Scouting the running game: This is what Army does. The Black Knights average 260.3 yards per game, ranked 10th in the Football Bowl Subdivision. FB Jared Hassin averages 80.1 yards per game. SMU's Zach Line gives the Mustangs a rushing presence, too, as he leads C-USA in rushing.
Scouting the passing game: Yes, SMU employs the Run and Shoot, but it has been inconsistent behind sophomore triggerman Kyle Padron all the season. The Mustangs managed just one touchdown in the league championship game and two interceptions killed potential scoring drives. SMU will focus on fixing the offense during its month off.
Scouting the run defense: SMU's defense is banged up, though key players such as linebacker Youri Yenga should return by the bowl game. SMU does have the experience of playing Navy's option earlier this season. SMU and Army both allow about 150 yards per game on the ground, ranking in the middle of the pack in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Scouting the pass defense: SMU cornerback Sterling Moore again injured his left knee during the Conference USA title game, so it's good news for the Mustangs that Army averages only 78 yards per game, last in the FBS. Army is only giving up 190.1 yards per game in the air. SMU averages 273.8 yards per game.
Scouting the special teams: SMU kicker Matt Szymnaski has been hampered all season by a groin injury, but he is a long-range threat. The Mustangs have shored up their kickoff and punt return coverage over the course of the season.
Intangibles: SMU gets to play at its home stadium, perhaps an advantage. But Army is playing in its first bowl since 1996 and will draw plenty of support from Texas, as the team and its fan base are excited to be bowling again.
--LB Youri Yenga (groin) is probable.
--CB Sterling Moore (knee) is questionable.