A champion will be crowned Saturday when No. 22 Tulane hosts SMU in the 2023 AAC Championship Game. Both schools ran the table in conference play en route to earning their spots in the conference title game. The defending league champion Green Wave are likely a win away from reaching a New Year's Six bowl for the second-consecutive season after checking as the highest-ranked Group of Five team in the College Football Playoff Rankings on Tuesday. To reach those goals, they'll have to overcome a determined Mustangs squad.
SMU is looking to end its time in the AAC with a bang before making a much-anticipated move to the ACC ahead of the 2024 season. The Mustangs won't be operating at full strength on offense Saturday after losing star quarterback Preston Stone to a broken leg in Week 13 against Navy, adding to what was already a difficult test in enemy territory.
Get caught up on storylines, viewing information and more for the 2023 AAC Championship Game below. Follow along with LIVE updates from the game.
How to watch Tulane vs. SMU live
Date: Saturday, Dec. 2 | Time: 4 p.m. ET
Location: Yulman Stadium -- New Orleans, Louisiana
TV: ABC | Live stream: Fubo (Try for free)
For a limited time, new subscribers can save $20 on Fubo's Pro, Elite and Premier plans.
Tulane vs. SMU: Need to know
Green Wave on cusp of repeat: What coach Willie Fritz has accomplished the past two years in the Big Easy has been nothing short of impressive. Tulane pulled off a spectacular turnaround in 2022, posting a 12-2 record that included a conference title and a dramatic Cotton Bowl victory against USC after winning just two games the year prior. A year later, the Green Wave has again already reached double-digit wins and, with home field on their side, have a great chance to make it back-to-back league titles. CBS Sports' Jerry Palm projects Tulane to the Fiesta Bowl against Texas, though all of that is obviously dependent on what unfolds Saturday.
SMU seeks 39-year first: If SMU pulls the upset Saturday, it would mark the program's first conference title since the infamous 1987 NCAA death penalty. The Mustangs' last league championship came all the way back in 1984, when SMU shared the Southwest Conference crown with Houston. The Mustangs' last outright conference championship came in 1982, which was also the last time SMU won 11 games -- a total the Mustangs hope to equal Saturday. Needless to say, there is plenty at stake in SMU's final AAC matchup.
Mustangs lose star QB: In losing Stone, the Mustangs find themselves without a 3,000-yard passer who was on pace for a career day last Saturday before going down against Navy. SMU now turns to redshirt freshman Kevin Jennings against Tulane. He's only seen limited action in 2023, completing 18 of 24 pass attempts for 224 yards and three touchdowns. Much will be asked of him Saturday as the Mustangs go for what would mark one of the program's biggest on-field feats in a generation. It only adds to the pressure on SMU's defense, which ranks atop the AAC just ahead of Tulane at 17.7 points allowed per contest.
Tulane vs. SMU prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
SMU's passing attack looked potentially problematic for Tulane before Stone was hurt. His absence eliminates a key advantage for the Mustangs entering this matchup. Now, it's quite possible that a low-scoring struggle emerges thanks to the AAC's top two defenses, respectively. Ultimately, Jennings is the wildcard in what will be baptism by fire of sorts for the backup SMU signal-caller. Between home field, the No. 5 run defense in the FBS and the edge in experience at quarterback with Michael Pratt, the Green Wave have the pieces to survive a competitive contest and repeat as the AAC champion. Pick: Tulane -3.5
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