SMU over North Texas by 16
The Mean Green improved mightily under 1st-year head coach Seth Littrell last season when they went from a 1-win campaign to a bowl game (albeit the result of a wacky bowl setup that allowed a 5-7 team to the party). The question is was the improvement genuine or did they simply go from being a really bad team in 2015 to just average in 2016? Regardless, North Texas has burned money when playing away from Denton the last three years, posting a miserable record while being outgained by average of 175 YPG. That sets the stage for the Ponies here, a team looking to continue their upward ascent under 3rd-year HC (and former Clemson OC) Chad Morris. After a 3-21 SU start in his first two seasons, Morris and his Mustangs fell just one game short of earning a bowl bid in 2016. Look for them to get one this season behind an offense that returns 9 starters, including SO QB Ben Hicks and last year’s top eight targets. The schedule gets tougher (road games against TCU, Houston, Navy and Memphis) but a win here and a 2-0 start will send them to Fort Worth the following week brimming with confidence. Lean to the resurgent Ponies.