So far this season, Southern Methodist University football's not only taking to the field with its best record in decades. The team's also sporting a new brand catching a lot of attention.
A crowd at SMU's season opener against the University of North Texas was the first to get a look at new jerseys trading in the school's name for the city of Dallas along with helmets sporting the city's logo intertwined with SMU's mustang.
Though SMU mostly sits in the Park Cities pocket surrounded by Dallas, both university and city officials have been working closely over the last several months to close that gap starting with the athletics department.
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"SMU and Dallas have been really synonymous since the start of the university," said Director of Athletics Rick Hart.
Hart calls it a relationship that's evolved over the years.
He said a recent re-branding of the athletics department that puts Dallas front and center is just the latest iteration of that relationship.
It's included on a billboard campaign used around the city to spotlight homegrown players from neighborhoods around the metroplex.
The football team's uniforms, already worn twice, are just the first of several Dallas variations Hart said university athletic teams will sport this year and, in the years, to come.
When asked about the timing of the new brand's release and the team's successful start to the season, Hart calls it fortuitous.
He said it was always the team's plan to sport Dallas jerseys again after their season debut, though some have wondered whether success has helped to shine a brighter light on the new brand.
"If we had come out and stubbed our toe in them, I don't know if you would have seen them. I don't know if superstition would've entered the picture," said Hart.
Instead, it seems the Big D has proven to be a lucky charm.