I’ve made the trip back from Monroe and have had some time to sort through some thoughts on UNT being blasted 42-16 by the Warhawks.
One comment after the game stuck with me.
Dan McCarney mentioned that everyone seems to get healthy — like Kolton Browning did for ULM last night — right before they play UNT.
Yep. This is what we like to call a post bowl era North Texas-ism. UNT has had no luck since the 2004 New Orleans Bowl, although the school created a lot of its own misery with one horrendous decision a few years ago.
Browning wasn’t quite himself. The Texas native couldn’t run as well as he usually does, but did torch UNT for 324 yards and three touchdowns. Brent Leonard, a former walk-on from Keller, caught eight balls for 93 yards.
There were two tough aspects to the game for UNT:
First off, UNT is now officially headed for its eighth straight losing season and will have to beat Western Kentucky on the road to match its 5-7 mark from last year. Selling progress to recruits is going to be tougher this year. UNT can point to fancy facilities all it wants. A big part of what players are looking for in college is a chance to play for a winner.
And secondly, UNT is going to have to sit and watch a bunch of Sun Belt teams head to bowl games. I sat next to a representative from the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl yesterday. ULM’s budget is $3.5 million and the Monroe is located in, well, Monroe. UNT is spending $6.1 million a year, just dropped $79 million on a football stadium, another million on a bridge to the stadium and is spending more on what I think is a pretty good coaching staff than it ever has before.
ULM coach Todd Berry is making $225,000 a year, according to this listing for the 2011 season in the South Florida Sun Sentinel
The Warhawks have the lowest budget in the FBS. UNT fans find losing to teams it outspends by a mile hard to deal with.
I’m not saying McCarney is doing a poor job, far from it. He is just working his way through a program that was a complete fiasco when he arrived.
The fact that so many key players are out for UNT is not helping, either. Losing Brelan Chancellor and Antoinne Jimmerson was a complete disaster.
UNT just has to hope this does not damage the long-term psyche of its fan base. I’m used to seeing irrational old timers come out every other week and project wins over teams that UNT is a huge underdog against like Houston and Middle Tennessee.
I don’t see that much any longer.
UNT has one more game and consecutive losing season No. 8 officially goes in the books. You just have to wonder if eight is enough to fill UNT fans with a sense of apathy that will be tough to overcome.