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Is Playing As An Independent an Option?


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15 hours ago, TheTastyGreek said:

Building on here... It's the damndest coincidence, isn't it? 

Once upon a time, we were in The Worst Conference in college football. It was holding us back. Never mind that we couldn't even post a winning record against conference opponents for the last EIGHT YEARS we spent in The Worst Conference... One of the main reasons we couldn't move our program forward was our affiliation with that conference. We had to get out. 

Then, we got out! Regional rivalries, Texas opponents, historically greater reputation. FINALLY! And... Now, we're once again in The Worst Conference in college football! And, we've never won it. And, more times than not, we can't even post a winning record against conference opponents in The Worst Conference. Again! 

Meanwhile, the conference we left behind got better, and the programs they brought up from the minor leagues (which had a history of success and an institutional commitment to maintaining it that went beyond "THROW ALL THE MONEY AT THE HEAD COACH!") are doing quite well!

It's almost like maybe our biggest problems aren't and never were the conference at all. Maybe... We're part of the conference's problem, and not the other way around. 

And maybe the REAL Worst Conference is actually the friends we made along the way? I don't know. I think that when there was one set of footsteps, Matt Simon was carrying me. 

Or maybe we have not exercised patience in building a conference, similar to wanting to jettison SL when the fruits of his labor on the recruiting trail are starting to ripen.

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Playing as an Independent is only an option if North Texas were to actually outgrow C-USA and have no better conference options. Right now, we can't even win this dumpster fire of a conference. The fact that Marshall enjoys a top 20 ranking while residing in C-USA proves our problems are completely self inflected. The bigger questions are... What have we been doing wrong? & How do we correct it?

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10 hours ago, buff64 said:

BYU is also a independent .

I forgot about those guys. They may stay independent. From what I have read BYU sees their athletic program as a vehicle to spread the word about the Mormon Religion. They have a smaller version of the LHN and are not going to give it up.

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1 hour ago, Side Show Joe said:

What have we been doing wrong? & How do we correct it?

We are fully invested into our program.  The one consistent problem, IMO, was lack of recruiting up until 1-1.5 years ago.  SL figured something out.  In theory, these new guys should start emerging/contributing by the time they're sophs....some even earlier.

In retrospect, I think we also threw too much money at SL his first two years.  We should be handing out bonuses and extensions for conference titles, rankings, and bowl wins.  Not as rewards for hitting 5 wins, or getting obliterated in the postseason after not winning a CUSA title.

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3 hours ago, UNTLifer said:

Or maybe we have not exercised patience in building a conference, similar to wanting to jettison SL when the fruits of his labor on the recruiting trail are starting to ripen.

We pay Johnny Jetplane over $1.7 Million dollars, and this is Year 5. In Dickey time, we'd be on our 2nd conference championship this year. 

If we're still waiting for "fruits of his labor" this time next year? As far as I'm concerned, Sky King and his coaching coterie of intermittently competents and occasional sex offenders can all pack up and fly away into the wild blue yonder. 

We pay top dollar for our conference, we ought to be successful in it, not stumblefumbling our way through a loss to a conference mate with no other D1 wins this year AND that's currently on their 3rd head coach of the season like Southern Miss. Or taking 4 touchdown beatings against the likes of Charlotte.

Coach Lindbergh has got the stadium, he's got the money for his assistants, he's got an indoor practice facility, he's got the Spirit of St. Louis in his contract... If we're not ripe to bursting in Year 6, he ought to be cleaning rotten fruit off the sideline and building a resume to go job hunting. 

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20 minutes ago, greenminer said:

We are fully invested into our program.  The one consistent problem, IMO, was lack of recruiting up until 1-1.5 years ago.  SL figured something out.  In theory, these new guys should start emerging/contributing by the time they're sophs....some even earlier.

In retrospect, I think we also threw too much money at SL his first two years.  We should be handing out bonuses and extensions for conference titles, rankings, and bowl wins.  Not as rewards for hitting 5 wins, or getting obliterated in the postseason after not winning a CUSA title.

I disagree. I think for a program to be fully invested, there has to be consequences for failure. As it pertains to football, I have yet to see any consequences under Wren's watch. And, no word at all regarding Littrell's failings.

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This was our last season as an independent.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1995_North_Texas_Mean_Green_football_team

I wouldn't recommend it for us again. It was really really tough. Our team then was better than our current team too. If we were an independent they would most assuredly pimp the team out for money again. It would be an embarrassing disaster. The injuries alone would cost games against beatable teams.

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47 minutes ago, TheTastyGreek said:

We pay Johnny Jetplane over $1.7 Million dollars, and this is Year 5. In Dickey time, we'd be on our 2nd conference championship this year. 

If we're still waiting for "fruits of his labor" this time next year? As far as I'm concerned, Sky King and his coaching coterie of intermittently competents and occasional sex offenders can all pack up and fly away into the wild blue yonder. 

We pay top dollar for our conference, we ought to be successful in it, not stumblefumbling our way through a loss to a conference mate with no other D1 wins this year AND that's currently on their 3rd head coach of the season like Southern Miss. Or taking 4 touchdown beatings against the likes of Charlotte.

Coach Lindbergh has got the stadium, he's got the money for his assistants, he's got an indoor practice facility, he's got the Spirit of St. Louis in his contract... If we're not ripe to bursting in Year 6, he ought to be cleaning rotten fruit off the sideline and building a resume to go job hunting. 

I have outlined this before and will do it again. Some will agree and some will call me a sunshine pumper and disagree and I am fine with either. Here’s my take.

Year 1 SL caught lightening in a bottle by finding Fine and getting a few skill players to buy in, but UNT’s relationship with local and state coaches was nonexistent when he arrived due to McCarney’s negligence.
 

Year two was his first year to really have time to recruit and this is when the lack of relationships with the high schools became evident and recruiting still suffered but we had Fine and were having some success and the fans didn’t really notice. 

Year three we started turning the corner in recruiting and continued to see higher rated recruits look our way and the upward trend has continued. The problem occurred when we lost some of the kids that SL inherited and Fine, Bussey, Guyton and a few more graduated or left early. 

That’s gets us up to present day. SL’s best recruits are still underclassmen and gaining experience.  The IPF is now open and online and we have probably some of the best facilities at the G5 level. This was going to be a rebuilding year either way and then the coronavirus hit and this has become a disaster of a year.  
 

SL had to produce next year, period.  His players are in place and will be upperclassmen, relationships have been built and UNT has finally put the pieces in place to prove that we are a program that is to be taken seriously. There have been some concerns but I chalked some of those up to being a first time head coach. I disagree that SL has checked out and did so after the flirtations with Kansas State, but I do think the early success and seeing his name always in the headlines about being a star on the rise probably effected him to some degree. 
 

I like that he is a good man, has now shown that he isn’t afraid to make adjustments with his staff as needed and is respected in the coaching community. I hope we get back on the field this year but it has become a throw away year in my books with all the uncertainty from week to week. It has allowed a lot of work with the younger players and that will be beneficial. Next year expectations should be sky high and there are no longer any excuses. 
 

 

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2 minutes ago, UNTLifer said:

I have outlined this before and will do it again. Some will agree and some will call me a sunshine pumper and disagree and I am fine with either. Here’s my take.

Year 1 SL caught lightening in a bottle by finding Fine and getting a few skill players to buy in, but UNT’s relationship with local and state coaches was nonexistent when he arrived due to McCarney’s negligence.
 

Year two was his first year to really have time to recruit and this is when the lack of relationships with the high schools became evident and recruiting still suffered but we had Fine and were having some success and the fans didn’t really notice. 

Year three we started turning the corner in recruiting and continued to see higher rated recruits look our way and the upward trend has continued. The problem occurred when we lost some of the kids that SL inherited and Fine, Bussey, Guyton and a few more graduated or left early. 

That’s gets us up to present day. SL’s best recruits are still underclassmen and gaining experience.  The IPF is now open and online and we have probably some of the best facilities at the G5 level. This was going to be a rebuilding year either way and then the coronavirus hit and this has become a disaster of a year.  
 

SL had to produce next year, period.  His players are in place and will be upperclassmen, relationships have been built and UNT has finally put the pieces in place to prove that we are a program that is to be taken seriously. There have been some concerns but I chalked some of those up to being a first time head coach. I disagree that SL has checked out and did so after the flirtations with Kansas State, but I do think the early success and seeing his name always in the headlines about being a star on the rise probably effected him to some degree. 
 

I like that he is a good man, has now shown that he isn’t afraid to make adjustments with his staff as needed and is respected in the coaching community. I hope we get back on the field this year but it has become a throw away year in my books with all the uncertainty from week to week. It has allowed a lot of work with the younger players and that will be beneficial. Next year expectations should be sky high and there are no longer any excuses. 
 

 

I still think when we compare teams everyone wants to talk about the great Daryl Dickey teams. I know this pisses people off but we were not a good team. We won conference championships in what was perhaps the worst conference in the last 50 years of football. Look at our out of conference records and look at Dickies overall record. It's embarrassing that we have a Hall of Fame coach with a record like his. Like so much of what happens everyone wants to move on to the next coach or the next conference and never take the time to build a foundation that will continue year after year. By all means now that Seth is starting to make inroads into recruiting and perhaps finally building relationships with High School coaches let's get rid of him.

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Why do so many fault CUSA?  It is not like NT had or have any better choices.

If NT was dominant in CUSA, than I could see disillusionment with the league.  As I have opined many times on this board, CUSA is the conference; no fans want to be in.  However, no better league wants any team in CUSA. 

Regional teams make sense, but the same thing could be accomplished within CUSA.   Just limit all games to divisional foes and play the other division in championships. 

Independence would be a disaster in football, and much worse in most other sports. 

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6 minutes ago, GrandGreen said:

Why do so many fault CUSA?  It is not like NT had or have any better choices.

If NT was dominant in CUSA, than I could see disillusionment with the league.  As I have opined many times on this board, CUSA is the conference; no fans want to be in.  However, no better league wants any team in CUSA. 

Regional teams make sense, but the same thing could be accomplished within CUSA.   Just limit all games to divisional foes and play the other division in championships. 

Independence would be a disaster in football, and much worse in most other sports. 

I think something along this line is why people have brought up CUSA and the SBC doing some type of merger or team swaps. The issue of cost and travel expenses has to be addressed. And NO, there are no teams in the SBC we are "too good" to be in the same conference with. 

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4 hours ago, Side Show Joe said:

I disagree. I think for a program to be fully invested, there has to be consequences for failure. As it pertains to football, I have yet to see any consequences under Wren's watch. And, no word at all regarding Littrell's failings.

I've seen how different people demand different types of consequences.  Some board members have gotten pretty vocal about how they demand some explanations.  Apologies at a microphone in a front a broadcast.  I personally don't need that.  I need them to shut up and get to work.  If they can't fix it, fire them.  And maybe what we are learning from this is that Wren has no desire to show the public dirty laundry.

I get what you're saying though, and I think the frustration in those big game losses was amplified when we still threw more money at SL.

So here we are, now, recruiting better and I believe (not the only one) that any termination would be counterproductive.  Billy has touched on this a couple times:

UNTAPPED POTENTIAL:

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I think this will be the mindset when Littrell wins a bowl game or conference championship game here. That he “figured things out.” When it reality it will be because the years of top recruiting classes will have given him a better roster than what he had when he was losing those games.



INTERESTING STAT:

Quote

 

Yeah only a fraction of our fanbase follows recruiting anywhere near as close as they follow the actual team, so I get it. If you don’t, when you see the struggles it’s like Groundhog Day. Heck, even if you do it kind of feels that way. But this is different.

Littrell won those games, he built up the recruiting momentum, and he capitalized by signing better classes than we’ve seen since recruiting has really been tracked online. Firing him before those guys become upperclassmen would be counterproductive. Good chance we’d see a lot of our talent transfer with a one-time sit-out free transfer rule coming, and those good recruits we got would likely decommit. And the recruiting perception of UNT would likely go back to square one with HS coaches thinking it’s a losing program where the coach is destined to be fired rather than hired away. Long story short, we really want Littrell to work out and he’s about to get a shot with the best roster in terms of top-down talent he’s had.

 

Quote

 

We saw a taste of the young talent we have and the fruits of our recent recruiting. The talent level is only going to rise as these guys become upperclassmen and the guys from the subpar classes are replaced with more of the same recruiting we have seen from the 2019-2021 classes.

Firing Littrell just isn’t happening anytime soon because of his contract, so it’s a pretty pointless conversation in that regard. Then you factor in the health of our roster down the line and our recruiting situation, it would just be counterproductive. If things are still in bad shape come 2022 then it becomes more of a legitimate discussion. The talent we should have on our roster by then will likely make things a lot clearer as well. If things are working out we’ll probably be one of the top teams in the conference, or we’ll be underperforming and losing with top recruits. Both should make for easier evaluations of Littrell as a coach.

 

 

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9 hours ago, greenminer said:

I've seen how different people demand different types of consequences.  Some board members have gotten pretty vocal about how they demand some explanations.  Apologies at a microphone in a front a broadcast.  I personally don't need that.  I need them to shut up and get to work.  If they can't fix it, fire them.  And maybe what we are learning from this is that Wren has no desire to show the public dirty laundry.

I get what you're saying though, and I think the frustration in those big game losses was amplified when we still threw more money at SL.

So here we are, now, recruiting better and I believe (not the only one) that any termination would be counterproductive.  Billy has touched on this a couple times:

UNTAPPED POTENTIAL:



INTERESTING STAT:

 

You make some good points, but I for one have no interest in apologies at the microphone. I want evidence of real change.

I get tired of hearing the same "we have to focus on getting another day better", and "we have to be accountable and make sure our players are too". Because we hear the same excuses every time we lose. And, that is too often. I see no point in trying to prevent the airing of our dirty laundry, when everyone already knows it. So to me Wren's silence comes off as indifference.

I actually pay very close attention to recruiting. That is why I have been posting for a few seasons about our issues on both offensive and defensive line. Have we improved in recruiting? Absolutely. North Texas has become one of the better recruiters among the G5. But that doesn't tell the whole story in this new age of the transfer portal. To put it simply, the recruiting game has changed, and Littrell hasn't figured it out yet. Just like his lack of attention to recruiting the lines got Mason Fine pummeled and cost us bowl wins and conference titles. Littrell's failings in using the portal to address needs will continue to cost us when we play teams like SMU.

I'm not totally doom and gloom. I do expect us to be better next season (if we play). I can see us contending for our divisional title and playing in a bowl game. But, until we get better at the new system of recruiting, we will probably continue to lose those bowl games, and OOC games against AAC level competition (like SMU) or higher.

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On 11/11/2020 at 8:31 PM, Cooke County Kid said:

When I started NTSU we were in the Missouri Valley Conference.  When I graduated we were an independent.  If we had stayed where we were, we would be in the AAC now..............

GO MEAN GREEN

WIN GAMES!!!!!!

Maybe, but that's very unlikely. If you look at the teams that stayed in the MoValley after we left in 74, Tulsa is now in the AAC. But West Texas is Division II, NMSU is independent (and likely to drop down to at least FCS) and Wichita State dropped football. 

If we had followed many of the others that left the MVC in the early 70s to the Metro Conference, then we likely WOULD be in a far better place. Most of them are now in the AAC (CInn, Louisville, Memphis and Tulane). Other Metro Conference teams from the late 70s include Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Florida State. In the mid-80s the Metro included Southern Miss and South Carolina. 

At the time I was a student from 76 to 81, I kept asking why we didn't try for the Big 8 where many of the schools were more likely to want an annual game in Texas. 

In the 2020's, being an independent is nearly impossible without some sort of special national following. Notre Dame is THE Catholic university and BYU is THE LDS university. Other independents are working very hard to join conferences - NMSU and Liberty come to mind. 

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6 hours ago, wardly said:

No one wants NMSU, not even the Big Sky. Their football program has no future. On the other hand, Liberty could parlay this season into the belt if they get a new president that keeps the university out of politics.

Poor NMSU has had to depend on conferences that HAD to have an additional member or pure mercy to get their last several conference affiliations. The Sun Belt let them in for a few years out of mercy. Before that, the WAC took them as a last resort after being turned down by a number of other schools including us. The first time NMSU was in the Sun Belt, the Belt was just forming and desperately needed teams - any teams. I don't remember the details, but @Arkstfan (I think it was him) has written that NMSU joining the Big West was somehow because the Big West needed another school and the available options out west were very limited. 

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They have a very underfunded program in the middle of nowhere. Both UTEP and UNM play them every year but refuse to be in the same conference as the Aggies. The MWC needs another basketball team since Hawaii in football only but won't invite NMSU, who has a decent program. They looked at dropping to 1AA in football but decided they would lose more money than at D1 because they would lose money games. If that were not bad enough they owe the State several million dollars for using non athletic funds for athletics . 

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On 11/15/2020 at 8:31 AM, VideoEagle said:

 

If we had followed many of the others that left the MVC in the early 70s to the Metro Conference, then we likely WOULD be in a far better place. Most of them are now in the AAC (CInn, Louisville, Memphis and Tulane). Other Metro Conference teams from the late 70s include Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Florida State. In the mid-80s the Metro included Southern Miss and South Carolina. 

Louisville is in the ACC

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