Heart of Dallas Bowl
UNLV vs. North Texas
Jan. 1, 2014
Both UNLV and North Texas will be excited for this postseason berth since neither team has played beyond the regular season in quite some time. UNLV hasn’t played in a bowl since 2000 and North Texas last played a bowl game against Southern Miss in 2004.
Since then, success has been pretty limited for both programs. In fact, UNLV is coming off three consecutive seasons with just two victories and will play in their first bowl game outside of Las Vegas since 1984.
The Rebels turnaround has been pretty miraculous. They started the season 0-2 and then won seven of their final 10 games to earn a coveted bowl berth.
Both of these teams can score – both averaging about 31 points per game – but the defense will set them apart. UNLV has struggled mightily on defense this year allowing 31.5 points per game while North Texas is allowing a stingy 18.1 points per game. And the Mean Green are playing in Dallas, just a short drive from their home field in Denton, Texas, where they lost just one time this season.
I’m not 100 percent sure what a Mean Green is. I mean, I get that the name is derived from Mean Joe Greene, a defensive tackle on the football team in 1966, but the actual mascot is a green eagle named Scrappy. So, if it’s a mustachioed pistol-wielding man against Mean Joe Greene, I’m inclined to take Mean Joe Greene. But if it’s a mustachioed, pistol-wielding man against an eagle, the Rebels have the edge.
Graham: UNLV 35, North Texas 31. While North Texas has the better record, I’m leaning toward UNLV simply because of the strength of schedule. Toss the defensive stats out of the window, this will be a shootout and UNLV, which beat all of the teams it should have, will come away victorious.
Nick: North Texas 27, UNLV 20. Congratulatons North Texas, you get to stay in the Metroplex for your bowl game, which is somehow a New Year's Day game. Why is this a New Year's Day game? Anyway, Dan McCarney's team has got this.
Sam: North Texas 31, UNLV 23. North Texas has a solid team with a resume that includes wins over other bowl teams like Middle Tennessee, Rice and Ball State. UNLV can score, but I like the Mean Green to come out on top.
- - - - - - -