SMU Has Had Its Phil

In July, SMU debuted its new ad campaign -- that danged "Pony Up!" nonsense cooked up by the Richards Group for a what-the-fuh $750,000. (Over at SMU's official Mustang Musings site, run by the university's athletics department, folks either loved the campaign or hated it upon its debut. Loved it, mostly. Go figure.) Wrote Monica Contreras, director of marketing and promotions for the university, the campaign was intended to "create a buzz and get everyone on board from the players to the faculty and students, the alumni and community."

And what did SMU's football team show for all that buzz: a 1-7 record, for which coach Phil Bennett was rewarded yesterday with a pink slip. SMU Football Blog -- "A blog to echo the deafening silence that is the SMU Football Fandom" -- has a pretty good peek at what's likely next for the program that's been an abject failure ever since the death penalty. But fear not for the "Pony Up!" campaign: Looks like it'll stick around for basketball season. Or not? --Robert Wilonsky

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