Date: Saturday September 2, 2017
Kickoff Time: 6pm CST
Location: Apogee Stadium, Denton, TX
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Line: North Texas -18.5 Over/Under 55
Series Record: UNT leads the all-time series, 4-2
Last Meeting: UNT won 33-13 on Oct. 25, 1986
North Texas Mean Green Overview
There are absolutely zero metrics out there on how old our readers are, but it’s not like the glory days were so long ago that even college freshmen should be unfamiliar with early 00’s shenanigans. YouTube exists, and all UNT schedules dating back to 2001 are gloriously transcribed on Wikipedia for your nostalgic pleasure.
After two WTF head coaching hires by the head office since 2006, Seth Littrell showed he was up to the task in 2016, and all signs point to a continued upward trajectory. We don’t expect a national ranking this year, nor do we (necessarily) expect a conference championship. What we do expect is a solid bowl team and a reclaiming of our national cache, en route to something bigger by the end of the decade. In the meantime, if we finish with a better record than SMU, well, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Sophomore Mason Fine was named starter this week, and with an improving receiver corps and did we mention JEFFREY WILSON, this is the best all-around UNT squad in years.
We’re even excited to see what Troy Reffett has planned for the defense as he takes over as sole DC this year. Finally, the dark ages are mercifully behind us, and this team is measurably improved from last years squad.
Lamar Cardinals Overview
Denton is a small town 35 miles northwest of Dallas, often overlooked in favor of the higher-profile, more famous FBS teams in the big city. Beaumont is a small town 85 miles east of Houston, often overlooked in favor of the high-profile, more famous FBS teams in the big city. We love Beaumont. We hate Beaumont.
One thing that’s less like UNT and more like UAB: Lamar dropped its football program in 1990 after 67 seasons on the gridiron. Not exactly a national story, it was just an all-too-common local response to lack of interest or funding, not unlike when UT-Arlington dropped their football program after the 1985 season. But unlike UTA, the Cardinals put a team back on the field in 2010, and were welcomed back with open arms by our good friends in the Southland Conference— an FCS stalwart with an almost identical geographical footprint to the western halves of C-USA and the Sun Belt.
North Texas left the Southland after the 2000 season, and hasn’t looked back. Lamar has been going through its own growing pains in the meantime, finishing 5-6 as an independent in 2010 and finishing better than that only once since joining the Southland, going 8-4 in 2014, good enough to tie for third. At the end of 2015, they said goodbye to head coach Ray Woodard, their only coach since reinstatement.
This is the first game for newly installed coach Mike Schultz, who was previously OC at Texas State from 2011-2015 (and at TCU from 1998-2008). Schultz is a good OC. Schultz is a good coach. Schultz is going to get his butt kicked on Saturday.
That’s good stuff. Lamar reminds us a bit of ourselves, rebuilding from scratch to try and make something amazing. We want Lamar to succeed. Just not this week.
At the top of the week, Lamar still hadn’t announced a starter, but their roster features SMU transfer Darrell Colbert, who we’re curious to see in an FCS scheme.
Conference USA overview
This isn’t the best C-USA game this week— that’s Vandy vs Middle Tennessee. Nor is it the worst C-USA game this week— sorry, UTEP vs Oklahoma. But with UTSA postponed, you need some C-USA in your life, and if college football is the game, you pick the team from Texas. Though if you wanna click over during game breaks to see what gimmick trick play Lane Kiffin is running, we won’t blame you.
Southland Conference overview
We don’t give these guys nearly enough love here at The Dynasty (I’m trying to make it a thing), if only because Sam Houston State crushes the conference every year and doesn’t leave much room for discussion. Don’t expect Lamar to rise to the top in Schultz’s first year, but after seven seasons of underachievement under Woodard, it was time for a change. UNT didn’t exactly roll over Bethune-Cookman last year, so this should be a pretty fun game for both teams.
Many of our C-USA and SBC underdogs came up from the Southland, including UNT, Texas State, UTSA, Louisiana Tech and Arkansas State. This conference is one to keep an eye on, and after years away, UNT will play a Southland team every year through 2020. Let’s all try and remember their names.
What’s all this mean? Despite our affection for all things Southland, this is still a first-year coach rebuilding his FCS squad, facing an FBS team that went bowling last year. As mentioned, the game will be fun, but as a North Texas fan, it’s nice to be back in a place where you can be encouraging toward an FCS team, but not nervous.
FINAL SCORE: UNT 41, Lamar 14