SMU Mustangs 2023 College Football Preview
June 26, 2023
Record – 7-6
ATS – 5-8
The Mustangs got off to a bit of a rocky start (2-3) but they really got rolling around mid-season and scored 45,77,41 during a three-game winning streak. Sadly, they were massacred by Tulane the following week (L 59-24), and that put an end to any hopes of getting to the AAC title game. Year one of the Rhett Lashlee experiment ended with a one-point loss to BYU in the New Mexico Bowl and a final record of 7-6.
Do they have the MINERALS to contend for the conference crown in 2023?
SMU Mustangs 2023 Outlook
SMU moved like a TREMENDOUS MACHINE LY behind the arm of QB Tanner Mordecai as they ranked #14 in the FBS in total offense, #7 in passing offense (317 YPG), and #12 in scoring offense (37 PPG). Backup QB Preston Stone will be given the keys to the car this season and he showed some flashes of promise in limited action LY. The WR group is very deep but they will certainly miss #1 target Rashee Rice who had a monster campaign in 2022 (96, 1,355, 10 TD). The RB unit is loaded as they bring back their top-three including Tyler Lavine (642, 10 TD) and they add Jaylan Knighton from YOUR Miami Hurricanes who had over 1,100 rushing yards and 40 receptions during his time in Coral Gables. The OL should be excellent as they boast over 120 career starts and return four starters. We expect this to be a very potent offense.
The defense let them down LY as they had their worst performance in many respects since 2017 by allowing 204 YPG on the ground (#120 FBS) and 34 PPG (#119). The Mustangs return eight starters on defense but will be without their top-four tacklers from a season ago. The LB unit looks like it could be a problem area but at least they added some Power 5 size and talent on the defensive line. The secondary appears to be the strength of the stop unit as they return the majority of starters whilst adding a lot of talent thru the portal including safety Jonathan McGill (#2 tackles Stanford LY). We’ll call for the Mustangs to be improved on this side of the football as it’s not impossible to think that former Liberty DC Scott Symons will work some magic with this group in year two.
Things look just fine as there’s continuity across the board. It was especially important to retain punter Ryan Bujcevski (43.7, 41.0 net LY).
Overall – They’ve got a pair of nasty non-conference road games to deal with (Sooners, TCU) but Louisiana Tech and Prairie View A&M ** should be BLOWOUT CITY. They miss Tulane and UTSA in AAC action which is a yuuuge bonus.
** thank goodness it’s not Prairie View Tech
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Rice (Nov 4)
This will be the Mustangs’ 3rd road test in four weeks and Rice is gonna be an improved bunch this season. It might be a decent spot to sprinkle on the home dog playing an in-state rival. DEGENERATE NATION will note that the home team is 12-3 ATS L15 in the series.
Season Win Total
Market consensus June 26
Over 8 -165
Under 8 +145
With road trips to Oklahoma and TCU it’s not gonna be easy to get to nine wins. The good news is that their conference assignments are really soft as a whole. If you like the ‘over’ we recommend taking the flat ‘8’ at around -165 as opposed to an ‘8.5’ in the +110 area. That way, if they finish 8-4, you push and live to fight another day. Seven wins seems very unlikely.
The Mustangs rolled to an undefeated season in 1982 behind the PONY EXPRESS backfield consisting of the great Eric Dickerson and Craig James. They tied WOO PIG (17-17) in the final week of the regular season and defeated the Pitt Panthers and future Hall of Fame QB DAN MARINO in the Sugar Bowl (W 7-3). SMU finished the season with an impressive record of 11-0-1.
SMU is gonna be a handful in the retooled AAC. The offense will be fantastic assuming that they get similar QB play to last season and it’ll be up to the defense to get some key stops and force some turnovers. The Mustangs have a buttery-soft conference docket and we think they’ll find a way to play for all the AAC marbles in early December! PONY UP, baby!