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On eve of C-USA title game, all signs point to UNT heading to New Orleans

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Brett Vito, Staff Writer

We are now just hours away from the Conference USA title game and North Texas' showdown with Florida Atlantic.

The Mean Green will have a chance to avenge their 69-31 loss to to the Owls earlier this season and build on a what has been a terrific 9-3 season.

UNT will head to a bowl game after that. All signs point to the Mean Green playing in the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 16 against a Sun Belt Conference team.

Published reports have UNT as a lock for New Orleans. 

UNT has yet to confirm that. School officials won't announce where they are headed until they have a chance to make an announcement that will build excitement.

At this point, the chatter in college football circles has reached the point where it looks like UNT heading to New Orleans is a done deal no matter what happens tomorrow. Multiple people have indicated that is the case.

There are a lot of reasons the New Orleans Bowl makes a ton of sense for UNT.

First of all, UNT has a long history there. The Mean Green played in the New Orleans Bowl in four straight seasons under Hall of Fame coach Darrell Dickey from 2001-04. UNT beat Cincinnati in the 2002 edition of the game.

Quite frankly, UNT wouldn't be where it is as a program today without what Dickey and his players accomplished in that run. There are a host of UNT fans with fond memories of those games who would love to go back.

It will be a quick turnaround for UNT, but there is also something to be said for being in a game that isn't played around Christmas. C-USA has tie-ins with several games that are played either right before or right after the holiday.

Heading to New Orleans will give UNT's players and coaches a chance to enjoy Christmas.

UNT would face a Sun Belt Conference team in the New Orleans Bowl. UNT spent more than a decade in the league, which presents some positives and negatives.

The positive is that a game against a Sun Belt team would probably be one UNT stands a pretty good chance of winning.

One drawback is the school has tried to make the argument that it has moved to a higher level of competition in C-USA.  There is some truth in that. It will be harder to argue that point, though, if UNT falls to, let's say, Troy.

UNT also wouldn't have a chance to upset a Power Five conference team or post the kind of win that would draw national attention. 

The Mean Green would also be playing out of town and wouldn't have as many DFW fans there to see what Seth Littrell is building. UNT benefited from playing in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2013 and 2016.

The winner of tomorrow's game will have its choice of bowls, while the loser will pick second.

Nothing is guaranteed until the invitation is handed down, but it appears like UNT heading back to New Orleans is a done deal.