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Why June Jones & SMU Should Be Taken Seriously in ’13 + Free Sports Pick

While SMU only welcomes back eleven starters from last year’s 7-6 squad, the Mustangs should secure a fifth consecutive bowl berth behind improved quarterback play that will be guided by Hal Mumme, who is the architect of the “Air Raid” offense and was hired this  past offseason.  With 36 years of coaching experience, Mumme will have an immediate impact on starting quarterback Texas transfer Garrett Gilbert, who I expect to put up career numbers this season.

SMU Offense:

  • The key for the Mustangs’ offense will be whether starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert builds upon the momentum he developed in the second half of last year wherein he completed over 57% of his passes with an 8-4 ratio.  Jones also utilized Gilbert’s mobility at the end of last season as he rushed for 94 yards against Southern Mississippi and 111 yards versus Tulsa.
  • The loss of Zach Line, who became the school’s second all-time career rusher with 4,185 yards , is a huge loss for the Mustangs.  However, the coaching staff has been impressed with running back Traylon Shead, who could easily surpass Line’s production in 2012 (1,278 yards; 4.6 yards per carry).

SMU Defense:

  • The Mustangs’s stop unit has many questions, including their defensive line that returns only one player who has double-digit tackles in uniform.  The linebacking unit loses two of its best players in Ja’Gared Davis and Taylor Reed, both of whom earned Second Team Conference USA honors.
  • The lone bright spot on SMU’s underwhelming defense is its secondary as this unit is more experienced and has the potential to produce better numbers in 2013.  That last statement is saying a lot in light of the fact that the Mustangs’ backfield was excellent last season (55.6%; 27-21 ratio). 

Pro Edge Sports Free Sports Pick for Friday, August 30:

SMU (+4.5) (-110) over Texas Tech

  • From Marc Lawrence’s Playbook, first-year college head coaches are 1859-1974-63 ATS (48.4%) since 1990, including 112-145-8 ATS (43.5%) in Game One.  These same coaches are just 53-71-6 ATS  in road openers in that span.
  • Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury is making his debut Friday, and the Red Raiders are expected to rotate freshmen quarterbacks Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield as projected starter Michael Brewer is battling a back injury.
  • SMU head coach June Jones is 22-11 ATS as a home underdog in his career, while the Mustangs have gone 6-1 ATS in this role over the last four years (3 outright upsets).