Standout running back Lance Dunbar and new coach Dan McCarney anchor North Texas' poster schedule. Dunbar has 2,931 rushing yards the past two seasons and McCarney knows how to win with the odds stacked against him, having coached for 12 seasons at Iowa State and leaving as the program's all-time leader in wins (56) and bowl appearances (five).
Todd Dodge returns for his fourth season as coach, but the Mean Green will have to show serious improvement if he is to return for a fifth. North Texas is 5-31 under Dodge, and he must find a new starter at quarterback after his son, Riley, suffered an injury to his right passing arm in the 2009 finale against Arkansas State. Riley never recovered enough arm strength to remain a viable passer and was moved to receiver during spring drills. This is the final season the team will play in Fouts Field. A new on-campus facility that will seat between 30,000 and 35,000 will be ready for 2011. Poster designed by Old Hat Creative. Thanks to Jamie!
As a run up to the start of the season, the Wiz will display one poster each day until our supply is exhausted. Last year, the site displayed a record 69 posters.
Then we turn it over to readers, who will vote on the poster of the year. Until then, send your team's poster schedule to jayzuma (at) gmail.com.
Wiz correspondent Greg Laughlin kicked off the season Thursday night in Muncie, Ind., where the hometown Ball State Cardinals played host to North Texas. It was jumping before kickoff and not so much afterward because the Mean Green scored a surprising 20-10 victory.
There are more photos after the jump, and if you want to view the entire album, click here.
The Mean Green finished 1-11 in 2008 and Todd Dodge is 3-21 in two seasons as coach. It won't be any easier in 2009. North Texas is projected to finish last in the Sun Belt Conference. Nonconference games include road tests at Ball State and Alabama and home games against Ohio and Army. Poster designed by Old Hat Creative.
If you're looking for the worst team in Division I-A, the Mean Green of North Texas have to be near the top of the list.
A season after giving up 74 points to Navy (see scoreboard below), North Texas surrendered a mind-boggling 77 to Rice last Saturday. The difference between the games? The Mean Green managed to score 62 against the Midshipmen but only 20 against the Owls.
"Rice called the dogs off in the fourth quarter. The Owls basically ran the ball to the middle of the field and fell down every time they had the chance.
"Rice head coach David Bailiff actually tried to apologize to UNT head coach Todd Dodge after the game.
"That's a bad sign for UNT.
"Another bad sign for the Mean Green, [Rice's] Jarett Dillard and Chase Clement received a helmet sticker on ESPN's college football show late Saturday night for torching UNT's secondary."
Vito asks if the honeymoon is over for Dodge, who parlayed a successful run as a Texas prep coach into the North Texas job.
"Judging from my e-mail and the comments on the blog, it seems like people are starting to question what is going on with the Mean Green, and they are not being blasted for it by a horde of torch-carrying Dodge supporters.
"Greg weighed in today with this gem: 'To all those who thought hiring a high-school coach was a good idea, I hate to say it: 'Told you so.' "
Up next for North Texas is Florida International, which defeated the Mean Green, 38-19, last Dec. 1 — the final game played at the Orange Bowl. That victory ended the Golden Panthers' 23-game losing streak.
To make matters worse for North Texas, Florida International suddenly has momentum. It is coming off a 35-19 victory at Toledo. When the team arrived back on campus Sunday at 5 a.m., it was met by 200 fans at a pep rally.