Matt Visinsky

2016 SMU Football Season-Long Predictions

The Pony Stampede staff shares its season-long SMU football predictions.

Billy

SMU at North Texas: W
SMU at Baylor: L
SMU vs. Liberty: W
SMU vs. TCU: L
SMU at Temple: L
SMU at Tulsa: W
SMU vs. Houston: L
SMU at Tulane: W
SMU vs. Memphis: L
SMU at East Carolina: W
SMU at South Florida: L
SMU vs. Navy: W
Record: 6-6

There's no doubt that around here, I'm an optimist. Having SMU go 6-6 when I really look at it, doesn't seem crazy in my mind though. Outside of Navy, there's really not a game that I predicted SMU to win that would really shock people I feel like. While Tulsa will again have a potent offense, SMU will too and the Mustangs' improvement on defense will push them over the top there. One game that I really thought might go SMU's way in my predictions was Baylor with everything going on, but on the road, SMU still loses by two touchdowns, but it's certainly competitive.

I think Tulane is still trending downwards and ECU will as well. ECU is difficult to go to, but SMU has worked on a lot of things including maturity this offseason and I think the veterans on this team will have them ready to go more than anything. Navy will be the culmination of two seasons of Chad Morris' turnaround at SMU and will lead them to a bowl berth and raise expectations going into Year 3. Most of this is based on improved pass rush, better decision making and attention to detail offensively, plus I think SMU is easily in the positive in the turnover margin this year. Should be a fun ride back to bowl eligibility.

Patrick

SMU at North Texas: W
SMU at Baylor: L
SMU vs. Liberty: W
SMU vs. TCU: L
SMU at Temple: L
SMU at Tulsa: W
SMU vs. Houston: L
SMU at Tulane: W
SMU vs. Memphis: L
SMU at East Carolina: L
SMU at South Florida: L
SMU vs. Navy: L
Record: 4-8

I have SMU at 4-8 and 2-6 in conference play. I think we’ll see more consistency for an entire game from the offense. The offense returns everyone important and there should be fewer missed assignments now that each player has had a year in the system. There’s better depth at receiver and running back as well. Defensively, there has to be some improvement, because it’s hard to get worse than 2015. I don’t think we’ll see SMU’s defense be truly effective because it will still give up 30-plus points per game, but it will be better.

I think the first two games of the season will be closer than most anticipate. There’s a lot of energy around North Texas with Seth Littrell and the Mean Green don’t like SMU. I’m not going to predict a win at Baylor, but I think we’ll see some kind of on-field effect from the offseason turmoil there. SMU will pull out a last-possession win in a track meet at Tulsa. Memphis loses a lot of important players, but they’ll still be tough to stop offensively. The one I’m wavering on is East Carolina – I think it’s possible for SMU to win that game and I don’t think the Pirates make a huge jump in Scottie Montgomery’s first year.

Scott: 5-7

SMU at North Texas: W
SMU at Baylor: W
SMU vs. Liberty: W
SMU vs. TCU: L
SMU at Temple: L
SMU at Tulsa: L
SMU vs. Houston: L
SMU at Tulane: W
SMU vs. Memphis: L
SMU at ECU: W
SMU vs. USF: L
SMU vs. Navy: L
Record: 5-7

There’s no doubt SMU will improve from their two-win season in 2015; the question is, just how much?  My upset pick of the season is an SMU win over Baylor in Waco.  I made the bold prediction earlier this week, so I’m sticking with it.  I think the Bears are in a lot more trouble than people think, and this could be an abysmal season for them with all that has been haunting them off the field.  For the most part however, there aren’t any surprises here.  The big difference from last season is SMU should win the games they are expected to win (ie: Liberty, North Texas).  This team is still young though, so there will be growing pains at times.  Overall, I’m predicting a 5-7 finish—just out of reach of a bowl game—but a big step forward from 2015.   

Hatts: 5-7

SMU at North Texas: W
SMU at Baylor: L
SMU vs. Liberty: W
SMU vs. TCU: L
SMU at Temple: L
SMU at Tulsa: W
SMU vs. Houston: L
SMU at Tulane: W
SMU vs. Memphis: L
SMU at ECU: W
SMU at USF: L
SMU vs. Navy: L
Record: 5-7

SMU still has a tough schedule this season and is likely a year away from challenging teams like TCU, Houston and Navy but the difference between last season and this one is SMU will beat the teams they are supposed to beat. It’s easy to forget that SMU was riding high with confidence last season after good performances against Baylor, North Texas and TCU. Then came a loss to James Madison and from it was straight downhill for the Mustangs from there. This loss seemed to hang with them and took a lot of the momentum away from the Mustangs start for the rest of the season. That won’t happen this year as I expect SMU to handle teams like North Texas and Liberty and keep that going with teams like Tulane and ECU. When it comes to looking at the teams SMU will struggle with this season, just about every one of them is going to be in the conversation for a conference championship. SMU will get there but the talent level is just a little too much to handle for SMU right now. They’ll be there soon though.

Demo

SMU at UNT W
SMU at Baylor: L
SMU vs. Liberty: W
SMU vs. TCU: L
SMU at Temple: L
SMU at Tulsa: W
SMU vs. Houston:  L
SMU at Tulane: W
SMU vs. Memphis: W
SMU at ECU: W
SMU vs. USF: W
SMU vs. Navy: L
Record: 7-5

SMU is going to be much better in 2016. They won’t become world beaters overnight, but they will be able to surprise a few teams they just couldn’t hang with a year ago—like Memphis (63-0) and USF (38-14). But they’ve also improved enough to win those games where they couldn’t seal the deal and watched teams slip away in the final moments. Last season SMU was right there with Tulsa (40-31) and ECU (49-28), and while those are all still loses by 11+ points SMU was competitive in those games until they weren’t (usually near the fourth quarter).  You could even say the same about their game with Houston (49-28). 


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