Just how big does the ASU game become now?

I just finished up talking with the guys over at A-State Nation on their radio show and one of them brought up an interesting question: What the heck was UNT thinking scheduling Arkansas State for homecoming?

Remember, that was their question, not a statement I made on UNT’s scheduling decisions.

My answer was simple — There is a lot more that goes into scheduling homecoming than picking out a team it looks like one your football team can beat on paper. UNT will be the underdog at home, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that UNT could pull this one out. No one thought that UNT could beat Louisiana-Lafayette at home earlier this season either.

Winning this game would be huge for UNT for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the homecoming crowd should be pretty big and include a lot of people who don’t usually show up for football games. It’s a chance to capture the attention of potential new fans. UNT had lost four straight homecoming games before beating Louisiana-Monroe on homecoming last year.

UNT can also keep its dream of ending its string of seven straight losing seasons and becoming bowl-eligible with a win. The Mean Green is sitting there at 3-5 with a brutal closing stretch coming up and one of its top players — wide receiver Brelan Chancellor — out for the rest of the year. A loss wouldn’t officially end UNT’s bowl hopes and a win wouldn’t guarantee anything, but it sure would help matters.

And then there is the recruiting factor. UNT will have players in on visits this weekend, including Muenster linebacker Andy Flusche. UNT officials have been talking about what they have to sell as a program now with the move to Conference USA next season and a new football stadium and a new coaching staff.

The bottom line is that none of that is going to matter a whole heck of a lot unless UNT wins some games. UNT is going to have a tough time winning many the rest of the way with trips to Louisiana-Monroe and Western Kentucky coming up to end the season. A home game against South Alabama should result in a win, but the bottom line is UNT is running out of chances to impress the recruits this team needs to win down the line.

Put them all together and UNT has a ton of reasons to look at this game as a pretty important one.

UNT doesn’t want to end up having people looking back at the decision to schedule ASU for homecoming as an unfortunate turn of events, like the guys at A-State Nation suggested it might be today, even though I can completely see their reason for posing that question.