A week after the new, back to the old.
I went back and forth over whether to put this game in Cupcake Wars this week. After all, the Mustangs might be much-improved from their two-decade, death-penalty-induced period as one of the worst teams in college football -- but SMU is still a Conference USA team, and as a general rule SEC teams win their games against midmajors. (Rule not necessarily valid if team is named "Arkansas" or "Ole Miss.") And Southern Methodist's last outing against an FBS team, Baylor, was what we'll call "discouraging." (They lost by five touchdowns.)
Still, there's a whiff of nostalgia to this game, particularly in the first season after SEC expansion. After all, SMU and Texas A&M used to be in the same conference. And SMU's death penalty was part of a chain reaction of events that sparked the first modern round of major realignment by helping pave the way for Arkansas to jump to the SEC and the SWC to fall apart, with half of its teams -- including A&M -- heading to the newly-formed Big XII.
And SMU will itself be headed to the Big East after this season. So there's something of a full-circle move here, an echo of the two most recent eras of college football and a preview of the third. Let's hope the likely ugliness of the game isn't symbolic of what the game will look like over the next few years.
Texas A&M 35, SMU 14