Meet the new Big East member: SMU Mustangs

UCF, Houston, Memphis and SMU won't become official Big East members until July 1, but we're rolling out the welcome mat today.

Now, this configuration is good only for 2013. In 2014, East Carolina and Tulane join, while Louisville (ACC) and Rutgers (Big Ten) are expected to depart. Navy joins as a football-only member in 2015.

So now it's our turn to welcome the four teams that will join Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, USF and Temple in 2013.

Here is a brief snapshot of the SMU Mustangs.

SMU Mustangs

2012 record: 7-6

Bowl appearances: 15

Key losses: C-USA Offensive Player of the Year Zach Line (1,278 yards rushing, 13 TDs); defensive end Margus Hunt (eight sacks, 11.5 TFLs); linebacker Ja'Gared Davis (77 tackles, 11 TFLs); receiver Darius Johnson (787 yards receiving, five TDs); linebacker Taylor Reed (97 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 14.5 TFL)

Key returners: Quarterback Garrett Gilbert (2,932 yards, 15 TDs, 15 INTs); defensive back Kenneth Acker Jr. (50 tackles, 15 passes defended); receiver Jeremy Johnson (679 yards receiving, three TDs); linebacker Randall Joyner (93 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 8 passes defended)

What they bring to the Big East: Houston and SMU make a nice pair from Texas as the western-most programs in the league. SMU has gotten itself back to respectability after the death penalty sent the program into the doldrums. June Jones is one of the savviest offensive minds in the game, so the Mustangs are sure to bring a little razzle-dazzle to a league that is generally dominated by defense.

Did you know: SMU just played in its school-record fourth straight bowl game, and has posted back-to-back bowl wins for the first time in school history.