Sources: SMU's move to ACC all but official

Courtesy of SMU Athletics

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The resurrection of SMU football is nearly complete as sources confirm to Dave Campbell’s that the Mustangs will be announced officially as a new member of the ACC after a vote passed by existing members to add three new programs. SMU is joining the ACC alongside Cal and Stanford. The Mustangs currently play in the AAC, which lost powers Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF to the Big 12 prior to the 2023 season. The Mustangs are now securely in a Power Four Conference as the Pac-12 fades into memory. 

SMU is reportedly willing to forego media rights revenue for seven years to join the conference with the knowledge that powerful donors can make up the lost money through donations. The Mustangs also hope playing in a bigger conference results in more tickets sold, which would also offset any loss of revenue. 

SMU was on top of the college football world as recently as the 1980s before the famed Death Penalty was handed out to the Mustangs from the NCAA over violations such as payment to players. Flash-forward 40 years and NIL is one of the reasons SMU feels on the doorstep of returning to national prominence. They’ve only posted one 10-win season since 1984 and that was in 2019. 

SMU was left out of the Big 12 when the Southwest Conference disbanded after the 1995 season. The Ponies worked their way up from the WAC to Conference USA and then to the American Conference throughout the last 25 years. From June Jones to Sonny Dykes and now to Rhett Lashlee, SMU has laid the groundwork for a fairy tale comeback story. The program has posted a winning record for four straight years. A fifth, which is expected in 2023, would become the program’s longest such streak since the 1980s. 

SMU starts its last season in the AAC with hopes of claiming a conference title on the way out the door. The Mustangs don’t play betting favorites UTSA or Tulane in the regular season and might end up favored in 10 of their 12 regular season games. 

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