The 2013 season will present many new challenges for SMU. In an effort to make the first season of Big East play a little easier, the school has decided to drop one of its oldest rivals, Baylor, from the non-conference schdule.
"While this is a rivalry that both schools value, we decided it would be best if we did not play this season," SMU athletic director Rick Hart said in a prepared statement. "This was not an easy decision and was made only after careful deliberation.
"With three Big 12 games and one SEC matchup on our non-conference schedule and an upgraded conference schedule as we join the Big East, we felt we needed to bring some balance to our 2013 schedule. This decision does not, however, impact our long-term agreement. We will play at Baylor in 2014, when they open their new stadium, and have them scheduled for annual games for numerous years."
In Baylor's place, the Mustangs have added FCS opponent Montana State. SMU opens the season with Texas Tech at home on Aug. 31 and travels to both Texas A&M (Sept. 21) and TCU (Sept. 28). Keeping Baylor on the schedule would have given SMU an extremely difficult non-conference slate to pair with its new eight-game Big East schedule.
Montana State is no cakewalk opponent -- the Bobcats are coming off three straight Big Sky Conference titles and are carrying a streak of 11 consecutive winning seasons, but it's a different challenge than facing Art Briles and Baylor. The Bobcats will travel to SMU on Sept. 7 for the second game on the Mustangs' schedule.
The official conference schedule has not been released by the league office, but we do know who and where the Mustangs will play for their first season of Big East football. UCF, Connecticut, Rutgers and Temple will all be making the trip to Ford Stadium, and coach June Jones will lead his team on the road to face Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis and USF.
The full Big East conference schedule is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
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