According to Phil Steele, SMU’s schedule ranks #82, ahead of neighbors UNT (#92) and TCU (#84). If you consider their opponents’ winning percentage, then SMU is ranked #53. SMU plays 8 teams in 2008 who went to a bowl game in 2007. That’s not an easy start for the June Jones era in Dallas. Also on tap for SMU is a trip to Lubbock to face a team some are giving preseason buzz to for a run at the Big Twelve Title and maybe greater. Without further ado, here is SMU’s schedule.
@ Rice, August 29, 2008, 7 PM
Only once did Rice hold a team to less than 29 points, and that was FCS Nicholls State. Rice will be looking to get better on defense, but the offense returns 9 starters.
Texas State, September 6, 2008, 7 PM
The Bobcats are a member of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (you know, IAA), and this should be a good game for the Mustangs to work out some kinks before they go to Lubbock.
@ Texas Tech, September 13, 2008 6 PM
Texas Tech returns their top offensive play-makers, QB Graham Harrell and WR Michael Crabtree who is from Dallas. Crabtree and Harrell both should be on most people’s Heisman list. Most people refer to Coach Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense as a spread, but it contains elements of the Run and Shoot. In the Air Raid, one can see where the Spread meets the Run and Shoot.
TCU, September 20, 2008, 7 PM
With 14 starters back, the Frogs appear headed for another bowl game. The offense should be much better as it improved under the guidance of Andy Dalton. Dalton became TCU’s primary weapon at times last year with the injuries to RB’s Joseph Turner and Aaron Brown. Both backs seem to be back and ready to go. Defense is led by Jason Phillips and Stephen Hodge and should be another stellar TCU defense.
@ Tulane, September 25, 2008, 7 PM
The Green Wave return 15 starters from a team that was 4-8. Gone is Tulane’s number two Career Rushing Leader, Matt Forte, who ran for 2127 yards and 23 TD’s in 2008 including 342 against SMU. The Green Wave return 4 of their 5 top tacklers from a year ago.
@ UCF, October 4, 2008, 2:30 PM
After rushing for 2567 yards and 29 TD’s, UCF’s Kevin Smith entered the draft, and the feature back duties will be in someone else’s hands. The Knights won last year’s C-USA title beating Tulsa in the Championship Game 44-25. UCF returns their top 7 tacklers from 2007 and a total of 9 starters on defense. The offense will spend its time trying to find an identity with the departure of Smith and QB Kyle Israel.
Tulsa, October 11, 2008, 7 PM
Tulsa had basically the best offense in the country last year with about 543 yards of total offense per game. It should be a battle against one of the best hurry up, no huddle, Spread Offense gurus, Offensive Coordinator Gus Malzahn at Tulsa, versus the premier Run and Shoot Offense guru, June Jones from SMU. First team 60 wins.
Houston, October 18, 2008, 7 PM
The Cougars had another good year in 2007 going 8-5 earning Coach Art Briles a shot at being the head coach at a BCS program, Baylor. Replacing him is Kevin Sumlin who was Co Offensive Coordinator at Oklahoma. Summlin brought with him Dana Holgorsen from Texas Tech to create a high octane attack of his own. Holgorsen and Sumlin inherit QB Case Keenum who is a natural play-maker for the Cougars. Houston returns 7 on a defense that gave up just 366 total yards per game.
@ Navy, October 25, 2008, 2:30 PM
In Paul Johnson’s final year as head coach, Navy was the best among the service academies (5 straight) defeating Air Force (31-20) and Army (38-3) along with the long awaited victory over Notre Dame (46-44, 3 OT). Johnson moved on to Georgia Tech, and now Navy will turn to Ken Niumatalolo. His defense should be solid returning 8 starters, but they need to improve after giving up 36.4 points per game and 439 total yards per game. Niumatalolo doesn’t have to replace QB Kaipo-Noa Naheaku-Enhada who accounted for 1786 total yards and 20 TD’s.
Memphis, November 8, 2008, 2 PM
The Tigers have big holes to fill at QB and RB. If they can find someone to get the ball to their WR’s, Memphis could be a surprise contender. The WR’s are deep and talented, but the Tigers have to find a help as they lose Martin Hankins (3220 yards, 25 TD’s) and RB Joseph Doss (806 yards, 5 TD’s). On defense, Memphis returns 8 starters including 4 of their top 6 tacklers from a year ago.
@ UTEP, November 15, 2008, 8:05 PM
Last year the Miners were 4-8, and in 2008 they return 5 starters on offense and 7 starters on defense. Returning QB Trevor Vittatoe passed for 3101 yards with 25 TD’s and only 7 INT’s. Vittatoe will need all the help he can get as the top two RB’s from last year are gone leaving UTEP with with a battle between Sr. Terrell Jackson and So. Donald Buckram. While the defense returns 7 starters, the Miners hope to leave the numbers behind. UTEP gave up 302 yards passing per game along with 203 yards rushing per game.
Southern Miss, November 29, 2008, 2 PM
The Golden Eagles just return 10 starters for new head coach Larry Fedora but one of them is RB Damion Fletcher (1586 yards, 15 TD’s). Southern Miss will have to replace its QB and 8 starters on defense and should consider this a rebuilding year using a lot of young, inexperienced players.
Conference USA Championship Game, December 6, 2008