Jan. 7, 2014
DENTON, Texas - The reviews of the Mean Green's trip to the Heart of Dallas Bowl are showing that North Texas earned strong viewership as well as local and national media coverage from its 36-14 triumph over UNLV on New Year's Day at the Cotton Bowl.
The Heart of Dallas Bowl's attendance of 38,380 was better than 11 other bowl games this season. While difficult to quantify, that crowd - which was at least 90 percent North Texas fans - is almost certainly the largest crowd of Mean Green fans in North Texas athletics history.
The game also did well in local television ratings, averaging 106,520 viewers according to the Nielson ratings, which was comparable to ABC's telecast of the South Carolina-Wisconsin game (120,722) and was dramatically more than ESPN2's telecast of the Nebraska-Georgia game (63,912), both of which were played at roughly the same time as the North Texas-UNLV contest.
The Mean Green earned more than the cursory paragraph or two in newspapers, getting much more extensive coverage from national publications like USA Today, SI.com, FOXSports.com, ESPN, Yahoo Sports and major-market papers like the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Kansas City Star, and San Antonio Express.
The final accolade came Tuesday morning from the USA Today final college football poll, in which the Mean Green received votes. It's the first time since 2003 that North Texas has received votes in one of the national polls.
Heart of Dallas Helmet
North Texas unveiled its second special helmet of the season on the morning of the Heart of Dallas Bowl, revealing a black carbon-fiber helmet with a metallic green diving eagle logo. The helmet was kept a secret even from the players until they arrived at the Cotton Bowl.
The helmet drew rave reviews from Mean Green fans and were a big hit with North Texas players, who were trying them on in the lockerroom before changing into their uniforms prior to the game. Take a look at the photo gallery of images from the Heart of Dallas pre-game.
Photo Gallery - Heart of Dallas pre-game
Bowl Week A Roaring Success
The North Texas Athletic Department had several events scheduled for fans in the lead up to the game, and all of them drew enormous crowds.
The live remote radio broadcast on KTCK The Ticket 96.7 FM and 1310 AM drew a standing-room only crowd at Babb Brothers Barbeque in Dallas, and the pre-game tailgate in the 25,000-square-foot Embarcardero in Fair Park was packed.
Football Never Ends
Next up for North Texas is national-signing day on Feb. 5, followed by the annual Green-White spring game on Apr. 12, and the coaches' caravans in May.