Let’s Talk About ULL

Hey guys, this is the big ESPN2 game. Incredibly, there are some that don’t grasp the importance of such a game. If you are such a person, let me help you out:

National Television Is National:

ESPN2, as of 2010 reached the same household penetration as ESPN for the first time. The network is in 99 million homes. That is Ninety-Nine Million, or 86% of America.

Now, not everyone will be watching that game, but let’s say Antoinne Jimmerson is going off for 250+ yards and a host of incredible plays. Word will spread on twitter and a good chunk of the football-loving nation will switch over and watch. North Texas, our perennially unloved and unrecognized team will be there in High Definition glory. Recruits, coaches, monied donors, free-agent bandwagon fans and anyone else you can think of will be a potential watcher.

This is a good thing. Top-of-mind awareness and all that. It makes everyone feel good about the program. We will have that fresh Good Enough For National Television smell. Hell, we might even get a mention or two on talk radio, which could in turn put us in the ear of the all-important Male 18-54 demographic that pays and buys everything ever.

This is an amazing opportunity.

What you should do:

Dress up. I mean, you will be on National Television. Look good. You might get GIF’D and appear on the internet.  You’ll want to choose wisely the outfit you wear as you enter immortality.

The Opponent:

We play Louisiana-Lafayette. Who are they? No one special. I mean if you are the casual follower of football you might remember they played some BCS conference foe or somesuch. Nothing special . . . to those types of schools. To us? They are the conference leaders at 2-0. They played Troy in Alabama and won 37-24. You might remember Troy as the team we lost to at home. ULL also beat up on FIU which isn’t particularly special because everyone is doing that.

They are leading the conference. We are 1-1, thanks the to the aforementioned Trojan loss and that FAU win.

Standings:

Conference Overall
Rk School W L W-L% W L W-L%
1 Western Kentucky 2 0 1.000 5 1 .833
1 Louisiana-Lafayette 2 0 1.000 4 1 .800
1 Louisiana-Monroe 2 0 1.000 4 2 .667
4 Middle Tennessee State 2 1 .667 4 2 .667
4 Arkansas State 2 1 .667 4 3 .571
6 Troy 2 2 .500 3 3 .500
6 North Texas 1 1 .500 2 4 .333
8 Florida Atlantic 0 3 .000 1 5 .167
8 South Alabama 0 2 .000 1 5 .167
8 Florida International 0 3 .000 1 6 .143
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CFB: View Original Table
Generated 10/14/2012.

 

You can probably see that the 2-4 overall record we have is not really impressive, but the 1-1 conference record means we still have an outside shot of winning this thing. Troy dropped this week’s game to Western Kentucky so they have two conference losses. WKU takes on ULM next weekend in a battle of the unbeaten, which will put one squad at one conference loss. We’ll have both WKU and ULM in late November.

What does all this mean? Well it means that assuming WKU and North Texas go undefeated, we’ll play for our fifth and final Sun Belt Conference championship on Sat November 24th.

That is why this game is so huge. Every game from here on out means something. Playing LSU, Kansas State and  Houston were huge opportunities but meant little. You don’t get trophies for getting an upset. Oh, and by the way? Winning out means we’ll get to 8 wins. I’ll go ahead and say that will put us in a bowl game barring some shenanigans. Let me repeat: BOWL GAME.

Louisiana is a good team that has a good offense. Despite what you saw (or heard) about that Houston disaster, we have a decent enough defense. When our run game is clicking, and Derek Thompson is putting the ball within catching distance, we have a pretty solid team to put out there.

It will take some doing, and probably and amazing play from Brelan Chancellor (BRELAN!!) and company, but this iteration of North Texas football is a lot better than the ones you are used to seeing. It would be a huge advance well ahead of schedule in Dan McCarney’s rebuilding project but it would by no means be outside the possibility zone.

There will likely be no Sunbelt championship, nor a bowl game if North Texas does not seize this chance at Apogee, on national television in front of a raucous crowd. The athletic department has done everything short of scheduling mandatory classes on Tuesday night to get people there.

So go. Go and cheer and yell and do all you can to help this team win. Now you know how important this game is.

More on ULL:

Terrance Broadway took over from Blake Gautier after the latter went down to injury. He has played marginally better even if against worse competition (Tulane is awful, win over SMU notwithstanding). They are good against the run (our strength) and pretty decent themselves totin’ the rock. That means they are 19th nationally at 107 yards allowed and 40th at 190 ypg running. We rank 79th (177 ypg allowed) and 51st ( 175ypg running).

They’ve won five straight against us including last years’ 30-10 win in Louisiana. They got some votes in the Coaches’ poll. You would think that is impressive but consider Texas Tech, fresh off kicking WVU’s ass, didn’t receive votes in six ballots.

So don’t worry about that mess.

Also, if you see them wearing pink that’s because they are doing the Breast cancer awareness thing too. I haven’t heard if we’ll be doing the same though.

Game time: 8pm central

TV: ESPN 2