Southern Methodist University represents a lot of things that OSU is not: it’s a private, religious school in a large urban area that plays in a non-power conference, the American Athletic Conference. It’s an up-and-coming program, though, under fourth-year head coach Sonny Dykes, and it’s in relatively close geographic proximity to Stillwater — just about a four-and-a-half hour drive.
The differences between the two schools are what can keep this burgeoning rivalry interesting. On top of that, SMU has reached program highs only seen during the infamous “Pony Express” days of the 1980s, when the team participated in the Southwest Conference. The team finished 10-3 in 2019 and 7-3 in 2020, reaching as high as No. 15 and No. 16 in the AP polls in each year, respectively.
The two schools have met 12 times in a series that stretches all the way back to 1922. When the teams played a three-game series from 2002 to 2004, the Cowboys won the three games by scores of 52-16, 52-6, and 59-7 — hardly indicative of a competitive contest.
These modern-day Mustangs are much better than their counterparts from 20 years ago. Those SMU squads didn’t win more than three games in a season, and the 2003 team actually went 0-12.
With the chance to play in front of the many talent Dallas metro area high school players in an area that’s less than 300 miles from OSU’s campus, it makes sense for the Cowboys to reignite this regional scrap.