Date: Saturday, November 29
Time: 11 AM CST
TV: Fox Sports Net
Location: The Alamodome in San Antonio
Spread: UTSA -5
Series Record: UTSA 1-0 (Won 21-13 in 2013)
Ok, before I go any further, I'm going to say that North Texas is desperate for a rival. Some Mean Green fans you come across might say otherwise, but as a bias alum of a school with about 10 different schools within six hours of its campus, and no formal rivalry filled with hate (old-timers would say SMU, but the animosity is a little one-sided) I say we could use a nice rivalry.
Obviously, a rivalry is not something you just conjure up (Texas A&M-South Carolina, or any rivalries created on reality TV shows) but something that develops over time. A rivalry is also born out of proximity (see TCU-SMU) though as one gets better and moves into a new conference, and the other school is stuck in neutral, that significance might diminish as well.
I posed that question today to a few of the Underdog Dynasty guys, discussing who they hate more in the realm of college football. The response was surprising, yet unsurprising, as most of the UTSA guys were in agreement that Texas State was still their biggest rival due to proximity (a 45 minute drive separates the schools), and the quality of games that have been played between the two schools.
Last year's game between the two schools was bigger for UNT, as the Mean Green's perfect home record, and a Conference USA West championship were on the line. UTSA rode a 3 game winning streak into Apogee Stadium and caused the Mean Green to have a stinker of a game, as UNT put up the worst offensive performance of the season. While both teams ended the season on high notes (UNT with a bowl win, UTSA on a 5-game winning streak), the loss forced the thought of "what could have been" in many Mean Green fans' eyes.
Unfortunately, this year's edition of the UNT-UTSA game doesn't have any major implications surrounding it. If you like Black Friday, you'll enjoy this game, because it offers the promise of heavily discounted football compared to preseason expectations (many publications had the two schools 1-2 in CUSA West). The two schools have nothing left to play for, except pride.
It's been an awful year for both teams- UTSA has 5 passing touchdowns ON THE YEAR. North Texas has double that, but it seems like half of those touchdowns came against FCS "giant" Nicholls State during UNT's 77-3 win. While the Mean Green defense showed up in last week's snoozer of a win over FIU, the unit still has more leaks than the NSA.
Since entering conference play, UTSA has averaged less than 15 points a game. Mind you, this was a team after their win against Houston in the season opener that received much fanfare as the next G5 giant-killer. Heck, there were even Larry Coker to SMU rumors, which were about as ludicrous as Dan McCarney actually settling on a quarterback.
With both teams' seasons in shambles, this game is more about determining the third-worst team in the state of Texas in 2014. It's about building that second step in a rivalry, as UNT and UTSA are winless against the other Texas Conference USA schools, and the Mean Green would love to avenge last year's debacle in Denton.
There wasn't any hype this year like there was for last year's game. The biggest event is off the field, as Tailgate SA is preparing a strong tailgate menu, filled with spicy bacon macaroni and cheese, whipped cream and chocolate dipped strawberries, pudding shots, chopped brisket, carne guisada and much much more. Let's all hope 2015 offers more of a delicious game in the "Battle of Two State Schools With Cool Logos on I-35".