The 2014 season is quickly becoming a weekly television event for North Texas.
UNT began the week knowing that more than half of its games would be televised and saw that number grow Thursday, when Conference USA annouced a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group.
The group will broadcast 100 C-USA events in the next two years, including four UNT games this fall. The Mean Green’s games agaisnt Nicholls State (Sept. 20), UAB (Oct. 11), Southern Mississippi (Oct. 18) and Florida International (Nov. 22) will be broadcast by Sinclair.
UNT’s games against Nicholls, UAB and FIU will kick off at 2:30 p.m. The Mean Green’s game agianst Southern Miss will begin at 6 p.m.
UNT also will have games broadcast by Fox, CBS and the Longhorn Network, which will carry the Mean Green’s Aug. 30 opener at Texas. The Longhorns will make their highly anticipated debut under new coach Charlie Strong against the Mean Green.
UNT’s home opener against SMU on Sept. 6 will be nationally televised by Fox Sports, while its C-USA opener against Louisiana Tech on Thursday, Sept. 11 will be carried by CBS Sports Network.
UNT coach Dan McCarney knew earlier this year that the Mean Green would have plenty of chances to capture national attention through televised games. The opportunity is one he welcomed.
“Ninty-eight percent of the country will want to see what Charlie Strong and the Longhorns do in their first game,” McCarney said. “A few people may want to check out the Mean Green.”
UNT capitalized on its opportunities on television last year, when the Mean Green finished 9-4 and beat UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
UNT’s bowl win, just the third in program history, was broadcast on ESPNU. The Mean Green also beat Rice at Apogee Stadium in a Haloween night game that was televised nationally on Fox Sports 1.
One of UNT’s biggest wins of the year — a 34-27 victory over Ball State — was shown on FSN. The Mean Green also gained national attention when it was locked in a 21-all tie in the third quarter of a televised game against national power Georiga before the Bulldogs pulled away for a 45-21 win.
“We played our way onto TV,” McCarney said of last season, when UNT ended up having 11 of its 13 games televised. “If you are exciting and successful, go to Georgia and tie them up in the third quarter and beat a Ball State team that won nine games, guess what — you are going to get on TV some more.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.