The Mean Green of North Texas will meet the Trojans of Troy in the 2017 edition of the New Orleans Bowl, as announced on Sunday.
This is the capstone on another outstanding season for the Trojans, who are celebrating their second 10-win season both in program history, and in a row. After a hard-fought victory over Arkansas State this past weekend, Troy is bowl bound once again, for only the second time since 2010.
North Texas, after dropping the conference title game to FAU on Saturday, is 9-4 and looks to get to ten wins for the first time since 1977. They’ll have their work cut out for them, as Troy’s Neal Brown has proved a formidable coach. Were it not for an uncharacteristic loss to South Alabama back in October, the Trojans might very well have made their way back into the AP Top 25, where they appeared for one week last year.
New Orleans is familiar territory for the Mean Green. They played in this bowl every year from its inception in 2001 through 2004, as annual Sun Belt champions. North Texas has been bowling only twice since then, attending the Heart of Dallas Bowl after the 2013 season, then again last year.
Troy returns to New Orleans for the first time since 2010, their last bowl of the Larry Blakeney era. They are 2-1 all time in the New Orleans Bowl, with victories over Ohio and Rice, and a loss to Southern Miss.
North Texas is 1-3 in the bowl game, their lone victory against Cincinnati in 2002. Their 2004 match-up, a loss to Southern Miss, remains the tenth-highest attended edition of the bowl, drawing 27,253. In the ensuing years, attendance of the New Orleans Bowl has been ticking up overall regardless of team selection, peaking at 54,728 when the UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns played Tulane. Last year’s edition, featuring the Cajuns vs Southern Miss, drew 36,061.
Troy played the Ohio Bobcats in front of 32,377 at the Dollar General Bowl a year ago in Mobile, so expect big numbers once again this year in the French Quarter.
Troy and North Texas played annually as members of the Sun Belt conference from 2005 to 2012. Troy leads the all-time series, 8-2.