Dare to believe it.
With a 3-2 record in Conference USA and 5-4 overall, SMU could end up in a bowl game this year. It's too early to start making airline reservations but they did come up big in a win over UAB and are now looking to finish with Houston, Tulsa, and Rice.
Rice is a walkover even in C-USA terms so eligibility shouldn't be an issue. But even 6-6 won't clinch it for the Mustangs. There are only 5 (possibly 6) bowl ties for C-USA. They need one of those wins over Houston or Tulsa to clinch a bowl and even then I won't believe it until I see the invitation. Sadly, Tulsa is almost certaily a loss for the Mustangs. Tulsa is 7-1 and has wins over both Navy and UTEP. Houston is having a decent season, but Houston is playing SMU at home and that may mean trouble for the Cougars who are just as bad on the road as SMU is good at home lately.
The way the bowl ties work, it doesn't look like an SEC matchup is possible. SMU would have to come out #1 in C-USA to face an SEC team in the Liberty Bowl. The only way that happens is if SMU wins out and gets help from Houston, Rice, or Tulane in beating Tulsa. That's not going to happen. There is still a regionally interesting matchup possible if SMU and TCU meet in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth. And maybe based on regional interest SMU could land a spot in the Texas Bowl in Houston and play a mid-range Big 12 team but the way the Big East is playing this year, I can't see SMU getting the slot over a Big East mid-leveler.
The season is far from over but Mustangs fans can finally be proud of the team. Maybe there is life after the death penalty.