Mean Green's Work Unfinished
One More Win Needed To Reinforce Bowl Hopes, Clinch West
DENTON - While the come-from-behind, 24-23 win over Louisiana Tech last Saturday was a huge step towards the Mean Green realizing their goals and exceeding expectations, North Texas has not quite finished its quest for a championship and a bowl berth.
The Mean Green need one more victory for that.
North Texas has vanquished the top contenders in Conference USA's West Division and is alone in first place with two league games remaining. If North Texas wins one more C-USA game, the worst it can finish in conference play is 6-2, which the pursuers could match but not surpass. Since the Mean Green own a head-to-head tiebreaker over all challengers, UNT would win any tie for the division crown. So one more victory clinches the West championship.
The Mean Green can get that clinching win this week at homecoming.
North Texas is now bowl eligible, a significant accomplishment but no guarantee of actually playing in a bowl. College football's bowl subdivision already has 71 teams at or within one win of bowl eligibility, with an additional 25 within two wins of the mark. That could add up to more than 80 bowl-eligible teams, but there are only 80 bowl berths this year, meaning some six-win teams could be left out. In 2017, seven appears to be a much more magic number.
The Mean Green can get that seventh win this week at homecoming.
Don't expect this year's homecoming opponent, UTEP, to be a pushover. The Miners are winless this year, but they were also underdogs last year in the regular-season finale against North Texas when the Mean Green were playing for bowl eligibility and UTEP was playing for nothing but pride. Pride won out that day, 52-24.
The North Texas-UTEP game will kickoff at 4 p.m. Saturday at Apogee Stadium, and tickets are on sale through the North Texas Ticket Office.
If the Mean Green reach the C-USA title game and/or a bowl game, tickets will be available through the North Texas Ticket Office, and Mean Green Club members will have priority for tickets to all postseason games.
The standings and key games the rest of the way in the West Division (all times central):
Florida Atlantic at Louisiana Tech (2:30)
UTEP at North Texas (4:00) UAB at UTSA (6:00)
Marshall at UTSA (6:00)
Florida International at Florida Atlantic (6:00) - key to the East Division race and to determining the West winners' opponent in the C-USA championship game.
Southern Miss at Marshall (1:30)
UTSA at Louisiana Tech (tba)
C-USA championship game