Six games into the season, SMU was sittin pretty at 5-1 and a win against rival TCU. And the win wasn't a fluke; SMU deserved it. The miniature horses looked the best they had in 25 years. And then came the collapse. SMU lost in consecutive weeks to Southern Miss and Tulsa, in games where SMU didn't look sharp at all. Wide open passes were missed, defensive players whiffed, and I was pissed.
This week, however, SMU turned it around against an admittidly horrible Tulane team. Having graduated from Tulane, I can tell you that the average attendance for a football game is 15 drunk students and 35 swamp people. Tulane also doesn't have a coach, so their game plan consists of running around and doin stuff. The Green Wave's QB, Griffin, is actually a quality player, considering who he has around him. A 12 TD, 7 INT ratio and a QB rating of 127 is impressive, which was evident when they somehow scored 24 points in the third quarter (after they sobered up), only to get drunk again before the fourth quarter and not score a point.
So what happened in the last two losses? Against Southern Miss, the Mustangs simply could not capitalize on opportunities. Three times SMU was inside the 15 yard line, and twice inside the five. A missed field goal, three points, and an interception is how they ended. Padron McDermott was inaccurate (16 of 32!), especially on long throws, and had two interceptions. Zach Line, of course, had a monster game, with 163 yards rushing. This loss was squarely on the passing attack. One of Southern Miss' touchdowns was a pick-6, and one was on a vary short drive courtesy of SMU's faltering offense. This was a game that SMU was a solid favorite, and blew it. Southern Miss, on the other had, capitalized on their opportunities and is now ranked in the top 25-right where SMU should be.
Tulsa was harder to predict. Tulsa was 4-3 coming into the SMU game, but the three losses were to OU, OK St., and Boise St. They were blown out by those teams, but SMU would have been too. Against the mediocre to bad teams, Tulsa had solid wins. For the second straight week, SMU's passing offense was horrible, Zach Line was solid, and the defense was caught tying their shoes in the outfield. It all goes back to McDermott, though. FOUR interceptions and 17 of 37 passing does not equal a win. It doesn't even equal a close loss. Tulsa was given four drives starting inside SMU's 50 yard line. I could go on and on about the collapse of SMU, but lets focus on the positive...
Next week SMU plays a 3-6 Navy team that looks better than their record suggests. However, this should not be too much of a challenge and SMU should take this one by more than 10 points. Lack of defense by Navy should be their downfall (they give up over 31 points a game). The Navy offense is actually solid, averaging over 31 point a game and scoring 21 against South Carolina, 35 against Southern Miss, and 35 against ECU. I don't see SMU giving up more than 24, but I also see SMU scoring 35 or more in this game. June Jones' offenses don't slow down for long, and the rest of the season should see solid numbers.