Baylor hosts SMU Saturday in a game where the off the field storylines may get more attention than what happens on the field.
First, SMU has survived the initial round of cuts to join the Big 12:
Memphis did not make latest Big 12 expansion cut sources told @ESPN. The 11 that did: AF BYU UCF Cincinnati UConn CSU UH Rice USF SMU Tulane— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) September 2, 2016
Second, SMU Head Coach Chad Morris is mentioned by many as a possibility for Baylor’s next coach.
But there’s plenty of time to talk about those first two items. We only have a few days until Baylor and SMU actually play.
SMU looks to get it going after finishing last season 2-10. While that record was abysmal, Morris was working with a team left in a horrendous spot at the end of June Jones tenure.
In their opening game against UNT, the Mustangs showed signs the turnaround has begun. SMU won in Denton last weekend, which was the first road win for them since 2014.
One big question for the Mustangs will be the health of senior quarterback Matt Davis. Morris says Davis will be a game-time decision. Davis was 8 of 17 for 155 yards before leaving the game with a knee injury.
Davis is a skilled dual-threat quarterback. In last season’s game against the Bears, Davis finished with 115 rushing yards on 24 attempts.
Davis also has a cannon for an arm. This throw against UNT is incredible:
If Davis cannot go, SMU still has hope with a receiver as skilled as sophomore Courtland Sutton. Sutton made this phenomenal touchdown grab against UNT:
The Bears will hope to counteract SMU’s explosive offense by pressuring whomever SMU has available at quarterback. As John Werner of the Waco-Tribune Herald noted in Coach Grobe’s weekly press conference, the Bears finished with 15 tackles for a loss against Northwestern State. One of those was this sack by Taylor Young:
The Mustangs defense remains a huge issue. The team gave up 38 points in ten games last season. While they hope some new signees and junior college players will turn things around, Bill Connelley in his excellent preview noted that even if their passing defense improves, the Mustangs still have a huge problem stopping the run.
SMU is on the rise. However, the Bears have a massive talent advantage. The team opened as 28.5 point favorites and should move to 2-0.