New Mexico Bowl Best Bets: Take BYU Over SMU as 'Miracle Bowl' Memories Linger

New Mexico Bowl Best Bets: Take BYU Over SMU as 'Miracle Bowl' Memories Linger
Image ©John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
✍️ Written by
Ty Bronicel
🗓 Updated
Aug 8th 2023

College football bowl season is almost upon us so we’re going to look at which games deserve your wavering attention spans and also your wagering money.

I’ve already written about the Las Vegas Bowl best bets and now we’ll focus on the Dec. 16 New Mexico Bowl between BYU and SMU.

Exciting, right?

(Sighs everywhere across this country).

Well, hold on. Here’s the deal, all you youngins. Way back in 1980, at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, where many of you were conceived, these same two proud child-bearing schools produced an epic game for the ages.

The Jim McMahon-led BYU Cougars scored three touchdowns in the final four minutes to beat the Eric Dickerson-led SMU Mustangs 46-45 in what is now known as the ‘Miracle Bowl’

In this excellent article by the great Brad Rock, he quotes then-SMU coach Ron Meyer: "Those Mormons believe in miracles. I guess we all do. But no, this comeback wasn't a miracle, just solid football. I like to think miracles are used on things more important than football."


As if, loser.

Anyway, 42 years later, these same two schools will meet up in New Mexico, whose state motto is “Land of Enhancement.”

(Why they don’t just change it to “Breaking Bad Land” is beyond me. Put it on next year’s ballot, people!).

But this game should be entertaining for those who don’t particularly care for defense. Like, at all. Of any kind.

It’s gonna be an old western shootout with two gunslingers and scores galore.

Don’t believe that BYU quarterback Jaren Hall isn’t going to start. Cougars' offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick tries to bluff like a bad poker player.

BYU’s defense has been terrible all year (93rd in the nation), but SMU’s has been even worse (118th out of 131 schools listed at


Before we get to the picks, the following odds are courtesy of DraftKings, which offers great sign-up bonuses.

And don’t forget about all the other great gambling options and awesome offers available in your state including those from BetMGM, FanDuel, and many more.

Also, be sure to check out our guide to online casinos, from Michigan to New Jersey. You can place all your football future bets at various sites in several states across the country.

OK, so back to the matchup: SMU is powered by QB Tanner Mordecai, a Mustang stud and a Davey O’Brien semifinalist for the second straight season.

Touchdowns will be plentiful, for both sides. BYU could be down 12 and still rally to win.

Also, the Cougars tend to get geeked up for whatever bowl game they’re in, and they’ve won three out of their last five.

Mordecai – not the aforementioned guy – was one of the main personalities in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible.


I’m still betting on the miracle-believing Mormons.

Book it.

For now.

At least in this game. Take the points.

Anything is possible …

BYU (+3.5) vs. SMU and OVER 64

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