SMU Mustangs at Texas A&M Aggies (-15.5, 56.5)
THE STORY: The biggest, most important, zaniest season in a long time begins at Texas A&M, which enters the season ranked ninth and is expected to challenge No. 1 Oklahoma for the Big 12 Conference championship.
It may be the Aggies’ last shot at it, too, as Texas A&M is expected to leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference. So it is fitting the Aggies begin the season against Southern Methodist, a former rival from the old Southwest Conference, which Texas A&M also left behind.
TV: FS Southwest.
ABOUT TEXAS A&M (9-4 in 2010): A mid-season quarterback change made all the difference for the Aggies last season. Fortunately, they didn’t have to make a change this fall as Ryan Tannehill returns after throwing for 1,600 yards and 13 touchdowns in six starts last season, as does leading receiver Jeff Fuller.
ABOUT SMU (7-7 in 2010): Two decades of clouds have finally broken for the Mustangs, who played in their second bowl game in a row last season. SMU would love to get a call from the Big 12 if Texas A&M leaves, so this is an opportunity for the kind of win that would help the Mustang’s argument.
LINE MOVES: Texas A&M opened as low as -15 and has stayed around that number for the most part. The total has also remained steady, opening at 56 points and being bet up to 57.5 before settling at 56.5.
1. SMU’s last game against a Big 12 team was a one-touchdown loss at Texas Tech last season. Its last game against Texas A&M was a 66-8 loss in 2005.
2. Texas A&M hasn’t lost to SMU since 1984 and is 9-0-1 in the last 10 meetings.
3. The Aggies begin the season in the top 10 for the first time since 1999, the year after they won the Big 12 championship.
- Mustangs are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games as underdogs.
- Aggies are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 home games.
- Under is 8-3-1 in Mustangs' last 12 games as road underdogs.
- Under is 5-1 in Aggies' last six home games.
PREDICTION: Texas A&M 38, SMU 20 - The Tannehill-to-Fuller connection is too much for most teams, and SMU is no different. The Mustangs aren’t a pushover anymore, but the Aggies still have plenty to prove, even if they are in the top 10.