Teams don't win conference championships, bowl games or national championships without leadership.
SMU, who's 5-1 for the first time in 25 years, 5-0 in their last five games, have what's called the "Football Leadership Council." It's a group of upperclassmen that meet every week to discuss the previous game, the upcoming opponent and any other internal matters.
Each position is represented in the group, which is comprised of Kyle Padron, Zach Line, Margus Hunt, Blake McJunkin, Kelvin Beachum, Ryan Smith, Chris Banjo, Victor Jones, Richard Crawford and Randall Joyner.
"It's the first year we've done it," Smith said. "This is something we wanted to do. Our biggest goal this year is to take it one game at a time, one week at a time. Each week, we meet and talk about last week's game and things we can improve on. We try to keep the team with that one mindset that this is the team we have this week and we're just going to worry about them.
"We have leaders from every position on the field [in the council]. It's a great way to see how they're doing on their positions and bring it all together and keep the ball rolling. That's the thing with great teams, they have chemistry with one another and that's one thing we're trying to build."
It's a great way to keep the guys motivated and make sure team morale is always up, Smith explained.
It's important to note that coach June Jones had nothing to do with this. That shows how important making this football program relevant nationally is to these players.
Asked if this council is one of the reasons why the Mustangs are having so much success this year, Smith said, "it plays its part."
"We definitely want the mindset that, ‘What can we do to get better? How can we get this team more motivated than we have been in the past?'" Smith said. "We meet up every week and talk about those things. We attack problems we think we're having in any phase of the team.
"I credit [the council] for some of [our success], but it all goes back to what we do on the field."
SMU is just halfway through the season. A tough, two-game conference road stretch starts this week. If the Mustangs get a convincing win this week over Southern Miss, they may be able to crack the Top 25, something that hasn't been done since 1986.
"There's a great feeling on campus right now," Smith said. "But the biggest thing is we can't lose sight of the fact that we're only halfway through the season. We got a whole other half of football left to play.
"It's definitely a great feeling to get this thing turned around and always expect to win. You can feel a new buzz around campus and the guys are walkin' different, talkin' different, but not holding our heads up too high or our chests out or anything. We're still staying humble and hungry. But at the same time, we believe what we can do, we believe in ourselves, we believe in our coaches, we believe in our schemes and we're just trying to go out there and take care of the goal, which is to win each game each week."
Like the Football Leadership Council, the 5-1 record and all the potential surrounding this team's future, that type of attitude is new.
For more SMU coverage, follow Laken Litman on Twitter!