When Dan McCarney arrived at UNT before the 2011 season, he talked a lot about changing the culture of the program and taking the Mean Green places its never been.
McCarney has followed through in pretty fine fashion. UNT won a bowl game for just the third time in school history last season, putting the Mean Green in position to progress toward matching some of the accomplishments of the great New Orleans Bowl run of the early to mid 2000s beginning this fall. UNT played in four straight bowl games starting in 2001.
The release of the USA Today poll this morning established another opportunity for McCarney and his team. The Longhorns are ranked No. 24 nationally. UNT will open in Austin when the Mean Green will have a chance to break a 36-game losing streak against ranked teams.
UNT last beat a ranked team in 1974, when the Mean Green knocked off San Diego State.
UNT is 1-45 all-time against ranked teams and suffered some tough losses along the way, including a 79-10 loss to Oklahoma in 2007 and a 65-0 loss at Texas in 2004.
The Mean Green has come a lot closer to breaking through since McCarney’s arrival, falling 45-21 to Georgia in a game that was tied in the third quarter last season. UNT fell to Kansas State 35-21 two years ago.
McCarney said last night at UNT’s event for Mean Green Club members that his team is heading to Austin for more than just a $875,000 payday. UNT is heading to Austin to win.
History says reaching that goal will be a challenge for UNT. The Mean Green is 0-9 against the Longhorns.
McCarney is out to change that, just like so many other aspects of UNT’s program that has undergone a dramatic transformation in his short time at the school.