2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 107 SMU Mustangs
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the SMU Mustangs
No. 107: SMU Mustangs
SMU Mustangs Prespring Status
The Mustangs had a solid season – highlighted by a big win over Houston – but missed on two late chances to go bowling. So, is it possible to improve a little bit under head coach Chad Morris and get bowl bound? There’s plenty to get excited about, with eight starters returning on offense to ramp things up after a breakthrough year that cranked up the passing attack. Now that Morris and his staff are hitting their stride in Year Three – or, at least they’re supposed to – can SMU take that proverbial next step up and improve by three wins again? If there’s more consistently positive play in all three phases, then yeah.
SMU Mustangs Biggest Issue
The defensive interior needs to be worked on. The run defense wasn’t all that great anyway, and the pass rush was a bit light. Now the Mustangs have to replace Zelt Minor and Deon Green on the inside of the line, two capable veteran defenders. For a team that gave up 36 points and 453 yards per game, losing those two, and five of the top 12 tacklers, isn’t a plus.
SMU Mustangs Biggest Positive
Get ready for the passing game to be even more dangerous. Sophomore-to-be quarterback Ben Hicks threw 15 picks, and he wasn’t accurate enough, but he cranked up almost 3,000 yards for an improved O. The top five receivers, and 13 of the 14 players who caught passes return, including Courtland Sutton and his 76 grabs for 1,246 yards and ten scores. It’ll be bombs away.
Really, Why Are The SMU Mustangs Ranked Here?
Just how much better as the Mustangs going to be? They get a ton of talent back, but can the interceptions slow down? Can the defense improve after struggling so much over the second half of the season? The 38-16 Houston win wasn’t a mirage, but it was a shocker for a defense that allowed 31 points or more in eight of the last nine games. Experience is one thing, but is the talent there? Get ready for plenty of shootouts.