Best Case, Worst Case for 2024: SMU Mustangs

Graphic by Dave Campbell's Texas Football

Share or Save for Later

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Save to Favorites

With spring football and the portal movement slowing down (fingers crossed) forecasting the 2024 season becomes an easier proposition. The 13 FBS programs in the Lone Star State share a common feeling heading into June: Hope. New faces and new opportunities provide a fresh slate for rosters and coaching staff. 

The 2024 season is a new day for the Great State. Texas reunites with Texas A&M in the SEC and SMU joins the P4 as ACC members. But what are the best- and worst-case scenarios for each team in the upcoming season? We’ll breakdown at each one.

Previous best/worst case scenario pieces for 2024: Texas | Texas A&M | UTSA | Texas State | TCU | Rice | Texas Tech 


2023 record: 11-3, AAC champions, loss to Boston College in Fenway Bowl 
2024 schedule 
Aug. 24                 at Nevada         
Aug. 31                 Houston Christian      
Sept. 6                  BYU       
Sept. 21                TCU      
Sept. 28                Florida State   
Oct. 5                   at Louisville     
Oct. 19                 at Stanford       
Oct. 26                 at Duke                
Nov. 2                   Pitt         
Nov. 16                 Boston College              
Nov. 23                 at Virginia          
Nov. 30                 Cal

Best case for 2024: No team in the country reinforced the trenches more than SMU since the end of 2023. And that’s sound strategy. The Ponies are moving from the middleweight to heavyweight by joining the ACC, and that move requires big bodies. Because as they say in boxing, “big guys beat up little guys. It’s why you weigh in.” SMU added 20 transfers through the portal with 13 playing offensive or defensive line. All 13 are from Power Five programs. 

The Mustangs should start the season 2-0 with games at Nevada and home to Houston Christian. Business picks up in Week 3 with a home game with BYU followed by more contests at Ford Stadium against TCU and Florida State. If SMU can start 3-0 and then split with TCU and Florida State, Rhett Lashlee’s bunch will be ranked and riding high into the meat of the ACC schedule. One of the biggest questions in college football heading into 2024 is what constitutes a successful season for SMU. Our guess is that the best-case scenario is eight or nine wins while flirting with conference championship contention. 

Worst case for 2024: The flip side to the optimism is the results of 2023. SMU was 11-0 against the G5 en route to the program’s first conference title in 40 years. But the Ponies were 0-3 against the Power Five with road losses to Oklahoma and TCU, and to Boston College, in what was a road game at the Fenway Bowl in Boston. SMU hung with Oklahoma and has beaten TCU in the recent past, so the team has proven capable of hanging with anyone during a one-game scenario. But what happens when every week is that type of physical tilt?

SMU undoubtedly improved on the offensive and defensive lines thanks to the portal and continued development of the linemen on campus. That might not be enough, however. The four-game stretch that starts with BYU on Sept. 4 and ends with a trip to Louisville on Oct. 5 could define the season. If the Mustangs can split, they’ll be ecstatic. Even winning one of those games would be a good sign. An 0-4 mark in that run isn’t out of the question, though, and entering the 7th game at 2-4 won’t help confidence in the locker room. 

This article is available to our Digital Subscribers.
Click "Subscribe Now" to see a list of subscription offers.
Already a Subscriber? Sign In to access this content.

Sign In
Don't Miss Any Exclusive Coverage!

We've been the Bible of Texas football fans for 64 years. By joining the DCTF family you'll gain access to all of our exclusive content and have our magazines mailed to you!