Start Time: 7:30 p.m. EST / 6:30 p.m. CST
Location: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, aka The Swamp
Radio: Mean Green Radio Network
Live Stats: CBS GameTracker
Betting Line: Florida -36, O/U 50
Series Record: North Texas leads 1-0
Yes, North Texas leads the series 1-0. UNT won 20-12 in 1947, and this has been a theme this decade, as UNT had also beaten Tennessee in THEIR only meeting in 1975, until finally getting around to scheduling them again in 2015. The modern-era results were as predictable as they will be tomorrow.
There is none. SEC teams are vaguely aware something called “The Conference USA” exists, they like to use us as punching bags while warming up for conference games, then claim to be the best in the nation heading into conference play 3-0 or whatever.
In 2002 Florida hired Ron Zook, a great recruiter who didn’t know anything about coaching football, and the guy promptly ran Spurrier’s old program into the ground. Some wiseacre/Florida alum started up FireRonZook.com (don’t click the link, it’s been gone for years) because alums of Power Five schools have that kind of time and money. To a young recent college grad, this was the funniest thing ever, and I was only too happy to add to the trolling, joining the site despite zero ties to Florida and posting under the name Sun Belt Bob. “Keep playing this terribly, Florida,” was my only joke. “The Sun Belt will take you.”
Well, Ron Zook continued to run the program into the ground, until he was replaced by some guy named Urban, upon which Ron Zook left to run Illinois football into the ground instead. Last year North Texas found out what that was like, as Dan McCarney completed his own four-year plan to permanently destroy UNT football.
The point is, Gators, we all know that pain of having a terrible coach. We bond more in adversity than we do in triumph. North Texas got rid of McCarney, you got rid of Will Muschamp. Let’s buy each other beers and throw the pigskin around for an hour.
North Texas Mean Green
Last week the Mean Green won for only the second time since 2013. New coach Seth Littrell had the entire offseason to cobble something together from only the richest recruiting ground this side of, well, Florida. After working out the kinks in Week 1 against SMU, adjustment were made and freshman Mason Fine was given the start, who promptly went 11/22 for 108 yards while handing the ball off to Jeffrey Wilson and Willy Ivery enough times to let them run for 186 yards combined.
This was against Bethune-Cookman, by the way. Also loaded with Florida talent.
The ground game against B-C was more solid than it was in week one, as UNT attacked primarily through the air in its loss to SMU. The point being that the Mean Green have been improving every week, so should look very impressive and feel confident as they go into the Swamp this week and lose by 50 points.
Spurrier, Zook, Meyer, and Muschamp are all gone, as former Colorado State HBC Jim McElwain takes the reins at a job that comes with absolutely no pressure whatsoever. In Year One with the Gators, his only losses were against LSU and FSU during the regular season, driving to the SEC Championship before succumbing to Alabama, for which there is no known cure.
2016 is off to a similarly spectacular start, as UF has only allowed one touchdown per game, allowing a late touchdown against Kentucky, a team which is better than North Texas, and allowing a 2nd quarter touchdown against UMass, a team which is very much not better than North Texas.
For UNT fans (and Gator fans too, we suppose), the names here to remember are Luke Del Rio (320 yards passing last week against the Wildcats), RB Lamical Perine and WR Antonio Callaway. They had the biggest numbers against Kentucky last week, and should post similar numbers this week. They are large numbers. Then, Florida can move on to Tennessee the week after, a Volunteer squad that very clearly should have lost to Appalachian State.
The point here is Florida is having a good year, and North Texas is just glad to be a part of it.
While it’s important that North Texas make some strides and win some games this year, it’s also important they keep the lights on. UMass held the Gators to only 24 points in Week One, but then again it’s also safer to attack a bear when it’s just woken up from hibernation than when it’s had three weeks to start hunting again.
88,000 people watch Florida win, 56-17.