TCU Eyes Neighbor SMU
September 4, 2018
OK, Game 1 is in the books and we can all cool off after the win over Southern. The Frogs did what they needed to do: Maximize the upside, play 80 players and minimize the injuries. Check. Check. Check.
This week’s different. It’s SMU.
SMU is more personal. We know them. Like a nemesis neighbor from down the street, we know when they back out of their driveway and hit out garbage cans and they know when we make a move. It’s been that way for a long, long time. Friday will mark the 98th meeting at the mailbox.
From 1915, when the Frogs won the first three games in the series by a combined point total of 102-3 to the 1918 TCU forfeit when the Frogs’ bus got stuck in the mud in Grand Prairie to the 1935 heartbreaker in new, state-of-the-art TCU Stadium, it’s been cozy. Don’t forget the Doak Walker years and the resurgence of Mustang Mania in the late-70’s and early 80’s with the Pony Express running attack with Craig James and Eric Dickerson almost leading SMU to a national championship. At one point from 1972 through 1986, SMU rattled off 15 straight wins over TCU. Then, in 1987, the Death Penalty came down on Mockingbird Lane and SMU took two years off. It took World War I to cause the only other two-year hiatus in the series in 1919 and 1920.
While the TCU venue for the series hasn’t changed since 1930, SMU has had multiple homes: The old Ownby Stadium on the SMU campus, the Cotton Bowl, Texas Stadium in Irving from the late-70s to the mid-80’s, back to Ownby Stadium in 1989, then to the Cotton Bowl, then back to campus to the new Gerald J. Ford Stadium in 2000. (Note: some people think the stadium is named for former President Ford – it’s not – he’s Gerald R. Ford, R-Michigan). Gerald J. Ford is a generous donor to SMU.
There’s even a connection among coaches. Now, I’m not referring to the fact that current Peruna head coach Sonny Dykes officed at Amon G. Carter Stadium last year as a member of Gary Patterson’s staff.
There’s another one.
Coach Matty Bell, who led SMU to the 1936 Rose Bowl with a win over TCU in the 1935 game of the century, was actually TCU’s head football coach from 1923-1928, before he defected to Texas A&M. He was handed the reigns at SMU in 1935, after tiring of College Station. He coached SMU through the 1941 season, then returned after World War II to coach the Mustangs from 1945-1949 to enjoy the Doak Walker era. Walker won the Heisman Trophy in 1948, then when Walker was done at SMU after the 1949 season, so was Matty. Apparently he knew when to get out.
Speaking of getting out, make your plans to get out early Friday and get to Dallas to support the Frogs. Leave at lunchtime — the Frogs need you in Dallas. Sure it may rain, but it’s going to be warm and Ford Stadium is waiting for you to take it over. Get your tickets at 214-SMU-GAME.
SMU is the focus. No peeking.