ARTICLE OF THE DAY
 
History Lesson

by Billy Weaver
10/14/05


We've heard all week about the similarities between East Carolina and SMU. The Pirates head into Saturday's game with a 2-3 record while the Mustangs are 2-4. Both teams run a multiple-spread offense and very similar defenses. ECU head coach Skip Holtz said in his weekly press conference that his team sees exactly what SMU runs on both sides of the ball every day in practice and he felt his team had been preparing for SMU since the spring.
 
The most important similarity between the teams is that both programs are starving to relive the glory days and return to national prominence. East Carolina was a force to be reckoned with in the 90's and I don't need to remind any one of the 11-1 season in 1991. The Pirate program has fallen on hard times of late with records of 4-8, 1-11 and 2-9 over the past three seasons. But before you start to feel sorry for the Pirates, take a look at just how far the Mustangs have fallen in recent years.
 
Here's a little Mustang history lesson.
 
SMU won back-to-back national titles in 1981 and 1982. Yes, I said NATIONAL TITLES! The Mustangs dominated what was then the Southwest Conference going 10-1 in 1981 and 11-0-1 in 1982. Shortly afterward the program started to go downhill.
 
After consecutive 10-2 season in '83 and '84, SMU started to slip in '85 and '86 with 6-5 records.
 
In 1987 the program was hit with NCAA sanctions that forced the cancellation of the 1987 season. University officials then canceled the 1988 season. The Mustang support system was complete shut down. 
 
In 1989 SMU hired Forrest Gregg to resurrect the Mustang program but that never happened.
 
Since 1989 the Mustangs have compiled a 42-134-3 record. That's an average of 2.6 wins a season over the span of 16 years, including 1998 when the team had to forfeit four of their wins because of the use of an ineligible player. Yes, 16 years of bad football!  
 
My point is... the next time you start to gripe and complain about a Pirate loss, take a deep breath and think about how bad it could be. We could be SMU!
 
Thankfully ECU has the right man in place to put the Pirates back on to the national stage. Give 'em hell Skip!

Billy Weaver
billy.weaver@witntv.com