The national media doesn't touch upon smaller schools too often; but I'm not the national media.
To me, the small schools are a huge part of what makes college football so great. I love to monitor D1-AA schools, and personally I believe that no D1-A school in "minor."
When teams like Boise and TCU make runs at undefeated seasons, I absolutely get caught up in it; and no Cinderella team captivated me more than June Jones' 2007 Hawaii Warriors.
As you probably know, after the 2007 Sugar Bowl massacre to Matt Stafford's Georgia team, Jones packed his bags and headed to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he inherited a program that hadn't been to a bowl game since 1984.
For those who don't know the history, in 1987 the Mustangs, who were already on probation, got caught "paying players" and became the first team in NCAA history to receive the "death penalty," thereby terminating the schools football program. The Mustangs returned to the NCAA in 1989 but since have had only one winning season.
Before the death penalty, SMU were one of the nations elite College Football programs. In 1982, lead by running back Eric Dickerson, SMU shared a claim to the "national championship" after beating Dan Marino's Pitt team in the Cotton Bowl. In 1984, the Mustangs last bowl game, they defeated Notre Dame in the Aloha Bowl.
Today, thanks to a 35-31 over UTEP, SMU reached the magic number of 6 wins to pretty much guarantee the Mustangs a bowl berth.
But that's not all, SMU's win, combined with Houston's loss to UCF put SMU in first place in Conference USA-West; meaning that if SMU win out then they'll play in the Conference USA championship; a title that the Mustangs have never won.
SMU's most difficult contest will come this next week at Marshall. If they can win that they'll come home to host a relatively winnable game against a Tulane team.
If SMU slip up somewhere in the next two games, chances are they'll end up in Hawaii for the Hawaii Bowl. Not only bringing the Mustangs full circle 25 years later, but bringing June Jones back to the island where he meant so much to the program, the athletes, and the state.
Either way, college football is better when SMU are relevant.
For more of the SMU Football Scandal read this.