Crystal Ball Gazing: The SMU Mustangs

"On this play just try not to throw it to the guys that aren't in our colors." "But Red and Blue make Purple, coach!" - Cooper Neill

The Spring football look ahead series rolls on, as we look at our Skillet-less rivals to the East: The SMU Mustangs

After one of TCU's inconveniently situated byes, the Frogs will close the month of September at home against the despised SMU Mustangs.

2012 was a very inconsistent season for the Mustangs, who started off the season with a pair of stink bombs at Baylor and at home against A&M, before monsoon season hit for TCU week and the 'Stangs managed to claw in close late thanks to a couple of big plays after 30 minutes of offensive futility. Only once in the regular season did SMU manage to win back to back games (over Houston and Memphis), while only once did they lose back to back games (A&M and TCU) which translated in a 6-6 regular season record and a bowl in Hawaii. Anytime you're SMU and you're in a bowl it's a good season these days, but still there was grumbling as the Mustangs went 1-4 against former SWC members, even suffering a blowout loss to Rice- which I find hilarious, and ensures that the Mayor's Cup stays in Houston for a long time to come. SMU won't have a chance to retrieve the cup as they're off to a new conference this year: The American Athletic Conference. In 2013 SMU will battle against teams like Louisville, South Florida and Cincinnati that were actually good during their times in Conference USA, and they'll be doing it with a very young roster.

SMU on Offense

Returning Starters: 6

Gone from the SMU backfield is danger-man Zach Line, the most consistent weapon on the SMU offense, as well as receiver Darius Johnson who is hoping to stick with the Atlanta Falcons. Returning are noted Texas transplant and interception machine Garrett Gilbert and three of his receivers, meaning that SMU's ability to keep Gilbert upright and clean in the pocket will be more important than ever before. Sadly for the mustangs, SMU returns just two starters from last years offensive line, which means that Gilbert is likely to be left running for his life or rushing his throws to avoid pressure. Bad things tend to happen for Gilbert when he's pressured, so SMU should be very afraid of any team with a fast and talented defensive line... just like the one TCU has! This game has a high likelihood of offensive futility for the ponies, despite new offensive coordinator and air raid innovator Hal Mumme, so they'll have to rest their hopes on the defense.

SMU on Defense

Returning Starters: 3

Oh. It turns out SMU is tied for 117th in returning starters this year, which means that SMU will be breaking in a new offensive line as well as almost an entirely new front seven ondefense as they head into the American Athletic Conference. That's right, every lineman and linebacker who started for SMU last year is gone. In case you were curious, the largest margin of victory for TCU over SMU is 57 points, set in 2000. Patterson isn't generally the type to run it up on someone, but given the overtime loss and subsequent rant that followed last time SMU came to Fort Worth I wouldn't be surprised if that record is challenged. If this isn't the highest scoring game of the year for TCU's offense the Frogs will have put on a Georgia Tech-Cumberland-esque hurting on someone else (hopefully Baylor).

Early Guess

I think by this point in the article you can tell where this is headed. I'm a huge fan of returning starters on the lines and linebacker as a method to predict success, and SMU has two on one side and none on the other. TCU matches up very well on both sides of the ball with SMU and should have little trouble doing whatever it wants to do on both sides of the ball.

If you want to relive the monsoon game from last year and the return of the Iron Skillet to its rightful home, the full game is available right here!

2012: TCU at SMU (via FrogsOWar)

Well... almost entirely. If you watched this one on TV you'll remember SMU's first series was cut out, but they didn't accomplish anything.

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