Unfamiliar foes: SMU

Our series taking a team-by-team look at the marquee nonconference faces the Big East will see in the fall continues today with SMU, which once again has one of the more ambitious pre-league slates.

To read previous entries, click here.

Offensive opponent to watch: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M. Ever hear of this guy? In case you haven't, he goes by the nickname Johnny Football. He won the Heisman Trophy last season as a redshirt freshman. He's been spotted seemingly everywhere and been hanging out with everyone in the offseason since. He hosts the Mustangs on Sept. 21, one week after facing two-time defending national champion Alabama, a team whose only loss last season came at the hands of … Manziel and the Aggies. Last year he led the Aggies to a 48-3 win at SMU, accounting for 418 total yards and six scores in three quarters while notching his first career win. All he did after was finish with 5,116 total yards and 47 touchdowns on the season while completing 68 percent of his passes.

Defensive opponent to watch: Devante Fields, DE, TCU. Field is banned from the season's first two games "due to a violation of university and team policy," meaning the SMU game on Sept. 28 will be his second game back. If he learns from the punishment, SMU and others need to watch out. The Horned Frogs' highest-rated recruit from 2012 burst onto the scene as a true freshman last fall, winning Big 12 defensive player of the year honors. He had four tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and two hurries in a 24-16 win at SMU last season, and he finished the year with 53 total tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, one pick, one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles.