North Texas Mean Green 2023 College Football Preview
June 25, 2023
Record – 7-7
ATS – 8-6
It wasn’t all that bad as the Mean Green ended up at the .500 mark after losing to Boise St in a hard-fought Frisco Bowl (L 35-32). The inconsistency was maddening as they never won more than two games in a row, but to be fair, their longest losing streak was also two games.
The long reign of Seth Littrell has finally come to a conclusion. Let’s see what new HC Eric Morris has to work with in 2023.
North Texas Mean Green 2023 Outlook
Former QB Austin Aune typified the North Texas program in many ways. Flashes of extreme competency mixed with lots of “what was that?” (3,547, 56.5%, 33-15 TD to INT). The QB battle will go well into the summer and a small handful of doods are competing for the starting job including ULM transfer Chandler Rogers (24-10 career TD to INT) and backup STONE Earle. They’ve lost quite a bit of talent at WR/TE but they retain #1 WR Roderic Burns and WR Ja’Mori Maclin who emerged as a SPICY big play threat LY (23.8, 2 TD). The RB room is absolutely loaded as they boast three men who rushed for 500+ yards LY (16 TD). Note that the great PHIL STEELE rates the OL at #25 given that they feature 157 career starts in the unit. It’ll take some time to get accustomed to a new offensive system but they have the potential to be very productive.
After a decent showing in 2021 (#68 FBS total defense) the Mean Green took a major step backwards LY and ended the season ranked #116 vs the run (#198 YPG) and #98 in pass efficiency D. There will almost certainly be major bumps in the road this season as they implement a new defensive scheme whilst having to do battle without their top-three tacklers from 2022. Losing 2022 CUSA Defensive POY KD Davis (137 tackles LY) is a killer. This year they have a lot of returning experience up front but they’re lacking in size. Thankfully, DE Mazin Richards is a rising star (7.5 sacks, 12.5 TFL LY). The LB group is a mystery, but the secondary looks solid given the retention of three starters including 1st Team CUSA CB Ridge Texada who tallied an impossible 15 PBU (3 INT) in 2022. We believe they’ll show a little bit of improvement but they still need three or four quality pieces to develop into an above-average AAC stop unit.
RED ALERT. Things could get messy as they move on from the all-time leading Mean Green scorer in PK Ethan Mooney (18-21 FG LY) and they’ll be breaking in a new punter. On the plus side, KR Kaylon Horton booked a 99-yard KO return TD in 2022.
Overall – It’s a mixed bag, yo. The non-conference assignments are very reasonable (Cal, at FIU, at La Tech, Abilene Christian) but the AAC schedule is nasty. They’ve gotta find a way to navigate a four-game stretch of Tulane, Memphis, UTSA, and SMU.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Nothing overly-spooky is noted.
Season Win Total
Market consensus June 25
Over 6.5 -110
Under 6.5 -110
Even if they start 3-1, which is possible but not a given, they’d have to go 4-4 in AAC play to get to seven wins.
You can’t talk BOWL FUTILITY without mentioning North Texas. They’re an impossible 2-11 in bowl game action with their last win coming way back in the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl.
The fans in Denton get the FRESH START that so many of them have desperately wanted. New HC Eric Morris did a good job as the lead dog at Incarnate Word (24-18) and he got fine production from QB Cameron Ward whilst at Washington St in 2022. However, it’s gonna take some time to build consistency given the changes on offense and defense, and don’t forget that the watered-down AAC is still tougher than what they dealt with in Conference USA last year. We’ll call for six wins and an invite to a bowl game for the Mean Green. Let’s do itttttt!