While the SMU Mustangs will be testing the waters of the Big East for the first time in 2013, the team figures to be well tested before they play their first conference game. The Mustangs have a rigorous non-conference schedule that will take them around the state of Texas against some of the premier programs in the state. Will their early-season slate bury the team quickly in 2013?
The road starts out tough as SMU open the season against the Texas Tech Red Raiders and their new head coach looking to make a splash, Kliff Kingsbury. Two games later, they travel to College Station to take on defending Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies who will be looking to roll to a BCS berth in 2013. The following week, SMU is on the road again to face off with the TCU Horned Frogs who will undoubtedly take a step forward in their second run through the Big 12 next season.
That is three games in the first four contests for SMU against programs on the rise looking to take it to the next level. Meanwhile, SMU has questions all over the field and are unsure how steady they will be entering a new conference. This non-conference gauntlet will likely show them just how much work they have to do as it puts a glaring spotlight on any and all deficiencies. That will be a major blow to any possible confidence the Mustangs would have liked to build heading into their Big East opener against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on October 5.
Every program in the country would like to get out to a strong start to the season, but SMU has scheduled a very tough non-conference slate that could hurt them in the win column. Can the Mustangs steal a couple early season games and pick up solid momentum into their first Big East season?