Matt Visinsky

2016 SMU football bold predictions

The PonyStampede staff makes bold predictions for SMU football's 2016 season.

Billy: SMU has two 1,000 yard rushers

While SMU fans won't support Matt Davis rushing for 1,000 yards, I think there's a good chance he does. Davis was shut down for some games last year as defenses did a nice job of containing him. An improvement in that production will have him top the 1,000 yard mark. It's his senior year as well so why not have him hit the century mark?

Xavier Jones is also more prepared the tote the rock in a feature back role with his added weight. While SMU has added more backs that can produce, I really think Jones will produce in a big way. If SMU manages his carries though, that might hinder him hitting this. That being said, if SMU's offensive line can improve their push, it should mean a big year for Jones. 

Patrick: Jordan Wyatt transitions well to corner and leads the team in interceptions

SMU needs improved corner play and it’s going to put two freshmen (Eric Sutton and Christian Davis) out there right away. Wyatt started seven games at safety in 2015, but struggled making the right reads and taking good angles.

Wyatt moved to corner this spring and it’s a more natural fit for him. He's one of the faster guys on the team, has dependable ball skills and good range. At corner, he won’t have to worry about reading the quarterback or receiver’s routes and taking proper angles to the ball in the open field as often. Instead, he can just focus on covering one receiver or one zone. Wyatt will need to bring it consistently to hold off Sutton and Davis. If he does bring it and is a starter all year, he should be a dependable cover corner who will lead the team in passes defended thanks to his size (6-0) and ball skills.

Hatts: Zelt Minor will lead SMU in sacks

The talent is there but for a variety of reasons including attitude, effort and injury, it has not come together for Minor in his time at SMU. One way to bring out the best in a player however is to have the staff repeatedly mention all offseason they need Minor to step up. Couple that with the fact this is his last go around on the Hilltop, SMU might finally get the Zelt Minor they have been waiting for. The breakout season begins with Minor staying healthy as his career high for games played in a season was 9 just a year ago. He finished with two tackles for a loss and one sack but found himself buried on the depth chart. With a young defensive line behind him, thought, the opportunities are there to produce and it’s on him to take advantage. I expect with this sort of pressure behind him to go with the push he has received from the staff, Minor might actually deliver for SMU this season. 

Scott: SMU will win at least one of their games against the three ranked teams they face this year

The Mustangs go up against three AP Top 25 teams this season in Houston (15), TCU (13), and Baylor (23), and they have a legitimate shot to win at least one of these games.  Houston is a home game, but the Cougars are an extremely tough team, so this is their least winnable game in my eyes.  Then there are the Big 12 teams: Baylor and TCU.  SMU's game against the Horned Frogs is at Ford Stadium, and in a rivalry game like this one, anything is possible (especially considering how close the Mustangs played TCU last season).  In my eyes, the Mustangs most winnable game is against Baylor in Waco.  The Bears are a team trending downwards on and off the field, and there are several questions about the team heading into the start of the season. If SMU can force a number of turnovers, they'll have a chance to pull the major upset.  A win in Waco would give SMU a much-needed confidence boost for the rest of the season.  

Demo: SMU wins seven games

This feels like an incredibly un-bold bold prediction, but I don't think anyone could argue that it isn't.  After the SMU football we've gotten for the past two season's seven games seems like a lot. Furthermore, I predict that five of those come in conference play.

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