(Photo courtesy of SMU Athletics/American Athletic Conference).

SMU Mustangs Football: What's in Store in 2023?

Is SMU going to stampede its opponents this year? Will the Mustangs gallop their way to a bowl win? Things are looking good in the stable for the 2023 season. You'll find all things SMU here for the 2023-2024 season.

SMU Surprise Standout

Quarterback Preston Stone will be taking over as the starter this year. Tanner Mordecai, the former Mustang, transferred to Wisconsin so he can be a Badger. Will Preston stone his opponents, or will he be stoned? SMU's highest-ranked recruit ever will have a chance to finally prove himself. His broken collarbone last season limited his playing opportunities, but it is his time to shine in 2023. Will he do it?

Mustang Coach Corral

Head coach Rhett Lashlee will be back after making his season debut last year as the head honcho. His record so far is 7-6 as head coach, which leaves some room for improvement. It was Lashlee's first year leaving the offensive coordinator and quarterback coaching positions for the HC position.


Rhett Lashlee leads the stampede (Photo Courtesy of SMU Athletics).

There is also a sense of continuity in the coaching staff, with offensive coordinator Casey Woods and defensive coordinator Scott Symons remaining the same for the second year in a row. This is a chance for the coaching staff to learn and grow together.

7-6 is a bit of a fall from grace compared to the winning record of 8-4 in 2021. It is, however, right on par with the 7-3 record of 2020. Ideally, SMU can get back to a 10-win season like in 2019. Notably, the team won the most league games (5-3) since 2019.

SMU's Hardest Game of the Season

The Mustangs have really lucked out with their schedule this year, skipping some of the scarier teams in the AAC. That could lead to a strong record in a conference that will always have schedule rotation (I.E. — Russian roulette).


SMU and TCU have played each other over 100 times (Photo Courtesy of TCU Athletics).

Many of SMU's games look like easy wins; some teams like North Texas and Memphis could give them a run for their money, but their September 23rd game against TCU will hands down be the most challenging. TCU dominated the Big 12 last year with a 13-2 overall record and a 9-0 divisional record. If no one in TCU's own division is going to beat them, then maybe the Mustangs can help with that.

Pre-season Projections

The majority of the teams that SMU lost to last year are not on their 2023-2024 season schedule. The one exception is TCU. Last year, the Horned Frogs secured a win, 42-34. The teams SMU beat last year will likely fall against the Mustangs once again. Their new divisional opponents don't look particularly threatening either.

My projected record (minus the bowl) will be 9-3 overall and a divisional record of 6-2. It is not out of the realm of possibility for Rhett Lashlee to lead his team to a double-digit winning record this season.


The Green being Mean with former QB Tanner Mordecai (Manny Flores/University of North Texas Athletics).

SMU will likely fall to Texas Christian University. I also feels losses could come when playing against North Texas and Memphis due to those teams' performances last year. North Texas in particular is new to the AAC, and they are hungry for wins and motivated to the gills. SMU might not be able to match that mean green energy.