SMU is on the cusp of something big. The coaches believe it. The players feel it. Even the college football landscape is beginning to take notice. And 2023 might be the year where it comes together and the Mustangs win 10 games for only the second time in roughly 40 years. A talented roster bolstered by the transfer portal and a favorable schedule provides a road map for SMU to win a conference title and play in a New Year Six bowl.
2022 record: 7-6
2023 record prediction: 10-2
BIGGEST GAME – at TCU on Sept. 23
The Iron Skillet is one of the most storied intrastate rivalries in Texas. The layers of the 2023 contest are juicy. Sonny Dykes vs. his old program, and former offensive coordinator in Rhett Lashlee. Preston Stone vs. Chandler Morris in a heavyweight bout between former DFW standouts. Dallas vs. Fort Worth. SMU wants to get where TCU is – in the national conversation. A win over the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth would set the Ponies up for a real run at a NY6 Bowl appearance. The Horned Frogs start Big 12 play a week earlier on the road against Houston.
TRAP GAME – at Memphis on Nov. 18
The AAC schedule sets up perfectly for the Mustangs to cruise into the championship game. SMU figures to be favored in each of its conference matchups, but Memphis could be the lone exemption based on how the regular season unfolds. Going on the road is never easy. The game is two weeks prior to the AAC championship game, which could cause a distraction for SMU. The Mustangs built a reputation as a team that fades during the Dykes era. They played better down the stretch last year without much pressure. We’ll find out how SMU handles expectations throughout 2023.
POTENTIAL UPSET – at Oklahoma on Sept. 9
SMU won’t get many upset opportunities in 2023. The Mustangs might be favored in 10 of their 12 games. The only teams better, at least on paper, are Oklahoma and TCU. The Sooners failed to reach a bowl game in Year 1 under head coach Brett Venables. They should be improved enough to compete for a Big 12 crown in 2023, but SMU might catch them at the perfect time with a Week 2 showdown. The high-flying Mustangs can take advantage of a shaky Oklahoma secondary to score enough points to put a real scare into the Sooners.
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