2010
The Mountain West Conference opted not to add Boise State last weekend during its summer meetings to gauge the changing landscape around it, but then quickly moved to get the Broncos in on Friday, expanding MWC membership to 10.

We all know that the Pac-10 and Colorado moved quickly to get the Buffaloes in to avoid a coming political power play by Texas lawmakers to get Baylor invited to the Pac-10 party. Did the MWC virtually do the same and lock out Baylor by adding Boise State?

Think about this: Does TCU, spurned by Baylor and the Big 12 in 1994, and which would directly battle Baylor for recruits if they competed in the same conference, want Baylor in? Grudges are grudges, but recruiting is a program's lifeblood. As great a job as Gary Patterson has done recruiting Texas and finding hidden gems passed over by the bigger programs, Baylor, athletically, is on an upswing in large part due to men's basketball coach Scott Drew, as well as optimism created by football coach Art Briles, who is excited to have dual-threat quarterback Robert Griffin back in the fold this season. If TCU and Baylor went head-to-head in the MWC, especially an MWC with an automatic BCS bid, recruiting would be cut-throat. A Baylor program reduced to a lower-level conference is far less threatening.

The MWC, like the Pac-10, has choices -- assuming the Big 12 dissolves as expected by Tuesday. Immediately out of the mega-conference mix would be Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor. If Texas A&M chooses to join the SEC instead of the Pac-10, Kansas could be the beneficiary and get the Pac-10 invite. If A&M goes to the Pac-10, the MWC would eye Kansas, Missouri, Kansas State and Iowa State for a 14-team league that would be attractive for BCS acceptance. Even if Kansas goes to the Pac-10 or another high-profile conference, the MWC could expand by two to get to 12 and still feel confident of becoming a BCS conference.

Such a scenario only makes the Baylor picture look more bleak. Where do the Bears go in such a case? Does the WAC hold Boise State's vacancy for the Bears? Is that an option Baylor would even considers? But, what's left besides sifting through the rubble to form a revamped SWC? Could Baylor pull together Rice, SMU and Houston, with perhaps North Texas, UTEP, Tulsa and perhaps Tulane or Louisiana-Lafayette for at least an eight-team league with other regional schools perhaps in the mix to take the total to 10?

Certainly, the appeal might not be there, but in this emerging, new landscape it appears the choices might not be there either for Baylor.

These are crazy times. Sixteen years after the formation of the Big 12, it appears TCU's and Baylor's fortunes could very well be reversed.

Texas flails, A&M sails, Big 12 and SMU

February, 6, 2010
Saturday's 80-71 loss at Oklahoma (13-9, 4-4 Big 12) on Wayman Tisdale Day would seem to virtually eliminate Texas from regular-season title contention, and leaves no guarantee that the reeling Longhorns (19-4, 5-3) will even claim a top-four spot and automatic first-round bye in the Big 12 tournament a little more than a month from now in Kansas City.

That's how strange things have become for the burnt orange, who are playing more like burnt toast.

No. 10 Texas trailed by 18 at halftime and throughout the game missed point-blank bunnies and seemed to create new ways to lose as Oklahoma star Willie Warren played 16 minutes because of a sprained ankle and scored just three points. Along with their continued struggles on shots near the rim, Texas' free-throw situation is beyond laughable and perhaps beyond repair. Saturday they made 10-of-27. Senior forward Damion James missed nine of his 13 attempts. He finished with 12 points.

The Horns dropped to 5-3 in conference, three games behind No. 1 Kansas (22-1, 8-0), and a half-game back of Texas A&M (6-3) -- which won a nail-biter at home over No. 24 Baylor (4-4) -- and No. 11 Kansas State (6-3) -- which pulled out a tough road win at Iowa State (2-6). Texas is tied with Missouri (5-3) for third place.

The Horns, who've allowed 77.0 points in their last six games, going 2-4, get the Jayhawks next on Big Monday (ESPN, 8 p.m.) and two games later play at Mizzou, which lost at home for the first time in 33 games earlier in the week to A&M.

*The Aggies continue to get tremendous leadership from guard Donald Sloan, who had 20 points, five rebounds and four assists in the Aggies' big home win, 78-71, over Baylor. The game was close to the end as A&M pulled out its third down-to-the-wire home win. Senior forward Bryan Davis scored a season-high 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 34 minutes as he outplayed Baylor big man Ekpe Udoh, who had 19 points and four rebounds, plus a key late turnover, in 39 minutes.

*John Roberson and Mike Singletary combined for 50 points for Texas Tech, which got a must-have home win over slumping Oklahoma State (4-5). Tech (3-5) held Big 12 scoring leader James Anderson to 10 points.

*In Conference USA, SMU's 66-48 win was its first at Tulane. It was a significant win for the Mustangs (11-11, 4-4) after a comeback at Southern Miss on Tuesday fell short to snap their four-game losing streak. The win keeps the Ponies, tied for fifth in the 12-team C-USA, on a roll. It's just the second time this season that SMU has been able to keep one loss from becoming two. Derek Williams scored 18 points and five assists, Papa Dia had 17 points and 16 rebounds, and Robert Nyakundi from Arlington, the Ponies' lone significant local product, finished with 14 points and six rebounds.

Next up is a big test back at home against conference co-leader UTEP (16-5, 7-1) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

SMU wants seven wins to be sure of bowl

November, 18, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas -- There's a difference between bowl eligible and bowl bound. SMU has six wins, making it eligible to go to the school's first bowl game since 1984. But all of the 7-5 teams in Conference USA must have bowl spots before a six-win team can go. That's why beating Marshall on Saturday or Tulane at home the following week is important so that the Mustangs can be absolutely sure they are going bowling.

There's no doubt, though, that there's more excitement and attention when it comes to the program. SMU SID Brad Sutton was busy Wednesday morning borrowing cell phones from co-workers to handle on the phone interviews that various media outlets were seeking from players and coaches. SMU head coach June Jones has heard from plenty of Mustang fans about how proud they are of what the team is doing.

"It's been interesting," Jones said. "Certainly the emotion from the game last week on the field was different than anything that's happened. I think all the players are feeling it walking on campus with professors that weren't real excited about football have a different feeling about it. That's what winning does and hopefully we can prove that we can build a consistent, winning program here."

Other notes:

* Add quarterback Braden Smith to the list of crazy sports injuries. Smith, who is the third quarterback and holder on PATs and field goals, was celebrating after SMU got a sack to clinch Saturday's win and twisted his knee. Jones said someone bumped Smith as he jumped in celebration. Bo Levi Mitchell will now hold as Smith is out for a few weeks.

* OL Jimmy Chase pulled a hamstring Monday and he isn't practicing. "We're just thin," Jones said. "We don't have the depth we had at the start of the season."