The SMU Mustangs are sure to field a competitive team in every game this season. With the emphasis on fast as their roster indicates, what do the SMU season predictions actually look like?
SMU Season Predictions: Predicting the Game-By-Game Results
Using groupthink, College Football Network analysts have painstakingly gone through every game for every team in the American Athletic Conference and across the country.
Picking these games straight up with a projected score using the rosters as up-to-date as the last spring practice, how do the SMU predictions look for 2023?
Week 1 – SMU vs. Louisiana Tech: Win, 35-33
Opening the season with a bang of a non-conference game, SMU gets things started with Louisiana Tech. These programs know each other well despite matching up with one another just six times in history. Last playing in 2021, the Mustangs were also a two-point victor and this year’s team looks poised to recreate that feat.
The Bulldogs have an interesting roster built through the transfer portal this season, mainly with QB Hank Bachmeier. He gives them a chance to win in just about every game and should be able to keep Louisiana Tech in this game with the amount of points that should be scored.
However, there is just enough firepower with the skill players that SMU brings to the table to get the advantage in outright talent for this one to go the other way.
Week 2 – SMU @ Oklahoma: Loss, 23-33
SMU heads to Norman for a meeting with the Oklahoma Sooners in Week 2. A tough non-conference slate heats up with this matchup as its fever pitch against Dillon Gabriel and the Sooners.
Gabriel, a left-handed gunslinger, is capable of hitting receivers anywhere on the field and stretching the SMU defense out vertically. In the end, Oklahoma’s speed on defense should be able to keep up with SMU in this one to narrowly edge out their equine opponent.
Week 3 – SMU vs. Prairie View A&M: Win, 42-9
Finally some relief in Week 3 for the Mustangs. Prairie View A&M is no cupcake to most teams, but SMU matches up stylistically well against the Panthers. This is a matchup for SMU to press the gas early and get out to a big lead, not losing focus of their current opponent while maintaining vision on TCU.
Iron out the kinks and avoid injury here; SMU is in the clear after Week 4.
Week 4 – SMU @ TCU: Loss, 24-30
By all accounts, this is a winnable game for the Mustangs. As great as the TCU story was last season, they lose far too many pieces to be considered a lock to win this game against SMU.
Sure, Sonny Dykes knows a thing or two about the SMU roster, but it’s been completely overhauled and will be able to run with the Horned Frogs in September. Though our prediction has a one-touchdown victory by TCU, that’s heavily favoring home-field advantage, and this one should come down to the wire.
Week 5 – SMU vs. Charlotte: Win, 28-21
Charlotte enters AAC play this season with a ton of questions. Of those, SMU should have answers for them and comfortably handle the 49ers in Year 1 of the Biff Poggi era.
That being said, Charlotte does have some Power Five transfers coming in and could make a game of this one. It’s a sneaky first game of conference play this season.
Week 7 – SMU @ ECU: Win, 31-21
ECU is set to look drastically different on offense this season. The Pirates lost their half-decade-long starter at quarterback and one of the conference’s top running backs this offseason.
With that in mind, SMU has the speed to stretch out the ECU defense and should feast on their inexperienced back seven.
Week 8 – SMU @ Temple: Win, 33-28
The Temple Owls will be a high-flying unit this year. They should be able to keep up with what SMU does on offense with no trouble.
However, Temple’s defense is lacking a potential star or even a middle-of-the-field defender that’s striking fear into opponents at this point. That opens the door for SMU to outlast the Owls in Philadelphia.
Week 9 – SMU vs. Tulsa: Win, 30-17
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane are an interesting team on paper. With their inexperienced quarterback comes a higher ceiling as we don’t quite know what to expect from Braylon Braxton. However, SMU lines up against their size very well, defeating any taller backs with their separation skills outside.
Tulsa makes it interesting but the speed of the Mustangs is too much to contend with.
Week 10 – SMU @ Rice: Win, 30-19
Rice brought in JT Daniels at quarterback and have an interesting set of receivers at his disposal. However, this Rice team lost talent in the transfer portal and don’t have an answer on defense for SMU’s field-stretching ability.
It’s a sneaky game ahead of a rough two-game stretch. Watch out for Rice DB Gabriel Taylor in this one.
Week 11 – SMU vs. North Texas: Win, 31-29
The North Texas team should be fast in 2023. SMU should be just a bit faster. In their 42nd meeting all-time, that SMU speed difference is ultimately the Mean Green’s undoing.
There’s a certain loss of Larry Nixon on the North Texas defense that should be just too much to overcome. His departure in the portal leaves a hole in the middle of the field and a hole that SMU can exploit for a close victory.
Week 12 – SMU @ Memphis: Loss, 26-27
If either Memphis or SMU wants a shot at the AAC Championship Game, they must win this matchup. Our analysts weren’t quite split, but they were fixated on this game as the pivotal third-place game in the conference.
Memphis ultimately got the advantage in our picks as having more points scored in this matchup overall. Still, no matter what happens in the 10 games prior, this matchup against Memphis should give us a potential candidate for the AAC Championship should anything happen to Tulane or UTSA.
Week 13 – SMU vs. Navy: Win, 27-14
Ending the season with a very winnable game, it would be wise of SMU’s offense to slow down in this one. Take it easy. Play to Navy’s speed.
Keeping their defense off the field will do wonders, especially if they’ll be asked to play in the AAC Championship Game against one of the top dogs in the conference the week prior.