SMU prepares for bowl game in Burleson

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA

Posted on December 27, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 27 at 9:14 PM

BURLESON — One year ago, SMU was spending the week in Hawaii preparing for their first bowl game in 25 years.

This year they're spending their afternoons working out in Burleson, getting ready for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.

It's not that SMU is spoiled, but Hawaii compared to Fort Worth? Well, you get the idea.

“Half our kids are from East Texas and have never been to Fort Worth so it's a nice deal,” says SMU head coach June Jones. “We’ve got Billy Bob’s and the comedy store tonight then we has got the ball game.”

This is certainly not one of the glamour bowls that players like to participate in and it doesn't compare to that trip to Hawaii last season, but it is a bowl game and a reward for that 7-and-6 season.

“Hawaii was a great experience but any bowl game is a great experience, especially being here in the Metroplex is good for us,” says SMU safety Chris Banjo.

“No beach, no water, no hula dancers, I miss those a lot,” says SMU offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum Jr.

SMU is working out at Burleson Centennial High School, a new school with brand new facilities. It’s a country setting with beautiful views of the countryside.

“I did see two cows when I turned in on campus so that was kind of fun,” says Kate Hairopoulos, who covered the team in Hawaii last year. “On the way down here, two tractors were on the highway.”

John Hampton was in Hawaii last year as well. He is one of the broadcasters of SMU games. “Definitely not Hawaii,” Hampton says.

Many of the players have never been to Fort Worth. “Ah it’s friendly,” says Banjo.

“It’s all good. You come together with your teammates in the hotel, doing everything together for a few days, it's a lot of fun,” says SMU running back Zach Line.

But it's not Hawaii. Due to construction, the game will not be played at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, but instead will be played at Ford Stadium on the SMU campus. It's scheduled for 11am on Thursday December 30, 2010 and will be televised on ESPN.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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