North Texas 2016 schedule
|Sept. 17||at Florida|
|Sept. 24||at Rice|
|Oct. 1||Middle Tennessee|
|Oct. 22||at Army|
|Oct. 29||at Texas-San Antonio|
|Nov. 5||Louisiana Tech|
|Nov. 12||at Western Kentucky|
|Nov. 19||Southern Miss|
|Nov. 26||at UTEP|
Conference USA released its full 2016 football schedule today, which gives us a chance to look at North Texas slate.
The big question in the last few weeks was what the Mean Green’s crossover games against teams from C-USA’s East Division would be. UNT was dealt the tough hand of having to play Marshall, Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee last season.
All three of those teams played in bowl games in 2015. Marshall and WKU both won, knocking off UConn and South Florida, respectively. MTSU lost to Western Michigan.
UNT is in the same boat this year with games against those same teams. The sites just flipped.
UNT lost to all three of those teams last year by a combined score of 126-48.
The good news is that UNT has six home games after having just five last season.
UNT also stuck with the format it has followed for scheduling in nonconference play. The games have been in place for a long time and are — the Mean Green’s annual showdown with rival SMU, a body bag/opportunity game at Florida, an FCS team for what should be a sure home win against Bethune-Cookman and a game against another lower level team in the FBS ranks in Army.
All and all, it’s not a terrible schedule.
Here are a few thoughts …
1. UNT had better make some hay early
UNT will open against SMU at home. The Mean Green beat the Mustangs 43-6 the last time the teams met at Apogee Stadium back in 2014. There were plenty of games UNT could point to last season as the juncture at which things really started to go south in a 1-11 season. Being beaten soundly by the Mustangs 31-13 in Dallas is among them. UNT could really do itself a favor by opening with a win over the Mustangs and then going 2-0 with a win over Bethune-Cookman. It’s an attainable goal.
2. The end of the season will be tough
UNT will face Louisiana Tech, travel to WKU, host Southern Miss and then travel to UTEP to close the season. LA Tech is coming off a 9-4 season and win over Arkansas State in the New Orleans Bowl. The Hilltoppers and Golden Eagles are expected to be two of the top teams in C-USA this season and road games are never easy, especially not to El Paso at the end of the year. That is a tough stretch for the Mean Green.
3. At least UNT’s bye is well timed
UNT had a bye in the opening week of the season and then played 12 straight games last year. That brutal schedule caught up with the Mean Green late in the year when UNT seemed to run out of gas. UNT will get a break after tough home games against MTSU and Marshall before a trip to Army on Oct. 22. UNT will need the break at that point, especially considering the Mean Green must travel to rival Texas-San Antonio the week after their game against the Black Knights.