A rumor running rampant around the interwebs today has SMU looking to back out of the September 14 matchup this coming season. I'm not sure how much validity it has, but considering the late date, a cancellation could have tremendous repercussions on Baylor.
The genesis of the rumor seems to be the fact that SMU recently added Montana State to its schedule, giving it five non-conference games where it only has room for four. Three of those already on the schedule are against Big 12 teams in Texas Tech, TCU, and Baylor, while the fourth has SMU traveling to College Station to play Texas A&M. The idea that Baylor may be the game canceled is coming mostly from SMU message boards.
If I'm SMU (and I'm going to have to role play this a bit in my mind without the benefit of any designer jeans or a BMW in the driveway), Baylor probably isn't the team I choose to cut. The decision to add Montana State stems from the desire to get another home game while also downgrading slightly the Mustangs' non-conference slate. Those four games I mentioned above is a pretty salty schedule, after all. Of the four games scheduled already, Texas Tech and Baylor are both coming to Dallas while the other two aren't, so cutting one of the first two means cutting a home game. It may well be that Montana State is intended to replace either of those two games, or it may be that SMU wants to increase its absolute home schedule by one rather than remain the same.
The SMU-TCU rivalry isn't going anywhere, so the Frogs need not worry. That game will be played, leaving 3 potential cuts. Of those three, I'm not exactly sure why Baylor seems to be the obvious choice-- we have a scheduling agreement with SMU through 2019 that would obviously be at risk should SMU cut us this late in the game, and it's plausible to me that the Big 12 as a conference wouldn't look favorably on SMU should they cut a conference team in this situation. And make no mistake about it, having to find a replacement with just over half a year before the game is to be played would be quite difficult. We'd likely have to dip into FCS teams for a replacement, making a relatively weak non-conference schedule even weaker, and I doubt the Big 12 would like to see that happen.*
*One possible replacement would be the team cut by Montana State to take SMU-- two-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State. They travel well and are rumored to be looking at jumping into FBS. If this came to pass, we could do a lot worse.
The most plausible-- and that belief may certainly be the result of wishful thinking-- cut to me is probably Texas A&M. The Aggies and Mustangs have no long-term scheduling agreement with the 2013 game, to be played in College Station, the only one left between the schools. SMU would probably have to pay a not-insignificant buyout, but that's something they'd do to cut anyone.
I don't know how this is going to shake out for Baylor or anyone else. I hope we don't lose the SMU game but it seems like we might, since SMU is going to have to cancel a game somewhere. This is something to keep an eye on, for sure.
Just for the record, here's our schedule as of this moment:
|2013 BAYLOR FOOTBALL SCHEDULE|
|Sept. 7||Buffalo||Waco, Texas||TBD|
|Sept. 14||at SMU||Dallas, Texas||TBD|
|Sept. 21||Louisiana-Monroe||Waco, Texas||TBD|
|Oct. 5||West Virginia||Waco, Texas||TBD|
|Oct. 12||at Kansas State||Manhattan, Kan.||TBD|
|Oct. 19||Iowa State||Waco, Texas||TBD|
|Oct. 26||at Kansas||Lawrence, Kan.||TBD|
|Nov. 9||Oklahoma||Waco, Texas||TBD|
|Nov. 16||vs. Texas Tech (Cowboys Stadium)||Arlington, Texas||TBD|
|Nov. 23||at Oklahoma State||Stillwater, Okla.||TBD|
|Nov. 30||at TCU||Fort Worth, Texas||TBD|
|Dec. 7||Texas||Waco, Texas||TBD|