SMU Mustangs football
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|First season||1915, 1989|
|Athletic director||Rick Hart|
|Head coach||Chad Morris
2nd year, 5–14 (.263)
|Stadium||Gerald J. Ford Stadium|
|Seating capacity||32,000 +|
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Past conferences||Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1915–17)
Southwest Conference (1918–95)
Western Athletic Conference (1996–2004)
Conference USA (2005–12)
|All-time record||477–522–54 (.479)|
|Bowl record||7–7–1 (.500)|
|Claimed nat'l titles||3 (1935, 1981, 1982)|
|Division titles||2 (2009, 2010)|
|Colors||Blue and Red
The SMU Mustangs football program is a college football team that represents Southern Methodist University (more commonly "SMU"). The team competes in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) as a member of the American Athletic Conference (The American).
- 1 History
- 1.1 1915–17: The early years
- 1.2 1918–21: Joining the Southwest Conference
- 1.3 1922–34: The return of Morrison
- 1.4 1935–41: A national championship
- 1.5 1942–44: The war years
- 1.6 1945–49: Doak Walker
- 1.7 1950–61: Russell, Woodard, and Meek eras
- 1.8 1962–72: Hayden Fry era
- 1.9 1973–75: Dave Smith era
- 1.10 1976–86: A winning record
- 1.11 1987–2007: "Death Penalty" and decades of rebuilding
- 1.12 2008–2014: "There and Back Again"
- 1.13 2015–present
- 2 Achievements
- 3 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees
- 4 Current NFL players
- 5 Current CFL players
- 6 Bowl appearances
- 7 Head coaches
- 8 Future non-conference opponents
- 9 Rivalries
- 10 Home fields
- 11 References
- 12 External links
1915–17: The early years
In June 1915, Ray Morrison became SMU's football, baseball, basketball, and track coach, in addition to being to a math instructor. The football team began as a member of the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association, playing at Armstrong Field. The first game played by SMU's football team was a 13-2 victory over Hendrix College. After winning two games in a span of two seasons, Morrison left SMU for Fort Oglethorpe upon the United States’ entry into World War I.
During this time, the football team was known as "the Parsons", due to the large number of theology students on the team. On October 17, 1917, the name "Mustangs" was selected as the school's mascot. For the 1917 season, Morrison would be replaced by J. Burton Rix, who would lead the Mustangs to a 3-2-3 record in their final season in the TIAA.
1918–21: Joining the Southwest Conference
The 1918 season would be the first of many seasons for the SMU Mustangs as a member of the Southwest Conference, joining Baylor University, Rice University, the University of Texas, Texas A&M University, the University of Arkansas, and Oklahoma A&M University. The Mustangs’ first season in the conference ended with a 4-2 record. J. Burton Rix would continue to coach the team until the 1921 season, in which he was replaced by W.A. Cunningham and Victor Kelly, his co-coaches that season, as the team went on to lose six games.
1922–34: The return of Morrison
Ray Morrison would return to SMU in 1922, co-coaching the team with former Vanderbilt teammate Ewing Y. Freeland. For the 1922 and 1923 seasons, Morrison would focus on the backfield and ends, while Freeland focused on the linemen. The team became known as the "Aerial Circus" by sportswriters because of Morrison's passing offense. Morrison would become known as "the father of the forward pass", due to the team's use of passing on first and second downs, instead of as a play of last resort. At the time, most teams utilized the forward pass five to six times in one game, while SMU would do so between 30 and 40 times.
In the 1922 season, the Mustangs would compile a 6-3-1 record. Furthermore, end Gene Bedford and back Logan Stollenwerck were named first-team All-Southwest Conference, becoming the first SMU football players to receive that honor. Bedford would go on to be the first player to play in the National Football League for the Rochester Jeffersons. In the 1923 season, the SMU Mustangs would go on to compile a perfect 9-0 record, winning their first conference football title in school history. After this season, Freeland would leave the SMU football team, later becoming head coach for the Texas Tech University football team, leaving Morrison as the sole head coach for SMU. SMU would go on to play in their first bowl game in 1924, playing in the Dixie Classic against West Virginia Wesleyan College, though would end up losing that game 7-9.
By 1926, the team began playing their home games at Ownby Stadium. In their first game at Ownby Stadium, the Mustangs defeated North Texas State Teachers College 42-0, led by quarterback Gerald Mann. The first Homecoming game would also be played in 1926, resulting in a 14-13 victory over Texas Christian University.
The team would continue to have winning seasons until the 1932 season. The Mustangs would win their second conference title in 1926, compiling an 8-0-1 record, and a third conference title in 1931, compiling a 9-0-1 record. In 1928, guard Choc Sanders would become SMU's first All-American, as well the first All-American from the Southwest Conference. In 1929, tackle Marion Hammon would become SMU's second All-American. After a winning 1934 season, Morrison left SMU to take over the Vanderbilt Commodores football team after the retirement of Dan McGugin.
1935–41: A national championship
Morrison would be replaced by Matty Bell in 1935. Known as a player's coach, Bell brought discipline to his team, and he spent time listening and talking to his players. In his first season, Bell would lead the Mustangs to 12-1 record. During this season, the Mustangs were ranked number one in the nation. In order to play in the Rose Bowl against the Stanford Indians football team for the unofficial national championship, SMU faced off against the TCU Horned Frogs, who featured star quarterback Sammy Baugh.
The 1935 SMU-TCU football game is generally considered the greatest game in SMU history, as Bobby Wilson scored two touchdowns to give SMU a 14–0 lead before Baugh rallied the Horned Frogs to a 14–14 tie. Early in the fourth quarter, Bob Finley connected on a long pass to Wilson after the Mustangs faced a fourth down at the TCU 39. Wilson caught the ball at the five and rolled into the endzone as the Mustangs held on to win, 20–14, and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl. Winning their fourth conference title, the Mustangs would go on to lose the Rose Bowl to Stanford 0-7. Despite this, the 1935 SMU Mustangs were selected by the Dickinson System as national champions, their first football national championship in school history.
The Mustangs had three more winning seasons from 1936 to 1939. SMU would come up short of winning the Southwest Conference title in 1940, despite having the same conference record as the Texas A&M Aggies. After a 5-5 season in 1941, Bell would leave SMU to serve in the United States Navy during World War II.
1942–44: The war years
With Bell in the Navy, Jimmy Stewart took his place as head coach. In his three seasons as head coach, Stewart compiled an overall record of 10–18–2. Bell would return as head coach for the 1945 season.
1945–49: Doak Walker
Upon Bell's return as SMU's head coach, the team also gained the talent of halfback and placekicker Doak Walker. Walker would win All-Southwest Conference honors his freshman year in 1945 and play in the East–West Shrine Game in San Francisco. Walker would not play for the 1946 season due to serving in the United States Army, yet re-enrolled at SMU and rejoined the football team for the 1947 season.
The Mustangs would post a 9-0-2 record in 1947, winning their sixth Southwest Conference title. In the same season, the team would play against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Cotton Bowl Classic, resulting in a 13-13 tie. Walker threw a 53-yard touchdown pass and scored on two-yard run in this game. Walker would also earn the Maxwell Award during this season.
During the 1948 season, the Mustangs would win their seventh conference title, posting a 9-1-1 record. The team would go on to play in the Cotton Bowl Classic once more, defeating the Oregon Webfoots, who were led by quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, 21-13, making it their first victory in a bowl game in school history. Doak Walker, winning All-American honors, would also win the Heisman Trophy, the first Mustang to do so in school history. Additionally, the Mustangs would permanently move to the Cotton Bowl for their home games this season, after playing only certain games in that stadium in years past. In their final game at Ownby Stadium, the Mustangs would defeat Texas Tech 41-6. Due to Doak Walker's popularity, the Cotton Bowl became known as "The House that Doak Built".
The 1949 season would be both Doak Walker and coach Matty Bell's last as part of SMU's football team. The team would post a 5-4-1 record. Walker would win All-American honors a third time, the most for any football player in SMU's history. Bell would continue to serve SMU as the athletic director, while Walker would go on to play in the NFL for the Detroit Lions. Over the course of his career at SMU, Walker rushed for 1,954 yards, passed for 1,638 yards, scored 288 points, punted for a 39.4 average and kicked field goals and extra points. He is also the Mustangs' all-time leader in punt return yards with 750. Bell would leave the head coaching position at SMU with a 79-40-8 record, including three Southwest Conference titles, a bowl game victory, and a national championship.
1950–61: Russell, Woodard, and Meek eras
Bell would be replaced by Rusty Russell in 1950. Russell previously served as quarterbacks and running backs coach from 1945 to 1949, and is attributed to luring Doak Walker away from the University of Texas. In three seasons as head coach, Russell would compile a 13-15-2 record. After a strong first season, in which the Mustangs were ranked number one in the nation, the team would suffer two losing seasons. Becoming increasingly under fire, Russell resigned as head coach after the 1952 season.
However, it did not stop SMU players from achieving certain honors throughout Russell's time as head coach; Kyle Rote, who filled Doak Walker's place on the team, led the Southwest Conference with 777 yards rushing in 1949, and was named an All-American following the 1950 season. Quarterback Fred Benners led the Mustangs to perhaps their greatest win of the decade when he completed 22 of 42 passes for 336 yards to beat Notre Dame, 27–20, in Notre Dame, Indiana on October 13, 1951. Benners connected on TD passes of 57, 37, 31 and four yards to four different receivers as the Mustangs beat the Fighting Irish in what was one of the highlights in a 3–6–1 season. Furthermore, Forrest Gregg would become part of the team in 1952, and became a two-time All-Southwest Conference player by 1955, later moving on to the NFL. Moreover, David Powell would become SMU's first Academic All-American winner in the 1952 season.
Woody Woodard took Russell's place as head coach in 1953. Woodard would compile a 19-20-1 record in his four seasons as head coach for SMU, resigning after two consecutive losing seasons. During the 1954 season, wide receiver Raymond Berry was elected as a co-captain, despite only catching 11 passes for 144 yards, winning All-Southwest Conference and Academic All-American honors, and would later play in the NFL for the Baltimore Colts.
Woodard was replaced by Bill Meek in 1957, who was coming off of a Missouri Valley Conference title-winning season with the Houston Cougars football team. In five seasons with SMU, Meek compiled a 17-29-4 record. During Meek's time as head coach, quarterback Don Meredith would earn All-American honors in 1958 and 1959, with his .610 career completion percentage being the best of any passer in SMU history, with a tremendous running ability increasing pressure on opposing defenses. The 1960 season, though, proved particularly bad for the Mustangs, as they went 0-9-1, with the only game decided by less than 10 points being a 0–0 tie with Texas A&M. After the 1961 season, Meek would leave SMU, replaced by Hayden Fry.
1962–72: Hayden Fry era
Hayden Fry became the eighth head coach in SMU's history in 1962. The 1963 season provided the SMU football program with one of its most memorable games when the Mustangs hosted fourth-ranked the Navy Midshipmen and its quarterback, Roger Staubach, on October 11, 1963, at the Cotton Bowl. On its way to a 4–7 season, SMU was given little chance to beat the Midshipmen. Little-known sophomore John Roderick rushed for 146 yards on 11 carries and scored on touchdown runs of 45 and two yards for the Mustangs. The SMU defense, led by Bob Oyler, Martin Cude, Bill Harlan, Harold Magers and Doug January, sent Staubach to the bench twice with a dislocated left shoulder. Trailing 28–26 with 2:52 remaining in the game, SMU had one last chance to pull off the upset. Quarterback Danny Thomas threw to Billy Gannon, who ran to the Navy 46. On the next play, Roderick took a pitchout 23 yards to the 23. After a pass interference penalty against Navy put the ball on the one-yard line, Gannon plowed over the right tackle for the winning touchdown with 2:05 left. The SMU defense held off Staubach's effort to rally his team for one last score, as the Mustangs pulled off the 32–28 upset. Despite a losing record in 1963, the Mustangs played in the Sun Bowl, their first since the 1948 season, against the Oregon Webfoots, losing 14-21.
When Fry took the job at SMU, he was promised that he would be allowed to recruit black athletes. Fry and the school wanted to make certain that the player they recruited was not only a good athlete but also a good student and citizen and someone with the mental toughness to be one of the first black players in conference history. Fry found that player in Jerry LeVias. LeVias was a great player, an exceptional student, and mentally tough. He had never had discipline problems and was deeply religious. LeVias was the perfect player for SMU. LeVias became the first black player signed to a football scholarship in the Southwest Conference. In 1966, LeVias made his debut, one week after John Hill Westbrook of Baylor became the first black player to play for a conference team. Fry received abuse for recruiting a black player to SMU in the form of hate mail and threatening phone calls, but he downplayed the treatment, because the harassment of LeVias was much, much worse.
During the 1966 season, Hayden Fry lifted SMU back to national prominence, when SMU was ranked ninth in the nation and won its first conference championship in 18 years, their seventh overall. Fry would also win Conference Coach of the Year. SMU would go on to lose the Cotton Bowl Classic to the Georgia Bulldogs 9-24. John LaGrone, who earned conference honors from 1964–66, was the first Mustang player to be selected as both an All-American and Academic All-American when he was honored following the 1966 season.
During the 1968 season, combined with quarterback Chuck Hixson, Levias helped lead the Mustangs to a 28–27 win over Oklahoma in the 1968 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl, giving SMU its first bowl victory since the 1949 Cotton Bowl Classic. SMU and Oklahoma combined to score 35 points in the fourth quarter. SMU stopped Oklahoma short of a potential game-winning two-point conversion with 1:16 left to play. LeVias was selected as an all-conference player as a senior for the third time.
Fry's Mustangs then had just a 12–20 record over the next three years from 1969–1971. That put Fry's job in jeopardy, and rumors started to swirl after the Mustangs started the 1972 season at 4–4. Not even a three-game winning streak could save Fry. After a 7–4 season in 1972, Fry was fired at SMU, which robbed the Mustangs of a bowl berth. In his 11 seasons at SMU, Fry compiled a 49–66–1 record.
1973–75: Dave Smith era
After Fry's departure, Dave Smith, a former assistant coach under Fry, took his place as head coach. Coming off of a 7-4 season with Oklahoma State, Smith would have two consecutive 6-4-1 seasons with SMU, with his final season resulting in a 4-7 record. In three seasons with SMU, Smith compiled a 16-15-2 record. Smith would be replaced by Ron Meyer in 1976.
1976–86: A winning record
Coach Ron Meyer came to SMU in 1976 after his success as an assistant with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970s (including a Super Bowl win) and a stint with UNLV. Coach Meyer was infamous for his recruiting tactics, including visits each year to the homes of 70 or more of the top recruits per year. His most notable recruits were future NFL running backs Eric Dickerson and Craig James before the 1979 season, as both their high school teams went 15-0 and won state championships. Combined with blue chip running back Charles Waggoner, the three backs were nicknamed the "Pony Express" running attack and shredded opposing defenses in the option offense led by quarterback Lance McIlhenny. This team claimed a share of the 1981 college football Division 1-A national championship, based on the determination of the National Championship Foundation. However, the claimed championship is not recognized by most college football observers while Clemson, who finished #1 in both the AP and coaches' polls that season, is regarded as the consensus champion that season.
Coach Meyer left to become the head coach of the New England Patriots in 1982, and SMU hired Coach Bobby Collins, then head coach at the University of Southern Mississippi. Dickerson finished 3rd in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1982, and the team claimed a share of its second consecutive national championship, based on the determination of the Helms Athletic Foundation. However, the claimed championship is not recognized by most college football observers while Penn State, who finished #1 in both the AP and coaches' polls that season, is regarded as the consensus champion that season.
SMU posted a 49–9–1 record from 1980 to 1984, which was the highest win percentage (.839) in Division 1-A over that span.
1987–2007: "Death Penalty" and decades of rebuilding
In 1987, SMU football became the first, and currently only, football program in collegiate athletic history to receive the "death penalty" for repeat violation of NCAA rules, that is, having a sports program fully terminated for a determined amount of time. SMU's football program was terminated for the 1987 season because the University was making approximately $61,000 in booster payments from 1985 to 1986. It later emerged that a slush fund had been used to pay players as early as the mid-1970s, and athletic officials had known about it as early as 1981.
SMU was eligible for the "death penalty" because it had been placed on probation in 1985 for recruiting violations. Since many potential student-athletes were poor, boosters would induce them to sign with SMU by offering them payments and expense coverage. Several key boosters and administration officials determined that it would not only be unethical to cut off those payments, but also potentially problematic as some boosters were contractually obligated to pay the athletes for the duration of their time at SMU. There was also the real potential of disgruntled football players "blowing the whistle" on SMU should the payments not continue. When the sanctions were handed down, SMU had three players – all seniors about to graduate – receiving payments. Not long afterward, SMU announced that its football team would stay shuttered for the 1988 season as well after school officials received indications that they wouldn't have enough experienced players to field a viable team as most of the team left the university and transferred to other institutions. Forrest Gregg, an SMU alum who was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, was hired in 1988 to help rebuild the team. The decimation of the program meant that Gregg was left with an undersized and underweight lineup.
The Mustangs struggled for 20 years to recover from the effects of the scandal. Coach Gregg compiled a 3–19 record in his two seasons. He moved on to be the SMU Athletic Director from 1990 through 1994.
The Mustangs had 3 more head coaches and only one winning season through the completion of the 2007 season.
2008–2014: "There and Back Again"
In 2008 SMU hired Steve Orsini away from the University of Central Florida (UCF) to be the SMU Athletic Director. Orsini then hired June Jones from the University of Hawai'i to be the team's new head coach at SMU and currently the 5th coach in the post death penalty time since 1989. In Jones' first season at SMU the team had a 1-11 record. In 2009, Coach Jones' second season at SMU, the Mustangs had a turnaround season, compiling an improved regular season record of 7-5. Although finishing unranked in the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS football rankings, SMU was invited to its first bowl game in 25 years, defeating the unranked Nevada Wolf Pack with a final score 45-10 in the 2009 Hawai'i Bowl, the team's first bowl win since 1984.
In 2010, the Mustangs again compiled a regular season record of 7-5, with a 6-2 in-conference record to earn their first chance at winning a conference title in 26 years, securing a berth in the Conference USA Championship game. SMU lost the conference title game, 17-7, against UCF. Once again unranked in the 2010 NCAA Division I FBS football rankings, SMU was invited to its second consecutive bowl game, the 2010 Armed Forces Bowl, where it lost against the unranked Army Black Knights.
Following Texas A&M's move to the SEC in August and September 2011, SMU have made it known that they would like to replace them in the Big 12. On September 3, 2011, Athletic Director Steve Orsini stated: "We want stability in the regional conference that meets our objective", Orsini said, "and that right now would be defined as the Big 12."
"Regionalism is a sign of strength, and we feel expansion, especially in the latest trends, is a sign of strength", Orsini said. "And we feel we can help an AQ conference in both of those areas." Orsini made it clear that SMU isn't solely interested in the Big 12, but in finding an AQ home. Should the Mustangs' current league, Conference USA, achieve AQ status someday, that would work just fine. Maybe the Mountain West earns an AQ distinction and decides to dip back into the Metroplex again.
"When we were affiliated with those schools in this region [Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech], we were competing very successfully", Orsini reminded. "We have a lot of conference championships in the Southwest Conference to show for it." "We're ready. It took us a long time to rebound from the historic low that hit here, but that was 25 years ago. There are no signs of that anymore."
SMU went on to win back-to-back bowl games in the 2012 BBVA Compass Bowl (for the 2011 season) and 2012 Hawaii Bowl. SMU ended the Jones Era in 2014 the way it began: with a 1-11 season. The Mustangs won the last game of the season against the University of Connecticut on December 6, 2014.
The NCAA's website states that "the NCAA does not conduct a national championship in Division I-A football and is not involved in the selection process." It goes on to say that "a number of polling organizations provide a final ranking of Division I-A football teams at the end of each season." SMU officially claims three national championships (1935, 1981 & 1982). (The NCAA officially changed the "I-A" designation to the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in 2006.) Nonetheless, neither the 1981 nor 1982 claim is recognized by most observers, as the AP and Coaches poll winners are widely regarded as the national champion in college football circles. SMU's claims in 1981 and 1982 are based on poll championships awarded by lesser known and/or obscure polling/ranking systems.
|2009 †||Conference USA||West||June Jones||8–5|
|2010 ‡||Conference USA||West||June Jones||7–6|
|Total Divisional Championships||2|
† Co-Divisional Champion ‡ Co-Divisional Champion with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane
- Doak Walker 1948
- Doak Walker 1947
- Chuck Hixson 1968
College Football Hall of Fame Inductees
|Name||Position||Years at SMU||Year Inducted|
|Ray Morrison||Coach||1915–1916, 1922–1934||1954|
|Gerald "Little Red Arrow" Mann||Quarterback||1925–1927||1969|
|"Moanin'" Matty Bell||Coach||1935–1941, 1945–1949||1955|
|Doak "The Doaker" Walker||Halfback||1945, 1947–1949||1959|
|Kyle "The Mighty Mustang" Rote||Halfback||1948–1950||1964|
|"Dandy" Don Meredith||Quarterback||1957–1959||1982|
|Jerry LeVias||Wide Receiver||1966–1968||2003|
Truman "Big Dog" Spain
J.C. "Iron Man" Wetsel
|Doak "The Doaker" Walker||Halfback||1947|
|Kyle "The Mighty Mustang" Rote||Halfback||1950|
|Don "Dandy Don" Meredith||Quarterback||1958|
|Jerry LeVias||Wide Receiver||1968|
|Robert Popelka||Defensive End||1972|
|Emanuel Tolbert||Wide Receiver||1978|
|John Simmons||Defensive back||1980|
|Harvey Armstrong||Defensive Tackle||1981|
|Eric Dickerson||Running Back||1982|
|Russell Carter||Defensive back||1983|
|Reggie Dupard||Running Back||1985|
|17||Don "Dandy Don" Meredith|
|37||Doak "The Doaker" Walker|
Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees
|Lamar Hunt||League Founder, Owner||Dallas Texans
Kansas City Chiefs
|Raymond Berry||End||Baltimore Colts||1955–1967||1973|
|Forrest Gregg||Offensive Tackle||Green Bay Packers
|1956, 1958–1970 1971||1977|
|Doak Walker||Halfback||Detroit Lions||1950–1955||1986|
|Eric Dickerson||Running Back||Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Raiders
Current NFL players
- Chris Banjo (S) of the Green Bay Packers
- Kelvin Beachum (G) of the Pittsburgh Steelers
- Garrett Gilbert (QB) of the Oakland Raiders 
- Margus Hunt (DE) of the Cincinnati Bengals
- Josh LeRibeus (G) of the Washington Redskins
- Josh McCown (QB) of the Cleveland Browns
- Sterling Moore (CB) of the Buffalo Bills
- Thomas Morstead (P) of the New Orleans Saints
- Aldrick Robinson (WR) Free Agent of the NFL
- Emmanuel Sanders (WR) of the Denver Broncos
- Taylor Thompson (TE) Free Agent of the NFL
- Cole Beasley (WR) of the Dallas Cowboys
- Zach Line (FB) of the Minnesota Vikings
Current CFL players
- Taylor Reed (LB) of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats
- Youri Yenga (DE) of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers
- Marquis Frazier (DE) of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers
|1924||1925||Dixie Classic||West Virginia Wesleyan||L||7||9|
|1947||1948||Cotton Bowl Classic||Penn State||T||13||13|
|1948||1949||Cotton Bowl Classic||Oregon||W||21||13|
|1966||1966||Cotton Bowl Classic||Georgia||L||9||24|
|1982||1983||Cotton Bowl Classic||Pittsburgh||W||7||3|
|1984||1984||Aloha Bowl||Notre Dame||W||27||20|
|2010||2010||Armed Forces Bowl||Army||L||14||16|
|2011||2012||BBVA Compass Bowl||Pittsburgh||W||28||6|
|2012||2012||Hawaiʻi Bowl||Fresno State||W||43||10|
|J. Burton Rix||1917–1921||16-19-7|
|Madison "Matty" Bell||1935–1941||47-24-3|
|James "Jimmy" Stewart||1942–1944||10-18-2|
|Madison "Matty" Bell||1945–1949||32-16-5|
|Harvey "Rusty" Russell||1950–1952||13-15-2|
|Chalmer "Woody" Woodard||1953–1956||19-20-1|
|William "Bill" Meek||1957–1961||17-29-4|
|Tom Mason (Interim)||2014||1–9|
Future non-conference opponents
Announced schedules as of July 29, 2015
|at North Texas||vs North Texas||at North Texas||vs North Texas||at North Texas||vs North Texas||at North Texas||vs North Texas||at North Texas||vs North Texas|
|at Baylor||at TCU||at Michigan||vs Texas State||at Texas State|
|vs TCU||vs Arkansas State||vs TCU||at Arkansas State|
|vs Liberty||vs Stephen F. Austin|
The SMU-TCU rivalry is the most intense one for SMU. The respective campuses are located 40 miles apart in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. TCU leads the all-time series 48–40–7. The SMU-TCU rivalries goes for all sports as well as recruiting students from the DFW area as SMU and TCU are the two top schools in the region in academics and sports.
The teams have played all but six years since their first meeting in 1915. They did not face each other in 1919, 1920, 1925, 1987, 1988, or 2006. Although no longer in the same conference, SMU and TCU agreed to play each season through 2017 on an alternating home-and-away basis.
TCU and SMU fans began the tradition back in 1946. During pre-game festivities, an SMU fan was frying frog legs as a joke before the game. A TCU fan, seeing this desecration of the "frog", went over and told him that eating the frog legs was going well beyond the rivalry and that they should let the game decide who would get the skillet and the frog legs. TCU won the game, and the skillet and frog legs went to TCU. The tradition eventually spilled over into the actual game and the Iron Skillet is now passed to the winner.
The SMU-Rice rivalry is a secondary one for both SMU (after TCU) and Rice (after Houston). However, it is a storied one based on the fact that SMU is located inside the city of Dallas and Rice is located in Houston, the anchors of Texas' two largest metropolitan areas. Notably, SMU and Rice are two of the smaller universities in NCAA Division I FBS. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Rice and SMU are consistently ranked the best two private universities in Texas.
In 1918 both schools joined the Southwest Conference, and from 1926 they played every year except for 1987 and 1988, after the NCAA gave SMU's football program the "death penalty" following a cheating scandal. They played in the same conference until 2013, beginning with the Southwest (1918–1996), then the Western Athletic Conference (1996–2005) and Conference USA (2005–2012). In that time they had met 90 times, with SMU leading 48–41–1.
In 1998 a traveling trophy, the "Mayor's Cup", was introduced to the series, and has been awarded to the winner each year. The Rice Owls currently hold the trophy after the 2012 game and lead the trophy series 9-6. However, the future of the trophy is unclear, as SMU left Conference USA for The American for the 2013 season, and no future games are scheduled.
SMU and Navy have played each other 17 times with Navy leading the series 10-7. In 2009, the athletic departments of the United States Naval Academy and Southern Methodist University created the Gansz Trophy in honor of Frank Gansz who played linebacker at the Naval Academy from 1957 through 1959 and eventually the coaching staff at SMU.
Navy joined the American Athletic Conference in 2015 which allowed for this game to become a conference game.
Although SMU and North Texas share the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex as their home, this is seldom a rivalry. SMU leads the all-time series 28-4-1. The two teams have played 34 times dating back to 1922. The most recent meetings between the two teams occurred in 2015, with the Mustangs beating North Texas 31-13. After SMU moved to The American, North Texas was invited to Conference USA.
The game is often referred to as the Safeway Bowl which derives its name from a challenge from then North Texas head coach Matt Simon issued in 1994 after a two-year break in the series, stating "I'd like to play because I think we could beat them, and my players feel the same way. If they'd like to play on a Safeway parking lot ... just give us a date and time."
SMU and North Texas will play each other every year from 2014 to 2025 for a scheduled twelve-game series.
All-time records versus rivals
|Team||Rivalry name||Trophy||Games played||First Meeting||Last Meeting||SMU Win||SMU Loss||Ties|
|TCU Horned Frogs||none||Iron Skillet||95||1915||2015 lost 37-56||40||48||7|
|Rice Owls||none||Mayor's Cup||90||1916||2012 lost 14-36||48||41||1|
|Baylor Bears||none||none||80||1916||2015 lost 21-56||36||38||7|
|Texas A&M Aggies||none||none||81||1916||2014 lost 6-58||29||45||7|
|Texas Longhorns||none||none||73||1916||1995 lost 10-35||22||47||4|
|Arkansas Razorbacks||none||none||73||1920||1999 lost 0-26||31||37||5|
|Texas Tech Red Raiders||none||none||49||1932||2013 lost 23-41||16||33||0|
|North Texas Mean Green||Safeway Bowl||none||36||1922||2016 won 34-21||30||5||1|
|Houston Cougars||none||none||30||1975||2016 won 38-16||11||19||1|
|Navy Midshipmen||none||Gansz Trophy||17||1930||2015 lost 14-55||7||10||0|
- Ownby Stadium, 1926–1948, 1989–1994
- Cotton Bowl, 1932–1978, 1995–1999
- Texas Stadium, 1979–1986
- Gerald J. Ford Stadium, 2000–present
- "SMU Licensing". Retrieved 2016-08-20.
- Frank, Peter (1987-04-11). "'88 football season canceled by SMU". New York Times.
- "SMU Mustangs future schedules". fbschedules.com. Retrieved 2014-08-02.