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The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
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Fighting Muskie Online
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The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
Let’s say Vanderbilt was able to organize an academically focused southern conference in the early 60s. I’m timing this with the point at which Tulane and GT left the SEC.

Here’s my hypothetical line up:

UVA
UNC
Duke
WF
GT
Vanderbilt
Tulane
Rice
SMU

That’s 9 schools for an 8-game round robin schedule.

What would that mean for everyone else?

SEC: 9
ACC: 4 (Maryland, NC St, Clemson, SC)
SWC: 6 (Arkansas, Texas, A&M, Tech, TCU, Baylor)

Big 8: 8

Would the SEC attempt to restock from the SWC and/or ACC?
Would the SWC schools try to get into the Big 8?
Would Maryland become more closely aligned with Penn St and the eastern independents?
08-05-2022 09:55 AM
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DFW HOYA Offline
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
Some of this is unlikely in the 1960's, particularly with travel. In addition, SMU and Rice were more than competitive at this time in the SWC (moreso than, say, TCU or Baylor, which are now every bit as academic as SMU.) SMU was getting big crowds at the Cotton Bowl, so trading this in to play Virginia would have been DOA.

One still major college school somewhat forgotten today would have been a good candidate: William & Mary (considered as a possible ACC addition at least once).
(This post was last modified: 08-05-2022 10:12 AM by DFW HOYA.)
08-05-2022 10:12 AM
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johnintx Offline
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
(08-05-2022 10:12 AM)DFW HOYA Wrote:  Some of this is unlikely in the 1960's, particularly with travel. In addition, SMU and Rice were more than competitive at this time in the SWC (moreso than, say, TCU or Baylor, which are now every bit as academic as SMU.) SMU was getting big crowds at the Cotton Bowl, so trading this in to play Virginia would have been DOA.

One still major college school somewhat forgotten today would have been a good candidate: William & Mary (considered as a possible ACC addition at least once).

This. SMU viewed itself as a big-time football school in the 1960s and saw itself as a peer of Texas. This is the same school that caught outpaying everyone else in the 80's. They weren't leaving the SWC for a Magnolia League at that time.

Post-death penalty, they would have loved to be part of something like this. But their history is as part of the highest level of college football in the state of Texas.
08-05-2022 10:21 AM
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DFW HOYA Offline
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
(08-05-2022 10:21 AM)johnintx Wrote:  This. SMU viewed itself as a big-time football school in the 1960s and saw itself as a peer of Texas. This is the same school that caught outpaying everyone else in the 80's. They weren't leaving the SWC for a Magnolia League at that time.

Post-death penalty, they would have loved to be part of something like this. But their history is as part of the highest level of college football in the state of Texas.

SMU gutted their fan base and the local support by not retuning immediately after the death penalty and assuming a "we're not worthy" stance in the SWC.

This long-ball idea to be picked up by the Pac-12 might be its last, best chance to be a national player in college athletics. They dropped baseball long ago, then men's track, and are down to six men's sports: basketball, football, golf, tennis, soccer and swimming. But in its day, SMU could fill up Texas Stadium with the best of them.



08-05-2022 01:11 PM
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esayem Offline
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
The ACC was the closest thing to the Magnolia League during the implementation of the SAT rule. Maryland and Duke were football superpowers before it.
08-05-2022 01:17 PM
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Tmac13 Offline
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
(08-05-2022 10:21 AM)johnintx Wrote:  
(08-05-2022 10:12 AM)DFW HOYA Wrote:  Some of this is unlikely in the 1960's, particularly with travel. In addition, SMU and Rice were more than competitive at this time in the SWC (moreso than, say, TCU or Baylor, which are now every bit as academic as SMU.) SMU was getting big crowds at the Cotton Bowl, so trading this in to play Virginia would have been DOA.

One still major college school somewhat forgotten today would have been a good candidate: William & Mary (considered as a possible ACC addition at least once).

This. SMU viewed itself as a big-time football school in the 1960s and saw itself as a peer of Texas. This is the same school that caught outpaying everyone else in the 80's. They weren't leaving the SWC for a Magnolia League at that time.

Post-death penalty, they would have loved to be part of something like this. But their history is as part of the highest level of college football in the state of Texas.

I noticed a big age disconnect regarding SMU in a lot of discussions..People 45 and over remember SMU being the arch rival of Texas in the SWC and people under 40 have only known them as a lower tier sports name..I'm a little older, so I remember them as the modern day equivalent of Texas A&M so it doesn't seem weird at all for them to be in a P5 conference..
(This post was last modified: 08-05-2022 01:40 PM by Tmac13.)
08-05-2022 01:38 PM
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OdinFrigg Offline
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
(08-05-2022 01:38 PM)Tmac13 Wrote:  
(08-05-2022 10:21 AM)johnintx Wrote:  
(08-05-2022 10:12 AM)DFW HOYA Wrote:  Some of this is unlikely in the 1960's, particularly with travel. In addition, SMU and Rice were more than competitive at this time in the SWC (moreso than, say, TCU or Baylor, which are now every bit as academic as SMU.) SMU was getting big crowds at the Cotton Bowl, so trading this in to play Virginia would have been DOA.

One still major college school somewhat forgotten today would have been a good candidate: William & Mary (considered as a possible ACC addition at least once).

This. SMU viewed itself as a big-time football school in the 1960s and saw itself as a peer of Texas. This is the same school that caught outpaying everyone else in the 80's. They weren't leaving the SWC for a Magnolia League at that time.

Post-death penalty, they would have loved to be part of something like this. But their history is as part of the highest level of college football in the state of Texas.

I noticed a big age disconnect regarding SMU in a lot of discussions..People 45 and over remember SMU being the arch rival of Texas in the SWC and people under 40 have only known them as a lower tier sports name..I'm a little older, so I remember them as the modern day equivalent of Texas A&M so it doesn't seem weird at all for them to be in a P5 conference..

Being in the Big12 is SMU’s best hope. Depending on how changes in the PAC12 unfold, that could become an option.

The potential for a big comeback is there.
08-05-2022 01:52 PM
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bill dazzle Offline
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
I recall the SMU football and basketball teams of the 1970s and 1980s. The name was well recognized and there remains a history (though tainted somewhat by the death penalty of the late 1980s) with the overall Mustang athletics program. Notwithstanding a modest overall fan base and no baseball, SMU offers many of the characteristics of a power-league-affiliated athletics program.

I agree with OdinFrigg about the potential for SMU to make a "comeback" of sorts.
08-05-2022 02:40 PM
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Poster Offline
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
SMU’s win percentage from 1951-79 was .427. That’s what people forget-they actually weren’t good at all for three decades before they turned their cheating up to superdrive.
08-05-2022 02:55 PM
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bill dazzle Offline
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
(08-05-2022 02:55 PM)Poster Wrote:  SMU’s win percentage from 1951-79 was .427. That’s what people forget-they actually weren’t good at all for three decades before they turned their cheating up to superdrive.

As a fan of athletic programs that have been caught cheating and committing other unsavory shenanigans (Vanderbilt, Memphis, Cincinnati, Indiana and North Carolina, in particular), may I introduce you to Mr. Bruce Pearl.
08-05-2022 03:18 PM
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Fighting Muskie Online
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
(08-05-2022 02:55 PM)Poster Wrote:  SMU’s win percentage from 1951-79 was .427. That’s what people forget-they actually weren’t good at all for three decades before they turned their cheating up to superdrive.

Right. They were pretty bad until Ron Meyer got there and started buying players. If there was a time for a Magnolia league, it was the early 60s:

Tulane and GT were so unhappy that they left the SEC
Vanderbilt was supposedly shopping the idea of Magnolia
Rice and SMU were both hapless in the SWC
The ACC schools were in a decades long squabble over the proper balance between athletics and academics.
08-05-2022 03:27 PM
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
Spitballing possible scenarios here:

If the ACC was down to Maryland, NC St, Clemson, and SC, a rebuild involving WVU, VT, FSU, Miami and potentially even Richmond and William & Mary might have been in order if the SEC passed in adding the Carolina schools.

The SEC doesn’t really have to do anything at 9 members.

The SWC, at 6, definitely needs to go shopping. That could be adding Houston earlier or even resorting to UNT. I think the preferred path would be to somehow work a partial merger with the Big 8.
08-05-2022 03:32 PM
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
(08-05-2022 02:55 PM)Poster Wrote:  SMU’s win percentage from 1951-79 was .427. That’s what people forget-they actually weren’t good at all for three decades before they turned their cheating up to superdrive.

Hayden Fry took SMU to the Cotton Bowl in 1967 and a #10 ranking, one of only two SWC teams outside of Texas and Arkansas to appear in the Cotton Bowl from 1961 to 1974. Two years later, they were #14 and their only losses were Ohio State, Texas, and Arkansas.
08-05-2022 03:40 PM
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
(08-05-2022 03:40 PM)DFW HOYA Wrote:  
(08-05-2022 02:55 PM)Poster Wrote:  SMU’s win percentage from 1951-79 was .427. That’s what people forget-they actually weren’t good at all for three decades before they turned their cheating up to superdrive.

Hayden Fry took SMU to the Cotton Bowl in 1967 and a #10 ranking, one of only two SWC teams outside of Texas and Arkansas to appear in the Cotton Bowl from 1961 to 1974. Two years later, they were #14 and their only losses were Ohio State, Texas, and Arkansas.

2 good seasons in a sea of bad ones.
08-05-2022 03:44 PM
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
(08-05-2022 03:32 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  Spitballing possible scenarios here:

If the ACC was down to Maryland, NC St, Clemson, and SC, a rebuild involving WVU, VT, FSU, Miami and potentially even Richmond and William & Mary might have been in order if the SEC passed in adding the Carolina schools.

The SEC doesn’t really have to do anything at 9 members.

The SWC, at 6, definitely needs to go shopping. That could be adding Houston earlier or even resorting to UNT. I think the preferred path would be to somehow work a partial merger with the Big 8.

Now that could have been an ACC worth being in! The best of the ACC & Big East, without the dregs of either. And no UVA, UNC & Duke to shoot down all the good ideas from their perch high up in the Ivory Tower.
08-05-2022 03:52 PM
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johnintx Offline
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RE: The impact of a Magnolia League in the early 60s
(08-05-2022 01:38 PM)Tmac13 Wrote:  
(08-05-2022 10:21 AM)johnintx Wrote:  
(08-05-2022 10:12 AM)DFW HOYA Wrote:  Some of this is unlikely in the 1960's, particularly with travel. In addition, SMU and Rice were more than competitive at this time in the SWC (moreso than, say, TCU or Baylor, which are now every bit as academic as SMU.) SMU was getting big crowds at the Cotton Bowl, so trading this in to play Virginia would have been DOA.

One still major college school somewhat forgotten today would have been a good candidate: William & Mary (considered as a possible ACC addition at least once).

This. SMU viewed itself as a big-time football school in the 1960s and saw itself as a peer of Texas. This is the same school that caught outpaying everyone else in the 80's. They weren't leaving the SWC for a Magnolia League at that time.

Post-death penalty, they would have loved to be part of something like this. But their history is as part of the highest level of college football in the state of Texas.

I noticed a big age disconnect regarding SMU in a lot of discussions..People 45 and over remember SMU being the arch rival of Texas in the SWC and people under 40 have only known them as a lower tier sports name..I'm a little older, so I remember them as the modern day equivalent of Texas A&M so it doesn't seem weird at all for them to be in a P5 conference..

Up until the NFL and the Cowboys came to town, SMU was Dallas' football team. Dallas was smaller and different in those days, but SMU was the option for football. The same dynamic applies to Rice/Houston/Oilers.

The old SWC was a conference full of rivals. Texas and Arkansas dominated it, but everyone was everyone else's rival. Geography and familiarity breed contempt.

The death penalty was so bad that the NCAA will never use it again. SMU was forced to sit out the 1987 season, then sat out the 1988 season rather than play only conference games as the NCAA penalty allowed. As a result, SMU toned down their athletic ambitions when they came off the death penalty. They still haven't fully recovered. However, they have built a new football stadium and have rebuilt their basketball arena. Their facilities are now good.

TCU was similarly left behind when the SWC disbanded. They invested in their program, succeeded on the field in multiple conferences, and were able to get into the Big 12. In doing so, they blocked SMU's opportunity to also join the Big 12.

So SMU to the Pac is very out of the box. But, as mentioned upthread, it may be their last chance to be part of big-time college athletics.
08-05-2022 03:56 PM
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