Spiel of Dreams

SMU brags about its new stadium, but coach Mike Cavan knows it won't make fans pay to see a loser

So they've built it, and they're going to come. But whether the fans keep coming is, again, up to Cavan's troops.

His background says he's ready for the challenge of tempting SMU students away from hangover-healthy Snuffer's and into GFS come fall Saturdays. At his last two stops, Valdosta State and East Tennessee State, he resurrected down-and-out teams. Thing is, this isn't Valdosta State or East Tennessee State. Thing is, this is a step up, and sometimes when you're climbing a ladder you slip -- whether you're paying attention or not.

But today, we've all got our fingers crossed, we're all optimistic. Today, Cavan is calm and prepared while the PR people plug along happily, churning out media packets and towels and shirts and such. They've even come up with a slogan, a catchy one: "New Turf. New Team."

Today, if you were inclined to bet, you'd put a stack of chips on the third-year head coach to improve the team and fill seats. Until you remember who you're dealing with: SMU's "fans" and its recently emaciated program.

On second thought, you'd better make that a small stack.

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