I have made the trek to Tennessee in advance of UNT’s game against Middle Tennessee tomorrow.
If you think about it, games against the Blue Raiders have often been milestones in UNT history. The Glory Days were ushered in with a win over MTSU in 2001, the first of 26 straight conference wins and four straight conference titles.
Think about where UNT would be today if that run had never happened.
It was pretty obvious the dark days were coming following another landmark game against MTSU. UNT suffered its first down year in the Sun Belt in 2005, when the 26-game streak ended after a season-opening win over the Blue Raiders. UNT looked like it might get back on track in 2006 when it beat SMU in the second game of the season.
UNT opened conference play at home against MTSU three weeks later, was whacked 35-0 and went on to finish 3-9.
And that brings us to this season. UNT is 2-1 in Sun Belt play, but is just 3-4 on the year and has games against the best teams in the Sun Belt — Louisiana-Monroe and Western Kentucky, not to mention Arkansas State — still on the slate.
Conventional wisdom — UNT loses tomorrow, it’s toast. Crispy toast. UNT wins tomorrow, it’s got a real shot to get to a bowl game.
And in a side note, watch out for special teams play tomorrow. MTSU specializes in blocking kicks. MTSU has blocked 46 kicks since moving up to the FBS level, including seven against UNT. MTSU has blocked more kicks against the Mean Green than anyone else.
UNT’s special teams have been bad at times this season.
The Mean Green has had just one kick blocked this season, and that came against Kansas State.
Still, it’s something to watch.