With SMU releasing the 2017 schedule we can look forward to a Mustangs New Year’s Six Bowl bid right? Let’s take a look at the schedule for the upcoming season.
9/2 vs Stephen F. Austin
9/9 vs North Texas
9/16 @ TCU - “Battle for the Iron Skillet”
9/23 vs Arkansas St
9/30 vs UConn
10/7 @ Houston
10/21 @ Cincinnati
10/27 vs Tulsa
11/4 vs UCF (Homecoming)
11/11 @ Navy
11/18 @ Memphis
11/25 vs Tulane
What stands out
1) Six of the team’s seven home games are back to back games. This will be an advantage as the team won’t have to worry about extensive travel out of Dallas for much of the season.
2) All of the toughest games are on the road. Traveling to Fort Worth, Houston, Cincinnati to start their road slate will be a tall task for a team looking to secure a bowl bid.
3) October will determine how the momentum swings for the Mustangs this season. Getting a road victory over Houston to start off the month, and capping it off with a big road win against Tulsa’s high-powered offense can help secure a bowl bid even with a 6-6 record.
Three games to watch
While the October slate will be a daunting road, these are the three games that will determine whether SMU goes to a big time bowl game, or are left struggling to finish at .500.
10/7 @ Houston - The Cougars had dreams of a New Years Six Bowl last year, but quickly came down to reality with a loss to SMU on the road. The defense came to play and shut down the Cougars offense. Can they do the same for a second year in a row against new head coach Major Applewhite.
11/18 @ Memphis - The Mustangs got their doors blown off in a 51-7 beating at home last year. Senior QB Riley Ferguson picked the SMU secondary apart, throwing four touchdowns on the night. With two key starters to replace this could be another long game for the secondary. The Mustangs will need to control the time of possession to have a chance at the upset.
11/11 @ Navy - 75 Points. The Mustangs defense gave up 75 points to Navy. The game started off good for SMU as the defense held the Midshipmen to just 21 points with three minutes left in the first half. Then the rails came off as Navy scored eight unanswered touchdowns on their way to a 75-31 win. SMU will be looking to spoil another potential NY6 Bowl run for Navy, and may pull off the upset if they get off to a hot start on offense.
How will it all play out?
The Mustangs have an easy start to the season, and could be 4-1, potentially 5-0 if they can get a big win against TCU. Having seven home games will certainly play in their favor, and if the defense can hold up as the season winds down, the Mustang faithful may be shopping for bowl tickets.