Looking Ahead While Looking Back: Georgia vs. North Texas, Never

Since the departure of Kyle Weblog, I have been going through Georgia football history withdrawal. I figured I would attempt to take Dawg Sports readers on an excursion throughout the glorious history of our program, but with a bit of a twist. I plan on launching a series where we will go through the 2013 football schedule with yours truly selecting a past memorable game against each foe, provided there has been one.

The Dawgs have never faced the North Texas Mean Green, so without further ado, I present you with... random interesting things about our future visitors from Denton, TX.

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via untsystem.edu

When I decided to launch this series, I looked at this game as a potential snag in my master plan, but decided I would incorporate some suggestions from commentors on my South Carolina post with some of the thoughts and ideas dancing around my own head over the past few days. Before composing this post, the only thing I knew about the University of North Texas was that they turned me down for a job a few years ago.

Reading up on the Mean Green, I found a few interesting tidbits that I considered worth sharing.

Conference Alignment

The Mean Green began playing football in 1913. Since 1932, they have won 25 conference crowns as members of the Lone Star, Gulf Coast, Missouri Valley, Southland and Sun Belt Conferences. While North Texas's conference membership over the years has been erratic, competing for conference crowns has been consistent. Yet another conference switch is in store for the Mean Green, most recently of the Sun Belt Conference from 2001-2012. They will come to Athens as a member of Conference USA in 2013.

Bowl Record

North Texas has done well in their various conferences but has not fared as well on the bowl scene, accruing a 1-5 record from 1948 to 2004.

Famous Football Alumni:

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via img.fanbase.com

Famous football alumni include: Abner Haynes, Ray Renfro, Richard Gill and hall-of-famer "Mean" Joe Greene (above), who besides having this connection to the state of Georgia, was a phenomenal defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1969 to 1981. Former Mean Green players in the NFL today include: Patrick Cobbs, Lance Dunbar, Jamize Olawale, Craig Robertson and Brian Waters. A not-so-famous-for-football-but-famous-for-something-else football alumnus of UNT is former professional wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

UNT vs. SEC

North Texas has a 2-29 record against teams from the Southeastern Conference. One of those two victories came against the Florida Gators in 1947; the other was against the Tennessee Volunteers in 1975. The Mean Green most recently faced the LSU Tigers in 2012, dropping a 41-14 contest in Baton Rouge on September 1.

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via greensource.construction.com

Recent Football History

The Mean Green brought home the Sun Belt championship from 2001-2004, but have not enjoyed as much success on the gridiron in recent memory, going 22-73 from 2005-2012. That said, UNT's football program has a sizable fan base and plays in beautiful Apogee Stadium (above), which opened in 2011.

Traditions

Eagle-claw_medium

via www.unt.edu

The Eagle Claw is formed by curling your thumb, index and middle fingers forward while leaving your ring and pinkie fingers closed against your palm. I'm really glad Georgia doesn't have a hand signal.

Boomer_medium

via www.unt.edu

Boomer, a scale replica of a Civil War cannon, is a staple at Apogee Stadium and has been fired following Mean Green touchdowns and at the end of quarters. If Colorado was able to bring Ralphie to Sanford Stadium, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of Boomer making an appearance on September 21.

Curfew-bell_medium

via www.unt.edu

UNT's Spirit Bell was brought to Denton from Michigan in 1891. The bell was used to signal class changes and evening curfew. Much like Georgia's chapel bell, the Spirit Bell was used to announce a Mean Green victory for years until it cracked. The bell's successor continues to appear at home games.

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via www.unt.edu

The Green Machine, which I liken to a less-ugly Ramblin' Wreck, is a green 1929 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan. Donated by an alumnus in the early 1970s, the Green Machine is driven at home football games, parades and other special occasions.

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via northtexan.unt.edu

Lighting the Tower. Following a Mean Green victory in any sport, special green floodlights bathe the Administration Building clock tower to signal victory.

Rivalries

SMU Mustangs (Safeway Bowl). SMU leads 28-4-1. The Mean Green first met the Mustangs in 1922 and lost to SMU 66-0. This one-sided rivalry got its name from former Mean Green coach Matt Simon, who in a 1994 attempt to revive the rivalry after a two-year hiatus said, "I'd like to play because I think we could beat them and my players feel the same way. If they'd like to play on a Safeway parking lot ... just give us a date and time."

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. UNT leads 7-5. Admittedly not the oldest of series, the Mean Green and Blue Raiders both entered the Sun Belt in 2000 and enjoyed some battles for conference titles in the early 00s. The rivalry will continue as both programs will become members of Conference USA on July 1 of this year.

Beyond Football

Much like UGA, UNT has produced fine ambassadors for the arts, specifically musicians. Count Pat Boone, Bobby Fuller, Don Henley, Norah Jones, Meat Loaf and Roy Orbison as North Texas alumni. For all you daytime TV watchers, Dr. Phil McGraw received his MA (1976) and PhD (1979) from UNT.

Conclusion

The fact that North Texas is moving to Conference USA alone should be reason for Georgia to respect them. The Bulldogs did not fare so well against their last opponent from this conference, an embarrassing 2010 loss to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl. This is not another cupcake game; this is a game for which the Dawgs must be prepared and ready to go from the opening kickoff to the final drive. The Mean Green fans are excited about this game and you better believe the football team will be, too.

Now that you've been primed on the North Texas Mean Green, what are your expectations for their game against our Georgia Bulldogs?

Next Stop: The LSU Tigers, one of the few SEC foes against whom the Dawgs (12-16-1 overall) and Coach Richt (3-4) have a losing record. What are some of your favorite games against the Bayou Bengals? The 2005 SEC Championship Game? The 2004 revenge-fueled humiliation of the defending national champions? Georgia's long-awaited first victory over LSU in 1947, perhaps?

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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