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One more time: A look at UNT's football scheduling moves

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Brett Vito, Staff Writer

North Texas has made a couple of moves in terms of its football schedule over the last few weeks.

Two games in the Mean Green's long-term series with Army have been removed and a home-and-home series with Liberty has been added.

Old Dominion signed on for a big payday to play Liberty at home at about the same time, which added to the intrigue involving UNT's plans.

A couple of people have asked for me to run through where UNT stands again and clear up any confusion, especially since some national websites still have conflicting information posted.

First, a quick point: Scheduling for a G5 program is not an easy exercise. Schools have to try to balance scheduling winnable games that inch a team toward bowl-eligibility, high-interest games that bring fans out to home venues, games where their teams have a chance to pull attention-grabbing upset wins that can vault a program forward and money games that help fund a program.

UNT athletic director Wren Baker has said from Day 1 that he is aware of the challenges the school faces and wants to navigate those issues to get the Mean Green to a better place.

He already has a home-and-home series with Texas Tech on the schedule. Granted, it's a few years out -- 2024 and 2027 -- but it's still a huge win for UNT. 

With that being said, here's where things stand ...

-- I have double-checked --actually triple-checked -- the 2018 and 2019 games with Army are the ones UNT is set to drop as part of its larger plan. I have written confirmation of that fact.

-- I have the Liberty contract in hand. UNT will play at Liberty on Sept. 22, 2018 and host the Flames on Oct. 9, 2021. UNT DID NOT MAKE A STRAIGHT ARMY-FOR-LIBERTY TRADE.

When one fits all the pieces into place, what it means is this, and plenty of people have pointed it out.

The Mean Green now have an opening on their home schedule for the 2019 season.

UNT will host Abilene Christian  and travel to SMU and Wisconsin that fall.

School officials continue to work on moving the chess pieces around and are in discussions with several schools about future games. Every school is. It's part of the deal.

The question is who UNT will get to fill that 2019 slot. Could it end up being a good regional G5-type school like Houston, Tulsa or Tulane? Or how about a P5 school that recruits Texas heavily? Kansas State has played at UNT in the past. Kansas is another school that recruits Texas.

The bottom line is what I have gone back to in some earlier thoughts on the topic -- It's time to show a little patience.

Playing Liberty might not be the most attractive proposition out there, but the game offers UNT a chance to pick up a win and move closer to becoming bowl-eligible. Old Dominion may have made out like a bandit monetarily in its deal with Liberty, but didn't get a return game. It's going on the road for a paycheck. 

While the Old Dominion-Liberty game isn't a traditional payday game, it's still a payday game. UNT is trying to get away from those types of deals.

Home-and-home series like the one UNT is playing with Liberty almost never include a payout for either team.

Army is an attractive opponent, but there are other schools out there who would also bring fans to Apogee and give UNT a chance to play a high-profile opponent.

We will just have to wait and see what transpires as UNT looks to fill its opening for a home game in 2019.

It should be worth the wait.