Here we are at another encounter with a Louisiana school. It isn’t Monroe, or Lafayette, nor is it the powerhouse LSU squad that stomps us every other year. No, it is the La Tech squad that was too good for the bowl game they were invited to that they decided they would rather stay home than attend. So it was. They didn’t go bowling because they didn’t like the Independence Bowl.
A funny thing has happened since last bowl season — the Bulldogs lost any and everyone (save for Kenneth Dixon) that got them to 9-3 last season. Sonny Dykes bolted for Cali, Colby Cameron graduated, and the WR that caught any and everything, Quinton Patton, left for the 49ers. They hired Skip Holtz a guy who has coached regressively worse teams since 2009. 1 Is their present condition the result of losing tons of upperclassmen and a radical switch in philosophy or just excuses made by a coach in over his head despite his resume? I don’t know and I couldn’t care less. As soon as Louisiana Tech stopped playing exciting, innovative football I stopped caring enough to know.
I know two things about that team — they aren’t very good and North Texas plays them at 2:30 Saturday.
I could go over all the stats and records that we would be breaking if we win (first consecutive victory streak since 2004, etc) but you can get that from the Denton RC, guys. We all can feel what it means. Coach Dan McCarney Presents North Texas Football had been on the precipice of change for a few weeks now. The hints have turned into bold, obvious strokes. What were only shades and glimpses of the defense he wanted have turned into a hard-hitting, turnover-making, yard-unyielding green monster. Yeah I said it. It’s awesome. I have never seen a North Texas defense like this. Only the old-timers and guys that grew up with some Dickey-era teams have.2
We’ve been waiting for something looking like a winning team. The Georgia game whetted everyone’s appetite. It got the local media talking. It had the opponent message boards trolling different tunes about this team. Even though — and I’m leaning in close here now — beating MTSU and LaTech really isn’t much more impressive than hanging tough with Georgia in Athens, wins are more valuable to perception than close, feel-good losses. Look at the road record. No one remembers that the road schedule has been much tougher than the home one. No one cares either. Just Win Baby!3
Like in that MTSU matchup, we started out the week favored pretty heavily (7-points). As of this writing (circa Friday afternoon) it is down to 4. Let’s open up the Internet and see what we can find:
MeanGreenBreakdown: Here you’ll find a super long [compendium][mgbd)]of North Texas v LaTech game links along with some film breakdown from ggoedecker.
Go Mean Green Dot Com: Here you’ll find the finest in depression, snark, P1-isms, polemic, Chicken Little Syndrome, and long-time fans. Right now, you’ll find some good information about watching parties, TV options and overwrought screeds telling you what this game means.
Denton Record Chronicle: Vito has his usual blurbs about the game along with tidbits from other sports in between him telling you where and when he is going from place to place, or how much of the paper he worked on. Invaluable.
Rick Gosselin: Local sportswriter famously stepped down to check in on North Texas football and wrote a column. As these go, it is very supportive of the University. Glad that he has such close ties with alumni and current employees. It’s hard for me not to feel like these could be done more often by others. Although Vito does a great job with what he has to work with, one man can only do so much. ESPNDallas has cursory coverage and sporadic links. The Colleges blog is really a Big 12 colleges blog and all the writers are really aiming for gigs covering the Dallas Cowboys. Although I understand all of the reasons for this — market forces etc — I feel like the there could be at least one guy on the beat to write a 200-word game preview would be nice. Given the fan base reaction to the old rivals site, it is hard to blame anyone for not trying to compete with Vito and Harry.
Mean And Green Forum: As the self-appointed writer for The Nation, I make it a point to know where the Green People are gathering. [MAGF is a tiny little corner of the internet][meandandgreen]with some cross-posting on GMG. The smaller community makes the conversation much more relaxed and the atmosphere more welcoming. Right now, you have your standard prediction threads going.
Guys, the game begins at 2:30 Denton Time.
Television is CBS Sports Network. That isn’t CBS. It is a different channel. Find how to watch it here.
As always Mean Green Nation will be live-tweeting this thing. Getting way to into it, spouting expletives and having fun. Join in won’t you?
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