Amidst the PAC-12’s recent implosion, there’s been a lot of talk about whether Stanford and Cal would make good additions for the ACC. Flying under the radar are thoughts of whether Southern Methodist University, or SMU, in Dallas might make that jump too. Let’s put those to bed right here and right now. This isn’t implying that adding the Cardinal or Golden Bears would be a good move, rather that the Mustangs joining would be a very bad one.
For all the location fiasco that has come with the numerous west coast schools joining the Big Ten considering that conference boasts Rutgers in New Jersey, let’s think about Dallas as a location. If Stanford and Cal were to join, the two of them would be in proximity to each other. Excluding Notre Dame for football reasons, the western-most school in the ACC is Louisville. That’s about a 2-hour flight. And considering that the Lone Star state is for the most part dominated by the Big 12 and SEC, you’d be hard pressed to find another Texas school willing to join SMU. From a TV ratings perspective, it’s understandable why the ACC would pursue a school in a large market, but this location would do more harm than good.
Something that goes over the head of many college football fans when it comes to conference talk is the academic standard of schools. If we take the ACC, it boasts the likes of Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame for sports other than football, and of course Syracuse is an excellent academic school as well. Does SMU really fit that mold? That’s not to say it’s a bad school, but it doesn’t match most of the rest.
If the Mustangs held higher athletic prowess, particularly in the big sports, the above issue could be ignored. But they don’t. SMU football ran off four consecutive ten-win seasons from 1981-84. Since then, it has one double digit victory campaign. On the hardwood, the Mustangs have made the NCAA Tournament 12 times, but just two of them have come in the 21st century and they haven’t gotten to the Sweet 16 since the Lyndon B. Johnson administration. The ACC is a very talented conference when it comes to women’s basketball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and baseball and softball, but football and men’s basketball are undisputedly the two big dogs. SMU’s resume in those two sports is uninspiring.
The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is one of the largest in the country, and you can’t blame the ACC for looking to add a big market for TV rating. As crazy as it sounds, adding Stanford and Cal to nab viewers in LA would be a much better move than adding SMU for the DFW. It just doesn’t make sense, from a location, academic, and athletic standpoint.