Saturday, September 23, 2023 Sep 23, 2023
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SMU Finally Has Its New Conference

The Mustangs will join the ACC next year, ending nearly three decades outside of the power conferences.
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Everyone celebrate on the Hilltop. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After 28 years, three different affiliations, and an unquantifiable amount of misery, SMU is back in a power conference. The Mustangs will join the ACC next season, along with Stanford and Cal, which sounds like a college football Mad Libs but I assure you is very, very real.

As part of the deal, SMU will forgo broadcast revenue for the next nine years, according to ESPN, which is pretty unheard of as far as these things go. My position on the matter remains unchanged from last month: it’s a desperate move, but it’s also SMU’s best chance at survival when The Great College Sports Purge begins and the remaining four power conferences inevitably contract to one or two. SMU at least has a chance of making the cut now. Had they stayed put in the AAC (we really need some better initialisms), it wouldn’t. (Should you want to bum yourself out about what this means for the next steps in that direction, here’s a prescient read from On3’s Andy Staples.)

But that’s all down the road. As things stand now, the Mustangs are positioned to be more relevant than they’ve been in three decades, presuming the big-monied boosters on the Hilltop keep writing checks into the 2030s. The gambit paid off. SMU won. And maybe, just maybe, this will catch TCU’s eye enough to get the Iron Skillet back on the schedule, too.


Mike Piellucci

Mike Piellucci

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Mike Piellucci is D Magazine's sports editor. He is a former staffer at The Athletic and VICE, and his freelance…

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