Head Coach Sonny Dykes, Quarterback Shane Buechele And The New-Look Mustangs Are Undefeated Through Five Games, Ranked No. 24 In The AP Poll.
With a 48-21 away-game win over its American Athletic Conference rival South Florida on Saturday, the Southern Methodist University football team improved to 5-0 on the season. More notably, the new-look team‘s success is now being recognized outside of University Park: On Sunday, the Mustangs were revealed as the No. 24-ranked football team in the nation in the Associated Press‘ weekly polls.
It is the first time the program has been nationally ranked since the 1986 season that preceded the NCAA’s infamous 1987 “death penalty” sanctions against the team following multiple rules violations.
The only team in the state ranked higher than SMU in this week’s poll is the University of Texas (3-1), which checks in at No. 11. Along with Michigan State (4-1), Texas A&M (3-2) is tied for No. 25 in this week’s poll, one slot behind the ponies.
Already this season, SMU has beaten in-state rivals North Texas, Texas State and, most prominently, TCU, which was ranked No. 25 in the polls when SMU beat them 41-38 on September 21.
As of this week, none of the eight remaining games on SMU’s schedule are against ranked opponents. The biggest hurdles remaining on the team’s schedule would appear to be contests against Temple (3-1) on October 19, Memphis (4-0) on November 2 and Tulane (3-1) on November 30. This coming weekend, the team will host Tulsa (2-2) at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Saturday night. The team will also face off against Houston (2-3) on October 12. Upper-tier cross-division AAC rivals Central Florida (4-1) and Cincinnati (3-1) are not on the SMU regular-season schedule this year, although the Mustangs could face either in the AAC Championship game on December 7 should the rest of the season pan out as it has started.
With five wins already in their back pocket, the 2019 Mustangs — led by Texas transfer QB Shane Buechele, who has thrown for 1,385 yards and 10 touchdowns already on the season — now sit just one win away from bowl game invite eligibility. The team has only played in six bowls since the 1987 death penalty.
Things are definitely trending up for the ponies. So too, though, is the likelihood that head coach Sonny Dykes, who has led this team since 2017, gets poached by another program at year’s end.
Cover photo via SMU Football’s Twitter.