Monday afternoon notes (UNT shows up in countdown, et cetera)

North Texas checked in at No. 65 in USA Today's countdown of the top teams in college football heading into the 2014 season largely due to the culture established by head coach Dan McCarney.

One of the cool features that several nationally prominent newspapers and websites have come up with over the last few years are countdowns of all the FBS teams in college football.

USA Today is among them and finally arrived at its ranking for UNT today. UNT checks in at No. 65.

Be sure to check out Paul Myerberg’s take. It’s one I mostly agree with that boils down to a couple of key points — 1. UNT had a really good year in 2013 and has established a winning culture, 2. UNT has a pretty easy schedule and has a shot at winning seven or eight games.

It’s a reasonable pick.

Seven games I can see being a distinct possibility. Winning eight means UNT wins every game it should. That almost never happens. UNT will be an underdog at Texas, at Indiana, at Rice and at UTSA and will be in a dog fight at home against SMU. Florida Atlantic at home could be a challenge as well.

We have not gotten to the “Get Your Rear on the Record” contest yet, but 8-4 means everything goes UNT’s way again — for a second straight year. UNT finishing 7-5 would also be a really, really good season. I could definitely see that happening. I’m just saying its optimistic with a new quarterback and a new front seven on defense.

While we are on the topic of football, here’s a tidbit we haven’t pointed out on the blog yet: Plano Prestonwood will play Episcopal on Aug. 30 at Apogee.

It’s great publicity for UNT to have high school games on campus, not to mention a great recruiting tool.

And finally, on the basketball front, I talked to new UNT transfer guard J-Mychal Reese and his father last night for a story that will appear in tomorrow’s paper. There is an interesting back story — there always is.

I did ask about UNT’s appeal for immediate eligibility. The Reese family feels pretty optimistic about it.

“We are shooting to be able to play this year,” J-Mychal Reese said. “Coach Benford was saying that there are a lot of guys coming in and a lot of guys graduating. There is an opportunity for playing time. That caught my attention.”

Reese also seriously considered transferring to Louisiana-Lafayette. He talked to a lesser extent with Memphis and Baylor.

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