SMU great Eric Dickerson grabs flamethrower, torches Mustangs

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It’s been a rough last couple of days on the Hilltop.

Monday, June Jones abruptly and unexpected stepped down as SMU’s head coach. A day later, the Mustangs lost starting quarterback Neal Burcham to a season-ending right (throwing) elbow injury. That same day, one of the greatest players in the program’s history broke out a flamethrower to torch what’s left of the 0-2 team.

During an interview with KRLD Tuesday, Eric Dickerson, the Hall of Fame former SMU running back, was asked about the recruitment of Ricky Seal-Jones. The current Texas A&M wide receiver is a cousin of Dickerson and picked the relative’s brain when SMU showed interest a couple of years ago.

Dickerson’s response is not exactly something you’ll see in a recruiting brochure for the program at any point in the future.

“When he was getting recruited, he told me SMU had sent him a letter and asked me ‘do you want me to take a visit?'” Dickerson said. “I said no, do not take a visit. Don’t even waste your time going there. I didn’t want him going there. For what? It’s just a waste of time. I wanted him to have an experience in college with football that he really enjoyed like I had like when I went to SMU. He wouldn’t have that there. He’s at the right school at Texas A&M.”

That one will leave a mark. Dickerson, though, didn’t stop there. Here are some of his other choice comments on his alma mater, courtesy of a pair of Dallas Morning News blog posts that can be viewed in their entirety HERE and HERE:

On the state of SMU
“It’s a shame that my university has gone 10 steps backwards. It’s hard for me and all the players that went to SMU. A lot of guys that played in my era still feel like they are not welcomed there because of what happened. I could care less if I go to another football game, but when I do, I want my university to be competitive.”

On the talent level at SMU
“It’s nothing against those kids because those kids are give their all, but I guarantee you there are some high schools around the country that could beat them. There is no doubt. They don’t have the talent to compete with Baylor or Texas A&M. They would get killed.”

On if it’s too late for SMU to compete with Power Five conferences
“I think we had a shot, but it’s gone. I really do believe it’s gone. It’s like Texas and Alabama, those are big schools you can’t compete with. At one point, they were going to join the Big East. If I’m the Big East, if I’m the Big 12 or the Pac-10, I would look at SMU and ask ‘what do you have to offer us?’ You have 3,000 people that come to your football games. You’re winning maybe five games a year. What’s the appeal for us to want to split $12 million? There is no attraction. Yes, you are in Dallas, Texas, but that’s all you have. You can’t even compete.”

Dickerson also defended Jones… by bringing race into the equation.

“In some instances there, I didn’t think they did enough to help the students get in,” Dickerson said in response to the question of what the university was doing to hold Jones back. “Recruiting is right there in Dallas. I mean, you have to make the students and their parents feel like they’re welcome. I’m talking about black athletes to come play at the university.”

Regardless of what exactly Dickerson meant by that, it’s not a good situation for a football program when an icon like him comes out and tears the team to shreds so publicly. It’ll be interesting to see who takes over for Jones, although one of his first tasks to accomplish is already known: mend the fences with former players in general and Dickerson specifically.

Oh, and getting a new coach with Texas ties wouldn’t hurt. Chad Morris, anyone?

(Photo credit: SMU athletics)

45,161 fans see Ithaca beat SUNY Cortland to set D3 attendance record at MetLife Stadium

Keenan Slusher
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MetLife Stadium has been home to some awful NFL football this season but this past Saturday fans in the Tri-State region were at least treated to a far more interesting product on the field..

As we noted back in early October, this year’s Battle for the Cortaga Jug was going to be extra special because it was going to take place in the Meadowlands as Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland attempted to set a new Division III record for attendance. According to the Ithaca Journal, the pair did just that with 45,161 fans showed up to the game as the Bombers (that’s Ithaca) won their third straight Jug, 32-20.

“The electricity was unreal,” Cortland senior running back Zach Tripodi told the paper, “… When I scored, I don’t think I’ve ever felt something like that. You really felt the crowd.”

The final tally broke the previous D3 mark of 37,355 (from a 2017 matchup between St. Thomas and St. John’s at Minneapolis’ Target Field) by a considerable margin.

For what it’s worth, the D3 game at MetLife also had a bigger crowd than the ones that watched some of the FBS programs in New York, including the 16,286 down in Durham, N.C. that saw Syracuse thump Duke, the 8,450 that saw Buffalo lose at Kent State or the 25,747 in West Point that saw Army beat Virginia Military Institute.

Good football, it seems, is hard to come by in the Empire State but fans will come out for quality play no matter what level.

Louisville AD dons a bird mask, breaks out Pappy van Winkle to celebrate bowl berth

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For some teams, reaching a bowl game — even those obscure dot com-sponsored ones — is quite meaningful. Such is the case at Louisville as they have embarked on one of the better turnarounds in the country this season under new head coach Scott Satterfield. 

Following up a 2-10 disaster at the hands of Bobby Petrino last year, the new staff has revitalized the program and secured bowl eligibility on Saturday by beating N.C. State 34-20. That’s a cause worth celebrating around the city and Cardinals AD Vince Tyra certainly did not short himself on that front after the sixth victory of 2019 by donning a rather comical mask in the locker room and breaking out some very expensive whiskey to share with the head coach.

Tyra and Satterfield may indeed be the only ones to drink Pappy out of a Gatorade cup but it probably tasted even sweeter than it normally does given the accomplishment it’s celebrating. While some fans may scoff at reaching six wins in a season, the jubilation in Louisville is a good reminder that benchmarks like that have plenty of meaning for programs who sat at home in disarray last year.

 

Auburn receives $10 million gift toward new football building

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Auburn may have lost the battle with Georgia in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry on Saturday but the Tigers at least made some progress on the facilities war.

According to the school, Walt and Ginger Woltosz made the largest gift to the athletic department in program history over the weekend thanks to a $10 million pledge that will help kickstart construction on a new football facility.

“We always tell our players to use their influence in a positive way,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement. “Walt and Ginger are a great example of that. Their gift will help us compete for championships and serve our student-athletes for generations. They represent everything that Auburn stands for. Hard work, concern for others and generosity.”

AU said that $31.5 million has already been raised for the new building in total, which has gone through a number of board approvals already and just needs to finalize a design and budget before shovels can hit the ground.

The primary motivation behind such a project is pretty clear as regional and conference rivals from Clemson to Alabama to the aforementioned Bulldogs have all added flashy new facilities in recent years while the Tigers’ current digs were built over three decades ago.

AP Poll: Georgia moves past Alabama; Texas A&M, Virginia Tech join top 25

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Voters are still struggling with what to do with Alabama after Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury but it’s pretty clear that the immediate effect for the Tide is to drop behind their SEC rival Georgia in the polls.

After doing so in the Coaches Poll earlier Sunday, the new No. 4 Bulldogs flipped places with the No. 5 Crimson Tide, following the example set by the CFP Selection Committee last Tuesday as well.

Elsewhere in the poll, previously undefeated Baylor and Minnesota dropped several spots after taking their first L’s of the year. The Bears were only down one place however to No. 13 while the Gophers were punished a little harsher by moving from No. 7 to No. 11. That latter spot is, it should be noted, two places behind the team it just beat a week ago in No. 9 Penn State.

No. 17 Cincinnati remained the top Group of Five team in the poll but there was some movement at the bottom of the rankings following a number of losses in the 20-25 range. No. 23 Appalachian State returns to the rankings after thumping Georgia State while No. 24 Texas A&M and No. 25 Virginia Tech also earned an appearance.

The full AP Top 25 entering Week 13:

  1. LSU (54 first-place votes)
  2. Ohio State (5)
  3. Clemson (3)
  4. Georgia
  5. Alabama
  6. Oregon
  7. Utah
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Penn State
  10. Florida
  11. Minnesota
  12. Michigan
  13. Baylor
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Notre Dame
  16. Auburn
  17. Cincinnati
  18. Memphis
  19. Iowa
  20. Boise State
  21. SMU
  22. Oklahoma State
  23. Appalachian State
  24. Texas A&M
  25. Virginia Tech