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UNT turns attention to bowl

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Brett Vito, Staff Writer

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- North Texas officials were waiting to see what would transpire Saturday, not only with its game but a host of others that will determine where the Mean Green head for bowl season.

UNT fell to Florida Atlantic 41-17 in the Conference USA title game at FAU Stadium and sat at 9-4.

The Mean Green will announce where they are headed Sunday afternoon.

A UNT source with knowledge of the situation laid out the program's preferences in terms of bowls prior to the game.

The Mean Green's first choice would be playing a team from a Power Five conference.

If that option is not available, UNT's next choice would be playing in the New Orleans Bowl.

UNT played in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in the 2013 and 2016 seasons in its last two bowl appearances.

FAU will have first choice of bowls with a C-USA tie-in after winning the conference title. UNT will have second choice.

There is the possibility that bowls will trade teams to find the most favorable matchups that will attract the largest crowds.

"It's a great opportunity," UNT coach Seth Littrell said of playing in a bowl. "One of our major goals since I have been here is to win a bowl. Not many [UNT] teams have won 10 games. We want to send our seniors out the right way."

UNT will make history when it accepts that bowl bid. The Mean Green have not played in bowl games in consecutive seasons since UNT Athletic Hall of Fame coach Darrell Dickey led UNT to four straight appearances in the New Orleans Bowl from 2001-04.

C-USA has six primary bowl tie-ins plus a secondary tie-in with the Independence Bowl. Those bowls will be played Dec. 16 through Dec. 27.

The New Orleans Bowl is among the games that will be played Dec. 16 and pits a C-USA team against a team from the Sun Belt Conference.

The Mean Green were already turning their attention to their bowl game shortly after falling to FAU.

"We will come in Sunday, learn from it, get better and move on to our bowl game," quarterback Mason Fine said of UNT's loss to FAU. "We will get better. One of our goals is to be bowl champions."

UNT will find out where it will chase that goal Sunday afternoon.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.