Bowling Chances 2012

After conference opponent Louisiana-Lafayette 30-23 on Tuesday the 16th, there have been rumblings about bowl-eligibilty. Of course, if you have been reading MGN, you know the deal.

North Texas’ record is at 3-4 (2-1). There are five games remaining — all Sun Belt matchups. Here are the standings:

  1. ULM 3-0, 5-2
  2. WKU 2-1, 5-2
  3. UNT 2-1, 3-4
  4. ULL 2-1, 4-2
  5. ArkSt 2-1, 4-3
  6. MTSU 2-1, 4-3
  7. Troy 3-2, 4-3
  8. USA 1-2, 2-5
  9. FAU 0-4, 1-6
  10. FIU 0-4, 1-7

Our schedule is this:

at MTSU 10/27 2:30pm ESPN3
vs ArkSt 11/3 4:00pm
vs USA 11/10 4:00pm
at ULM 11/17 TBD
at WKU 11/24 Noon ESPN3

The road to conference supremacy is laid out before us: win all the games. It won’t be easy but they let you play them one at-a-time. These first two against MTSU and ArkSt seperate UNT from that middle pack. The USA game will be a test of focus. The final two will be de facto playoff games.

The Belt is very winnable. This offense is built for upsets. Our 44th-ranked rushing offense can control the ball, Antoinne Jimmerson, Brelan Chancellor and Jeremy Brown can score from anywhere on the field. The defense has shut down some really good offenses.

The biggest concerns are those that we have every week: Will the opponent shut down the run game like FAU did? Will Derek Thompson have a sub-50% passing game like vs Troy? Will the defense lay an egg like they did vs Houston? Will Zach Olen have another nightmare game (Troy)?

The good news: We haven’t had huge swings in performance. Derek Thompson and the passing game picked up the load when the run game was getting stuffed in Boca. Against Houston, the offense put up 489 yards and 21 points. UNT was within ten twice. In a normal game, this should be near enough to win. Against, ULL the defense shut down the 19th ranked rush offense five straight times in the third and fourth quarters. The offense scored three touchdowns and a field goal.

This is the ideal scenario. Dan McCarney wants 31 points a game from the offense. When the pass game is clicking (not just screens and dump offs on 3rd and 8) this thing can easily score that many.

Too long; didn’t read:

We have a shot to win the conference. Middle Tennesee is better than the team we destroyed to end last year and will be looking for revenge at home.

Arkansas State has underperformed compared to last season and they hype surrounding Gus Malzahn. They are well-coached and dangerous.

South Alabama is terrible. They should not be taken lightly, however.

ULM can score in bunches and quickly. I expect this team to be on par with Houston. They run similar offenses and have good coaches that like to take calculated chances. Our defense will have their hands full. Our offense will have to score a lot and control the clock. This will be crazy tough.

WKU is good. They lost in OT to ULM after Kolton Browning threw the two-point conversion to win it. They were the class of the conference coming into the year, and haven’t showed any signs of slowing.