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On the day that SMU is leaving Conference USA for a (hopefully) brighter future, they'll be doing so without the man that made it all possible. According to multiple reports, head coach June Jones will be leaving the hilltop and will be joining Arizona State University. This comes just before an official announcement was to be made that SMU  would be leaving C-USA for the Big East Conference.

Jones spent four years at SMU and brought the program back to life from the "Death Penalty" that was handed down over 25 years ago. His first season at SMU went poorly and the team finished 1-11. However, the following year, the Mustangs turned it all around, finished the regular season with a 7-5 record and advanced to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl - their first bowl game in 25 years. Last year, SMU again went 7-5 and won the Conference USA West but fell to UCF in the Conference USA championship. The Mustangs went to another bowl, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, but lost to Army, 16-14.

This year, the Mustangs appeared poised to take a big step forward. After losing the first game of the season, SMU went on a tear by winning five consecutive games, including two big wins against rival TCU and defending C-USA champs UCF. However, in the second half of the season, senior quarterback J.J. McDermott struggled and the surging Mustangs floundered. SMU won only two of its remaining six games and again finished 7-5. The Mustangs were invited to their third straight bowl game and will play Pitt in the BBVA Compass bowl on January 7, 2012.

This news comes just before the Big East Conference was scheduled to make an official announcement welcoming SMU and five other schools to the Big East. The Mustangs will be joined fellow C-USA teams Houston and UCF, as well as two Mountain West teams - San Diego State University and Boise State University. The five teams will begin playing in the Big East in 2013.

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