Thoughts on C-USA poll, all-league team

Conference USA released its preseason all-league team and poll earlier today.

We talked a little bit about the basics on the blog this morning.

Now that I’ve had some time to do a little digging, here are a few facts that should put where UNT stands in better perspective:

1. This is the first time since 2009 that UNT has not had a player named to the preseason all-league coaches’ team.

2. UNT and UTEP were the only teams in C-USA that didn’t have at least one player named to the squad.

We can spend all day talking about the obvious. Preseason polls and teams don’t matter.

It’s where you finish the season.

We can also go over the case for Zach Orr. UNT’s star linebacker had a good case to be included on the all-league, one I go over briefly in the story that will be in tomorrow’s paper.

But the bottom line remains, it’s not a good sign to start out as a decided underdog.

Let’s take the 2009 season as an example.

UNT had one player named first-team All-Sun Belt (which equates to the preseason all-conference team) after striking out on the preseason team — running back Lance Dunbar, who burst onto the scene. The Mean Green finished 2-10.

Teams exceed expectations all the time, but the more common outcome is for teams to finish in the neighborhood of where they are picked.

UNT was picked to finish eighth in the Sun Belt last year. Mean Green fans screamed that UNT was better than that, that preseason polls are never right and that things would be dramatically different at the end of the year.

UNT finished seventh.

In 2011, UNT was picked to finish sixth. Mean Green fans screamed that UNT was better than that, that preseason polls are never right and that things would be dramatically different at the end of the year.

UNT finished fifth.

In 2010, UNT was picked to finish eighth. Mean Green fans screamed that UNT was better than that, that preseason polls are never right and that things would be dramatically different at the end of the year.

UNT finished in a tie for sixth with three teams, who finished sixth, seventh and eighth.

In 2009, UNT was picked to finish eighth. Mean Green fans screamed that UNT was better than that, that preseason polls are never right and that things would be dramatically different at the end of the year.

UNT finished eighth.

Ok, you get my point.

Teams break out and overcome expectations. I’m sure people will cite a few examples.

Dan McCarney talks all the time about the experience of exceeding expectations and doing what no one thinks you can. He says it’s very special.

There’s a reason why.

It’s the exception to the rule, if you look at the big picture.

UNT’s got a shot to find out just how special that kind of experience it is after the C-USA poll came out.

That poll left zero doubt that UNT will be an underdog this season.

It’s up to UNT and McCarney — who has a history of reviving downtrodden programs — to prove everyone wrong and exceed expectations.

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