2017 Season Preview: Schedule and Prediction

Predicting the schedule so far out is a fools’ game but we are silly fools who love this game and so here we go:

9/2 v Lamar
Lamar has had a rough go of things, Beaumont being in the path of Hurricane Harvey. There was a question of whether this game would go on, but I’d wager that the lure of the $400K that NT is paying swayed some of the decision makers. Lamar football arrived in Denton safely. They had not practiced since Monday, and most of the roster is from the affected areas. This will either be a Cinderella win for the Cardinals or a blowout. For our own sakes let us hope it will be the latter.

Prediction: Win 45-10

9/9 at SMU
Southern Methodist is the older generation’s rival and they have had the Mean Green’s number these last few years. NT did not avail themselves well in last year’s matchup but the scoreline was not indicative of the difference between these two teams. SMU will be favored but I suspect NT will sneak away with an early win.

Prediction: Win 34-31

9/16 at Iowa
Remember when this program had so many ties to Iowa that it seemed like the program was not ready to play? Things should be different this year, but the talent disparity and road game will make the difference. Iowa surprises and disappoints regularly and so there is hope.

Prediction: Loss 38-17

9/23 vs UAB
The Blazers are back and the last time these teams played, NT embarrassed themselves in Birmingham. UAB has spent the interim time quitting football and restocking talent. While they may not be a completely new program, they are still slightly behind NT.

Prediction: Win 31-21

9/30 at Southern Miss
Southern Miss is better at home and was Jekyll/Hyde with/without their star QB last season. He is gone and the search for a replacement began with Keon Howard, who is fond of turning the ball over. There is talent here, but football is about the QB. If USM doesn’t have one by here we have a shot but I think they have enough to beat us away in Hattiesburg

Prediction: Loss 31-28

10/14 vs UTSA
Much was made of the loss in October in SA. The traveling contingent was supposed to be larger, the game had some importance toward bowl eligibility and even division standing. North Texas turned the ball over too often and it got away from them late. The difference between these two teams comes down to the difference in experience levels at the QB position. UTSA is just as inconsistent as North Texas and yet has more hype because of the recruiting success. That is not insignificant but should not make a difference in this game.

Prediction: Win 28-24

10/21 at FAU
Lane Kiffin is the story of the East division and he is rightly hyped. Hidden by the drama and non-football headlines is a good football coach. Unfortunately for him, the turnaround required at FAU is significant and will not happen in one season. This team has some talent but is not ready to compete for a division just yet. They will surprise some teams not ready for them, especially in Boca Raton, but that should not be NT.

Prediction: Win 35-17

10/28 vs ODU
Old Dominion was a surprising 10-win team last year, and they are good. Their coach Bobby Wilder is the perfect personality for a team on the rise. Their most impressive of the 10 wins were in the bowl game and probably Southern Miss — yes, the same Southern Miss that was unimpressive without their QB. ODU was senior-laden and this year will rely on young guys all over., that includes new starter RS Sophomore Blake LaRussa.

Prediction: Win 33-21

11/4 at LT
Louisiana Tech has consistently impressed with their ability to reload and compete for the conference title. There is no reason to believe that this will change significantly this year. North Texas was handled easily by La Tech’s talented WRs in Denton in 2016, and the graduation of those two will help things a bit, but this one is in Louisiana. This will be the on-paper toughest conference opponent and should be a good gauge for NT’s standing long term.

Prediction: Loss 45-21

11/11 vs UTEP
UTEP has won the last two matchups in surprising fashion. Two seasons ago NT was playing out the string and lost late in an awful played game from both sides. Last year NT looked unprepared to handle Aaron Jones and was run out of the Sun Bowl in a game that could have put the Mean Green in a bowl game without APR rankings. NT is on the rise and UTEP’s head man is on the hot seat.

Prediction: Win 24-21

11/18 vs Army
Army ran for gobs of yardage in the bowl game and if you peak at the stats of the October win they moved the ball well when not turning it over. That said, North Texas scored easily on “the best” defense in the nation (at the time, yardage wise) and generally feel that NT is more talented throughout the roster. Army gave us their best shot and played flawlessly on offense and had to resort to 4th down calls to win the thing.

Prediction: Win 35-24

11/25 at Rice
The biggest drive of the season came when North Texas was down 17 points early to Rice in Houston last year. NT had a few miracle plays, went and scored and saved the season in a thrilling overtime game. Rice continued their season-long stumble and limped toward a finish. The rematch takes place in Houston again which should make things difficult. That’s about al that should be difficult.

Prediction: Win 44-10

Predicted Season Record: 9-3

I will not predict what happens in the division, as La Tech could very well run the table and win the division over NT or a miracle could happen. These are the games scheduled and so these will be the ones we stick to predicting for now.