In my ever growing list of college tourism sites, I recently made the trip into Dallas to catch a game at Gerald Ford Stadium on the campus of Southern Methodist University.
Coming up from Tyler, I was really impressed by the area around SMU. The campus is nestled up between a very affluent neighborhood and a freeway. The neighborhood reminds me much or the Rice area of Houston. Big mansions dotted the side streets. Side streets full of free parking. A true treat if ever I’ve seen one.
The weather was questionable riding in. A cold front was rolling in from the north carrying clouds and light rain. Luckily, that held off until after the game. Only the steady wind, keeping us cool in the stands
SMU’s campus was really nice. The brick was all uniform, and the trees really filled in the holes between buildings nicely. Hell, even the church day-care center had field turf. We’re talking money.
If there is one thing I was most impressed with at SMU, it was the organized tailgate area. The Boulevard is the center street through campus that is shut down and given to the tailgaters. The area was packed full of tents barbequing, drinking, doing the whole thing.
When you’ve got full size tunnel helmets to your tailgate, you know you’re doing something right.
As for the stadium, it wasn’t overly huge, but it had a nice look when walking up from campus.
Inside, the stadium is obviously a horse shoe, which isn’t necessarily my favorite configuration, but for this team, it makes sense. The Mustangs are all about the horse shoe. You may also notice the grassy area on the other side of the stadium. That’s not called the grassy knoll as it supposedly once was. Something about being and Dallas and calling a place a grassy knoll just didn’t work for SMU fans.
The concourses were nice. That was typical all the way around the stadium. Restrooms had 20-30 toilet/urinals in SEVERAL restrooms. It wasn’t as glorious as the old troughs of Michigan Stadium, but they were almost adequate at keeping lines only 30 deep out of the door. Food selection was bad. $4 hot dogs, $8 mini-pizzas, or $4 sausage on a stick were the only real food options. Nachos, popcorn, and candy were it for the rest. Real let down.
SMU’s band does a special "diamond M" as their big thing. The band comes out before the game in all white shirt and pants with red vests and red bandanas on their heads. They come back later with navy blazers. They were alright. Nothing to write home about. They did play Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, so I’m obviously not a fan.
This was the view from the seat I got at the last minute. Not bad, I must say. I was in the last section on the home side, which, like the entire area across the stadium, was packed with TCU fans.
Actually, it was closer to 70% SMU fans. They did set an attendance record for the game though. Always good to be part of the biggest crowd in a stadium’s history.
I had to love the TCU fans. As a closet Horned Frog fan, they treated me well even in my Michigan shirt. What’s funny about that poster above though, a kid no older than 10 years old was waving it around yelling "Hey Horned Frogs, You Suck!" Kids are awesome.
Final score was 41-24, TCU. SMU actually lead early in the 3rd quarter. That’s against the supposed top 5 team in TCU? Let’s just leave it as I left unimpressed. Maybe it was a bad day. Maybe Dalton just couldn’t deal with the winds that his coaches would only call draw plays even on 3rd and long. Maybe they just aren’t as good this year.
I have to give it to the SMU student section in the far corner. They were there early, filled their sections, and were loud. I was thoroughly impressed. Most even stayed through the 4th quarter to sing the school son with the team after the game.
You’ll also notice SMU too has a hand symbol. It’s a less than crisp peace sign, in the shape of a horse shoe, of course.