Not all wins are equal when it comes college athletics, no matter the one-game-at-a-time mantra one hears from time to time.
UNT’s win over Rice last night was huge. There is no doubt about it.
The Mean Green still had plenty of time to reach the six-win mark and become bowl-eligible even if it had lost to Rice last night. UNT took care of business when it had the opportunity against an in-state rival in front of a home crowd and a national television audience instead. There is no way to overstate the value in that scenario.
UNT became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2004 with a dramatic 28-16 win over the Owls. Here is my game story from last night and our slide show. We didn’t get as much into the paper as we usually do because of a late kickoff and a bit of a space crunch.
At times it has seemed like UNT was pushing a boulder up a hill in terms of improving its team and getting fans to jump on and lend their support the last few years. We might have reached the point where that boulder is starting to roll downhill.
UNT is 6-3 on the season and 4-1 in Conference USA play. UTEP and UTSA come to town for UNT’s next two games. It’t not hard to imagine UNT being 8-3 heading into its regular season finale at Tulsa. A bowl game looks like almost a certainty now.
And it can’t come at a better time for UNT.
One could have made a case coming into the year that 2013 was really do-or-die time for the Mean Green. It was Dan McCarney’s third year and the end of the road for several core members of his team — Brelan Chancellor, Zach Orr and Derek Thompson to name a few.
Those players have now led UNT to four straight wins and ensured the Mean Green of finishing at least .500 for the first time since 2004.
UNT punctuated the win with an eight-play goal-line stand, one of the best anyone will ever see in college football — or any other level of football for that matter.
That series added just a little more excitement on a night full of it.
UNT is on a roll — one that came at the perfect time for the Mean Green.