Dallas sports fans have a reputation for fickleness. So now, with the Mavericks rebuilding, the Stars thoroughly mediocre, the Rangers a long ways from contention, and the Cowboys plummeting off a cliff, some of us may be looking for a winner, if only for our own mental health. We’ll have to look beyond professional sports.
Look north. Find the underdog university, its scrappy and lovable football team, the team North Texas needs right now. Then hop on this Mean Green (7-1, 9-3) bandwagon before UNT plays for what would be its first Conference USA title on Saturday at Florida Atlantic. It’s nice up here. The following bullet points come straight from the official Mean Green Bandwagon Fan Recruitment Literature.
- Believe in Mason Fine, Damn It. The Mean Green’s sophomore quarterback is generously listed as 5’11, and his small stature is often cited as one of the reasons every FBS school passed on recruiting him despite his sterling high school record in small town Oklahoma. Maybe it’s the enormous chip on his shoulder that has made Fine so effective this season, leading the conference in passing touchdowns and setting a UNT single-season record for the same. Fine is the ultimate Nobody Believed In Me quarterback playing for the Nobody Believed In Us team.
- This Game-Winning Drive from October:
4th Quarter. 1:07 left. 98 yards. No timeouts.@ESPN Win Probability: 1.7%
Relive @MeanGreenFB's game-winning drive 👇 pic.twitter.com/HADkzyoWGG
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) October 15, 2017
- There Is Only One Mean Green. UNT diehards will quibble about the exact origins of the name, and will let you know near immediately if you get that history wrong, but “Mean Green” being an absolutely killer name is indisputable. And after settling up with Michigan State earlier this year, there is definitively and legally only one.
- The Seth Littrell Era Has Hopefully Only Just Begun. In his second season as head coach, Littrell has the Mean Green in contention for their first conference title since 2004, when UNT still competed in the Sun Belt Conference. Now we get a chance to see how he can recruit and build on what the Denton Record-Chronicle’s Mean Green beat writer Brett Vito is calling “one of the best campaigns in program history.” You might be able to stay on this bandwagon for a while. (The flipside to this is that Littrell, who quickly transformed a team that went 1-11 in 2015, is going to get snapped up by a bigger program at some point.) And, while this is not an original observation, Littrell looks remarkably similar to the coach on the television version of Friday Night Lights. Inspiring.
- REVENGE. Florida Atlantic beat the Mean Green 69-31 earlier this year. UNT can get payback this weekend in the title game. (Whatever happens Saturday, the Mean Green are still going bowling this year.)
- Who Doesn’t Love a Scrappy Underdog? Jerks, that’s who. Attendance at home games in Denton is still pretty miserable, and even your friends who went to North Texas wear UT and A&M gear. There’s plenty of room on this bandwagon. Keep riding until next season and get cheap tickets to a home game at Apogee Stadium. Tell your friends you were a fan before it was cool.
- UNT Homecoming Parties Are So Lit That Floors Collapse.
- These Black Jerseys Look Great.
- You Can Throw Up an Eagle Claw With Your Hand and Say “CAW” Whenever You Want. It’s tradition.
The Mean Green are on the road Saturday to play the Owls, with kickoff at 11 a.m. Broadcast is on ESPN2.