Bret Vito has the story over at the DRC. I also saw on twitter that NT offered UTEP the opportunity to come to Denton and play. They declined.
I cannot blame either side for this. The UTEP program obviously does not control the wider El Paso outbreak and at least Athletic Director Jim Senter felt that the game could proceed safely. North Texas’ program did not think that.
Considering the undertaking that is a football road trip, it makes sense that the NT football team was not super excited about going to El Paso and staying in El Paso hotels, helped by El Paso workers in an area where the virus has spread rapidly. The city is shipping patients to San Antonio to relieve their hospitals, according to the Express-News.
Offering UTEP a free trip to Denton made sense, but still carried risks. I can understand why UTEP simply refused it. Competitively, they would be playing away, and also a trip across Texas has its own COVID risks. It simply makes good sense to postpone this game considering everything.
North Texas is coming off a bye week. The last time they played, they destroyed MTSU in the second half on the strength of Jason Bean’s play. It was an incredible display of talent and everyone has been excited to see what he can do next, especially against an opponent of UTEP’s caliber. They simply are not very good right now.
The league overall is in a valley of relative competitiveness. That is to say it just ain’t very good from top to bottom. The best teams are clearly Marshall and UAB and even they have a few problems. North Texas is still a ways from competing with those programs in all three phases but possess an explosive offense that puts them in any game.
For now, we will have to wait and see what will happen to this game. Word is that they are attempting to reschedule. The league pushed back the conference title game to Friday, December 18th. That does not leave much time to make up these games. Ideally, NT would have known it was going to postpone this game and could find a make-up partner. No such luck.
We wrote before this season that the threshold for success would be lower. Simply getting through this season with no permanent impact from COVID (read: deaths, lasting injury) was the goal. Whoever wins the conference title will have that to celebrate but it is a small thing compared to surviving the pandemic.
North Texas will have another week off. Fire up your playstations.