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SMU Mustangs NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2013-14 Preview (American Athletic Conference) SMU Mustangs

June Jones is an established coach and when he left Hawaii for SMU big things were expected. After a disastrous 1-11 start the Mustangs have played .500 or better each season since, participating in bowl games the last 4 seasons – winning 3.

SMU Mustangs
Coach: June Jones
2012 Record: 7-6
Odds of winning BCS Championship: +2000 (Field)

Now they are leaving Conference USA for the experiment that is the American Athletic Conference. A stellar introductory season is not expected given the state of the program though.

As Jones is an “offense guy” Hawaii and SMU have generally been very good on that side of the ball especially throwing it. Last year they dropped off dramatically in that area not even ranking in the top half of teams nationally in that category.

The defense actually wound up carrying them, especially in their bowl victory over a good Fresno State team, but you can bet Jones will be working hard to get things back on track offensively this season.

It just might be a struggle even for a noted offensive mind like him.

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Senior QB Garrett Gilbert is a classic transfer story. He wasn’t going to be the guy at Texas so he transferred to a place where he could play and improve his NFL stock after being highly touted as a recruit. SMU seemed like a great fit for him but last year he just wasn’t as efficient throwing the ball as you would expect from a QB in Jones’ system.

He completed just 53% of his passes with only a 15/15 TD/INT ratio. If he is not better than the Mustangs are sunk because the quality of defenses in their new league should be higher than what they are used to.

It would be helpful if the Mustangs had a solid ground game but that seems unlikely given that Zach Line(another transfer), the second leading rusher in program history (behind Eric Dickerson) has graduated.

Also not helping is that the line returns just 2 starters . They are trying to replace Line with another Longhorns castoff in RB Traylon Shead who played a year in junior college before matriculating to SMU.

Shead has looked good on the practice field but will need to produce in games in the fall.

Surprise, last year SMU had the third best scoring defense in C-USA and was #1 in the conference against the run. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

On the flip side they were #11/#109 against the pass which is why it is a bit of a mixed bag that all the starters returning from the unit are in the back seven. Teams from the former Big East are generally pretty balanced on offense so SMU will have to find some linemen that can stuff the run and hope that experience will help a secondary that was torched at times last season.

C-USA was a passing league so those numbers could be a little inflated – maybe.

2013-14 Record Projection: 3-9

Unfortunately I think this is going to be a down year for SMU.

The defense is likely to take a big step back this season and I am not sure the offense is ready to pick up the slack. QB Gilbert would need to have a super efficient season and I am just not sure he has it in him.

He does have a couple of starting wideouts returning but it might not be enough if the ground game doesn’t produce. Also not helping matters is a tough schedule. The non-conference is probably a 1-3 deal with games against Texas Tech and @Texas A&M and @TCU (plus a visit by Montana State). Even if they can split those there are at most three victories in their AAC slate as they have some tough home and road games and will be facing some unfamiliar opponents.

It doesn’t look very promising right now and this is probably a team to forget when it comes to wagering.

2013 Mustangs Schedule

AUG 30 – Texas Tech
SEP 7 – Montana State
SEP 21 – @Texas A&M
SEP 28 – @TCU
OCT 5 – Rutgers
OCT 19 – @Memphis
OCT 26 – Temple
NOV 9 – @Cincinnati
NOV 16 – Connecticut
NOV 23 – @South Florida
NOV 29 – @Houston

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About The Wiesguy

The Wiesguy is a newcomer to the handicapping scene. Hailing from Toronto, Canada he is always sweet on the underdogs and you can often find his thoughts, musings and picks at moneydogs.blogspot.com.