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Can North Texas Be Nationally Relevant? Part 1: The Schedule

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Part 1 in a series that explores how, and if the Mean Green can ever rise to national prominence. This article deals with the almighty schedule.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

"Once we get into Conference USA, we will be competitive."

"Apogee Stadium will be the cure to all our scheduling ills".

I came to campus in 2006. The Mean Green were fresh off four straight bowls and one abysmal 2-9 season. After a pasting at the hands of a Colt McCoy-led Texas Longhorns, North Texas upset (?) SMU, with some students actually rushing the field- something we North Texas fans did twice that year. That season, the team finished 3-9, and Coach Darrell Dickey was fired, to be replaced by Texas offensive God Todd Dodge of Southlake Carroll.

A stadium vote was turned down in 2002, during the heat of the bowl years. As a freshman, I (and the rest of my class), was promised a new stadium, to replace the dump they called Fouts Field.

"We have a schedule that's set up for success this year."

"That new stadium will be the cure to all our ills."

With Apogee Stadium, North Texas fans were supposed to be treated to home-and-homes with Power 5 conference teams. Instead, other than an alternating series with SMU (OUR BIGGEST RIVAL EVER...) and Army, we get to see Liberty, Incarnate Word, Abilene Christian and Lamar. Oh, and don't forget Portland State for 2015.

(Trying to find heckling material for Portland State.... sees that COURTNEY LOVE is an alumnus... wonders how much cocaine he can scoop up from North Texas freshman...) (finds out Holly Madison also went to Portland State... thinks about doing a Master's program at Portland State)

Fun Fact: Between both football and men's basketball the past two seasons, North Texas and Incarnate Word have the same amount of wins against Power 5 teams: one.

To be fair, Liberty might bring fans, since they seem to sell out their games. And lucky for them, Denton Bible Church is a half mile walk from the stadium, I think. OK, done with religious jokes for now.

My problem lies in the bewilderment that schools in the middle of nowhere, like Southern Miss, can get Mississippi State to play in Hattiesburg, yet North Texas couldn't even get a Purdue team to do a one-and-one in Denton, 45 miles north of Dallas.

Supporters of Villarreal say "Oh, well he's giving us schedule flexibility in 2020, so we can schedule better teams then."

My response? By 2020, yet another freshman class (or 2) will have come and gone, and an opportunity might be missed to make permanent fans, and donors out of those students.