Heart of the City: SMU

June, 20, 2011
6/20/11
11:30
AM ET
School: Southern Methodist
Location: Dallas, Texas
Enrollment: 11,000
Bowl appearances: 11
NFL first-round picks: 4
Losing seasons: 43
10-win seasons: 4


Source: ESPN Stats & Info (Note: Numbers date back to 1936, the first year of the AP poll. NFL numbers date back to 1970.)

The good: SMU is a small school, but located in the heart of the city of Dallas, the home of numerous Fortune 500 companies. For a program more apt to send players into the business world than the NFL, that can be a real selling point. Coaches can sell small-town kids on big-city life more than almost any school, and certainly more than any school that plays FBS football in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The Ponies are on the rise of late, too, after a dark period before June Jones arrived from Hawaii and put the Mustangs into two consecutive bowls.

The bad: Those dark ages came at the worst time possible, too. Chronicled by the ESPN 30 for 30 film, "Pony Excess," recruiting violations resulted in the death penalty when the SMU program was at its height. Shortly after, the Southwest Conference split, and instead of finding a soft landing in the Big 12, the Mustangs are now relegated to the Conference USA, blocking them from getting access to the Cotton Bowl, where it's played four times. The school has plenty of money and a nice, albeit small, stadium. Its size keeps it from really grabbing a stronghold in the Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M-dominated Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Also not helping matters: Only 21 percent of students are minorities.

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