DENTON, Texas (3/01/07) – The University of North Texas released its 2007 football schedule today, Director of Athletics Rick Villarreal announced. North Texas will play a 12-game schedule which features five non-conference games to go along with the seven-game Sun Belt Conference schedule. Five of North Texas’ 12 opponents played in postseason bowl games following the 2006 season and three of the teams finished the regular season at the top of their respective conference standings.
"This schedule is an example or our effort to maintain regional and local rivalries and to continue to bring teams to Denton that our fans want to see," Villarreal said. "With the Sun Belt Conference producing multiple bowl teams our league games will continue to grow in significance and appeal. Add to that a team with the history and name recognition of Navy and our fans have a lot to look forward to."
The non-conference games are highlighted by regional contests against Oklahoma and Arkansas, both of which were highly-ranked throughout the 2006 season. The Mean Green will also play the second game of a two-game series with local-rival SMU. The marquee non-conference matchup for North Texas at Fouts Field will be Nov. 10, when the Mean Green will play Navy for the first time in school history. North Texas will also host Western Kentucky, which is in the transition to the Div. I Bowl Subdivision classification in an effort to become the ninth football-playing member of the Sun Belt Conference.
The Mean Green will begin the Todd Dodge era with the season-opener at Oklahoma on Sept. 1. It will be the fourth meeting with the Sooners in the last 10 years and the seventh meeting overall. Oklahoma finished 11-3 in 2006, winning the south division of the Big XII Conference and ending the season ranked No. 11. North Texas will continue its local rivalry with SMU Sept. 8, playing for the first time ever at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on the SMU campus. The Mean Green renewed the rivalry with the Mustangs in 2006, winning 24-6 in Denton. This will be the first time since 1992 that North Texas has played at SMU, where the Mean Green has not won since 1977.
The home-opener for the Mean Green this year will also be the conference opener against Florida Atlantic on Sept. 22. North Texas has never beaten Florida Atlantic, losing all three meetings since the 2004 season, including two in Denton. North Texas will battle its second ranked opponent when it travels to Arkansas on Sept. 29. The Razorbacks won the west division of the Southeastern Conference in 2006, finishing the season ranked No. 15 in the nation with a 10-4 overall record. It will be the ninth meeting all-time with Arkansas and the first since 2003. The Sun Belt Conference schedule gets into full swing on Oct. 6 with North Texas’ game at Louisiana-Lafayette. The Mean Green will then face Louisiana-Monroe at home on Oct. 13, followed by a game at Troy Oct. 20 and home against Middle Tennessee Oct. 27.
North Texas will welcome Navy to Denton for the first time ever on Nov. 10. The Midshipmen have been to four consecutive postseason bowl games, including a one-point loss to Boston College in the 2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl. The final three games of the season will be a Thursday night game at Arkansas State on Nov. 15, followed by the Thanksgiving weekend game at home against Western Kentucky and the season finale on the road at Florida International Dec. 1.