Scuttlebutt on the Louisiana Tech message boards has rumors circulating about if/when North Texas will leave the Sun Belt for the WAC. Also on the LaTech message boards? A forum called Touchdown Tim Rattay, so take the UNT news for what it's worth.
At the very least, the question of North Texas going WACward is a good topic of debate. How would the Mean Green perform against WAC teams? How much will conference schedules change? Can we swing a trade of UNT for NMSU? And most importantly, will the Mean Green put up much of a fight against the Broncos?
I think you know the answer to that last one.
The rumors started where only the best rumors start: legislature.
The Texas state legislature just last week declared UNT one of 7 designated public universities in the state of Texas targeted for "Tier One" research status.
Essentially, the state of Texas is willing to make UNT a priority, which could have the Mean Green thinking bigger and better when it comes to its athletic conference.
Certainly the WAC wouldn't be a bad move for North Texas. Thanks to Karl Benson's TV voodoo, WAC teams have a stellar ESPN package that brings with it a lot of national exposure. Plus, UNT would get to face Top 25 teams on a yearly basis within conference, and the WAC bowl tie-ins could be greater than what the Sun Belt currently has (no offense, St. Petersburg Bowl). In a lot of cases, moving to the WAC would be very good for UNT football.
But then there's this: would UNT football be good for the WAC?
Recent history says "no." Since god-like high school coach Todd Dodge came into town, he has led the Mean Greeners to three wins in two seasons. He has a 1-13 record in conference - the Sun Belt Conference. He is Robb Akey South minus the moustache.
(Speaking of Robb Akey, he is apparently holding some poor copywriter at the Idaho Press-Tribune hostage because that is the only way I can explain the IPT publishing a story about the Vandals starting the season 5-1 this year. "A 5-1 record will have Vandal fans thirstily lapping at the thought of a bowl-game bid." I don't even know where to begin with that because a) it's terribly ridiculous, b) the phrase "thirstily lapping" makes me feel uncomfortable, and c) I'm too busy trying to figure out how the writer thinks that a road game at San Jose State is winnable. Dave Southorn, how could you let this happen?)
So in the sense of Todd Dodge and Robb Akey being similar, maybe UNT would be a good fit in the WAC after all. The conference can always use another punching bag coach.
And Boise State can always use another mediocre conference opponent.
Or can they? It seems like North Texas would fit in nicely with the Aggies and Bulldogs of the conference, but if the past two seasons of UNT football are any indication, the Broncos would roll over the Mean Green like they have so many other outmatched opponents.
Having North Texas on the schedule might make dropping a I-AA school like UC Davis a little easier. But is that really how things will go down? Instead of losing what basically amounts to a bye week, chances are that the schedule makers would instead take away one of Boise State's C-USA or MAC teams. Some seasons, adding North Texas could make the Broncos' schedule even softer, something the national media did not know was even possible.
Adding North Texas might be good for North Texas. It might even be good for the WAC (having an even ten teams is positive, getting a Texas school is a coup).
But another also-ran mucking it up in the middle of a perceived weak conference will do little for Boise State.