Everyone at SMU and TCU knows there is a game Friday night. But SMU is trying to make sure that everyone in Dallas knows it too.
The game is a rivalry game that TCU has dominated over the past few seasons with SMU's last win coming in 2005. But it still means national publicity for SMU who is trying to get its football team back on the national radar.
The game is being played Friday night so it can be shown nationally on ESPN without any other college games competing for viewers. But this is Texas, which means Friday night is already football night, high school football night.
From the campus yard signs, window clings, t-shirts and posters have been distributed, but it is what is off campus that is making the most noise. A "Beat TCU, Fill the Ford" sign is hanging on the Expressway Towers building across Central Expressway from campus, a building owned by SMU. But if you were driving down US75 yesterday around rush hour by campus and happened to look up you would have seen a message airplane with a similar sign.
Even off campus at the new Heights at Park Lane apartment complex had "Beat TCU" lights projected on the side of it, and according to the SMU Athletics website other buildings along US75 have the lights as well.
The game has already sold out seats and SMU has begun selling standing room only tickets for $20, opening up the south end of Ford Stadium. The game is projected to break Ford's attendance record of 34,749 set at the 2009 season opener against Stephen F. Austin.
The hope is that SMU fans will still outnumber TCU fans in the stadium. But for me, I hope that the marketing campaign can continue past the TCU game. With both of Houston’s quarterbacks going down to season ending injuries the Mustangs have a chance to play for a conference championship and next week’s game at Rice and the following week’s game against Tulsa will probably be bigger games for SMU, but not as big of money makers for the athletic program.
The university is putting a lot of hype into a game in which SMU is a 19-point underdog. Hopefully a lot of people coming to watch SMU lose to a better team won’t discourage fans from returning to Ford.