Yes, that special time of the year has arrived when we here on the MGB make the call for UNT fans put their pride and their prognostication skills on the line for the whole world — or at least those who follow the Mean and the Green — to see online.
Guys, it’s time to “Get Your Rear on the Record”
I started this little tradition several years ago when I would run into people who would tell me this is going to be the big year, the one UNT was going to win eight or nine games, in the fall while standing around watching practice in the 105 degree heat. Those same people would run for the hills from their picks by December.
The tradition’s grown since then. We had a record 122 people send in guesses last year, including 47 who hit it on the button when UNT finished 5-7 in the first year of the Dan McCarney era.
A lot of people like to use their handle on GoMeanGreen.com, the official unofficial on-line gathering place for UNT fans on that wonderful invention called the Internet when they send in their guesses. Here once again are last year’s winners, including Harry, the man pulling the levers behind GMG:
Grant Hawley (aka Pastor Grant), NC Mean Green, BenW, UNT_Rocket 9, Eagle83, Zachary Hallak, UNTlynchka, Robert M, J, Big Dawg, mgfan, Shoss, Joey H, Andrew Morris, Valley Boy, Lee, Side Show Joe, RBP7, Mn Grn in OK, MeanGreenTeacher, MeanGreenScrappy, T-Rock, Jmacafe, jm12, thatguy, Al mac, BobFam, Holla What, RealMeanGreen Matt, SC Peters, Muench, Greg, Harry, SeanH, Got5onit, GreenEgz&Ham, GYRTOR, Marty, OzarkEagle, Normal Boy OC, Mean Green Doc, Kyle, NT71, Rkbm6, StevenPettit
You probably see a lot of familiar names in there.
Mine is not one of them.
I was one off the mark last year when I guessed 4-8. I didn’t anticipate what a big difference McCarney would make after taking over for Todd Dodge.
So, why am I making the call today?
The Dallas Morning News has their run of college previews going on in the paper. Mine runs tomorrow, and I had to make the call.
So what did I guess?
I really struggled with going with 5-7 or 6-6.
I don’t see UNT beating LSU or Kansas State (no one does) and I don’t think UNT will beat Houston, either. Texas Southern is a gimme.
That leaves eight games, and anything could happen from there. UNT would have to go 5-3 to get to 6-6. I have a hard time seeing UNT beating Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette.
The Sun Belt did UNT a huge favor by giving the Mean Green a schedule without Florida International, a team UNT didn’t beat last year and likely wouldn’t beat this year, when it added South Alabama to the league slate. I was pretty surprised the Sun Belt did UNT that favor when it’s leaving stage left.
Even with that break, the whole season basically comes down to the Troy game Week 4. UNT finally beat the Trojans last season, but barely. UNT ran out the clock late in a 38-33 win. Troy has a ton back, including Corey Robinson, who might be the best passing quarterback in the league.
UNT has nothing back in the secondary except for Freddie Warner, who is coming off a major knee injury.
If UNT can beat Troy, it still has games at Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee late in the season. UNT had beaten WKU in all four meetings in the series, even with Dodge on the sideline for three of them, but the Hilltoppers kept landing loaded recruiting class after loaded recruiting class. I kept saying it would pay off, and it did. WKU beat UNT and finished 7-5 last season.
That game could be huge at the end of the season. It could be for a bowl berth.
When it came to time to put down a guess, I went with the homer pick of 6-6. That is a huge leap of faith considering all that UNT lost in the off-season. It could look really, really bad at the end of the year, especially if Troy bounces back, MTSU rallies and ULM takes advantage of having basically its whole team back.
Here’s the game-by-game:
LSU — L
Texas Southern — W
Kansas State — L
Troy — W
Florida Atlantic — W
Houston — L
Louisiana-Lafayette — L
Middle Tennessee — W
Arkansas State — L
South Alabama — W
Louisiana-Monroe — W
Western Kentucky — L
That looks pretty optimistic as I look at it.
UNT had a grand total of two players named to the preseason All-Sun Belt team, and one of them was the punter, Will Atterberry. Offensive lineman Cyril Lemon was the other. UNT’s defense will also have just three returning starters available at the beginning of the year. There are not a lot of playmakers coming back on either side of the ball with the exception of wide receiver Brelan Chancellor and linebacker Zach Orr.
I’m a firm believer that players are reasons Nos. 1, 2 and 3 why teams win games. Coaching helps, but it’s about the guys on the field.
So, why do it, go with 6-6?
I guess I have developed an unreasonable level of faith in McCarney and his coaching staff. There is no way that UNT should have won five games last year.
Still, somehow they did it.
On paper, UNT might be a 4-8 or 5-7 team again this year. UNT could lose to Troy and games at ULM and MTSU are going to be dangerous.
Lance Dunbar was basically UNT’s entire offense last year. The Mean Green could fall flat on its face offensively this year without him.
But I’ve said before that we are all on the Dan Wagon at this point.
He worked some magic last season. I’m going to go out on a huge limb and guess that he will do it again.
What do you think?
It’s time to send in your pick. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on the blog. I will keep a running list. I encourage people to use their names or what we all know you by from GMG, since that really is the point.
This is everyone’s chance at Internet glory.
Take the challenge.
Get Your Rear on the Record.