Mean Green Remain In First, In Control
Loss Doesn't Change North Texas' Path To Division Title
DENTON - A week ago, Conference USA's West Division standings were nice and orderly, with the Mean Green alone in first place. Then Saturday happened.
But as disappointing as the loss in Boca Raton was, North Texas not only remains in first place in the West, it remains the only team in the division in control its own destiny.
The Mean Green are tied with Southern Miss for the division lead, each 3-1 in C-USA play, but North Texas owns a tie-breaker advantage by virtue of its win over the Golden Eagles in Hattiesburg. That means Southern Miss still needs help to reach the C-USA championship game.
For the Mean Green, the division race is unchanged: win their final four C-USA games and they win the West. No help needed. No worrying about the out-of-town scoreboard. Just take care of business.
UAB, UTSA and Louisiana Tech are effectively just one game back, but all are down tie-breakers to North Texas and/or Southern Miss, so their hopes hinge the leaders losing two more games. UAB (2-2) missed a chance to close on the top spot last weekend when it suffered a 25-24 overtime loss at previously-winless Charlotte.
Louisiana Tech (1-2) had control of its own destiny until last weekend, when its 27-16 fourth-quarter lead evaporated in the closing minutes and Southern Miss pulled out a 34-27 overtime win. Now the Bulldogs to win through a stretch of games that includes North Texas, Florida Atlantic and UTSA while hoping Southern Miss stumbles.
The key games the rest of the way (all times central):
Old Dominion at North Texas (5:30 p.m.)
UAB at Southern Miss (6:00)
North Texas at Louisiana Tech (2:30)
Florida Atlantic at Louisiana Tech (2:30)
UTEP at North Texas (4:00)
UAB at UTSA (6:00)
Marshall at UTSA (6:00)
North Texas at Rice (noon)
Southern Miss at Marshall (1:30)
UTSA at Louisiana Tech (tba)
C-USA championship game