We spoke with “Blog Czar” Eric Harris this week, as we head into a long-ago scheduled match-up that has turned out to be more significant than either fan base could have predicted: North Texas (2-0) at Arkansas (1-1).
It goes without saying that the SEC is a a beast, and all that trash they talk all day long is more than earned. To be a G5 and walk into their house— any of their 14 houses— is to be a sacrificial lamb, in much the same way FCS Eastern Illinois was to the Razorbacks in week 1.
So you have to imagine the surprise of Mean Green nation, not to mention Hog nation, when the line opened at ARK -8... and is falling. As of Wednesday, Arkansas is favored by seven points and Mean Green twitter is blowing up with predictions. Razorback coach Chad Morris had no problem with UNT during his time at SMU, but this year North Texas QB Mason Fine lit his former team up for 444 yards passing. Last week against Colorado State, the Razorbacks had 437 yards of total offense.
This game is by no means a gimme for either team, and that’s where we started with Arkansas Fight.
Underdog Dynasty: As a Razorback fan, to what extent was North Texas on your radar prior to the season?
Eric Allen, Arkansas Fight: I think for most fans, it fell in the realm of just another G5 non-conference game, especially with conference play starting the week after. For me personally I was more concerned about an upset in this game than the Colorado State game but after falling apart in that one, it hasn’t really given fans much optimism.
UD: As a Razorback fan, to what extent was Chad Morris on your radar, prior to his hire? How’s he been doing since his hiring was announced?
EA: He was definitely the second choice behind Gus Malzahn (Well, for most. Long story). During the offseason he said all the right things and has been doing well on the recruiting trail, but after the collapse against Colorado State, the honeymoon is definitely over. The offense is still in transition, which takes time, but many fans were upset at his late game management.
UD: During his time at SMU, Chad Morris clearly had UNT’s number. What’s the biggest improvement compared to last year? What should North Texas fear the most?
EA: Arkansas’s biggest improvement? Probably that the defense looked good for 30 minutes. Arkansas should be (hopefully) getting two of their best defensive players, Randy Ramsey and Dre Greenlaw, back from injury as well.
UD: Without assuming too much about how the SEC probably views Conference USA, what if anything about North Texas worries you about this weekend?
EA: Personally, I’m terrified that Mason Fine will throw for 500 dang yards in this one. The secondary looked good for a stretch like I mentioned in the last question, but the secondary won’t hold up for an entire game ... Arkansas got picked apart by quality quarterbacks last year and this year has been marginally better so far but definitely not where it needs to be.
UD: I’m seeing a lot of UNT fans on Twitter calling this one early for the Mean Green. Tell them why they’re wrong.
EA: I mean, despite how bad the past couple years have gone, we still have P5 talent that normally should win out the majority of the time. I’m also interested to see if the team will come out playing better than they ended last week to prove a point. This one by no means will be a blowout though.
On this last point, me and Eric agree. Though North Texas had a habit last season of turning the pre-game spread into a joke nearly every game, this one could indeed come down to a touchdown... or turn into something else entirely.
What about you? Who ya got?
Who ya got on Saturday?
This poll is closed
Arkansas wins and covers
Arkansas wins but doesn’t cover
North Texas wins outright