A rivalry born on social media and perfected on the field gets an apt showcase as North Texas and UTSA will meet in the regular season finale on November 24th in San Antonio. Why the hell not? Embrace the hate and make Thanksgiving great again.
A decade ago this underground classic was a pipe dream, UTSA didn't have a football program, and North Texas was in the midst of a four year run under Todd Dodge that yielded all of six wins. Before the 2016 season, both schools parted ways with older coaches Dan McCarney and Larry Coker. Each then hit a solid triple, if not a home run in hiring two young, dynamic coaches in Seth Littrell and Frank Wilson.
Littrell took over a program decimated by apathy and turnover and led the Mean Green to a bowl game in his first season. In year two the Mean Green won the CUSA West title. Wilson led an emerging UTSA program to its first-ever bowl game in 2016 and qualified for a bowl in year two. All the while the two fan bases exchanged twitter haymakers off the field. Never has the term commuter school been bandied about with such disdain. Short quarterbacks have never been the subject of such ire.
On the field, the two schools have split their two contests in the Littrell/Wilson era. Last year North Texas broke UTSA hearts after the Roadrunners dominated for most of three quarters only to have Mason Fine lead an incredible drive in the final minute to rip the win away from UTSA's grasp.
North Texas and UTSA need this. They need a rival to build a history against. Sure North Texas continues to chase SMU and UTSA has Texas State 40 miles away, but a rival within CUSA is great for both schools. The rivalry is gifted another year of Littrell and Wilson, as either seems destined for a Power 5 job shortly.
CUSA needs a rival as well. In a league with a conglomeration of schools that have little to nothing in common except their exclusion from the big boy table, developing a genuine, organic rivalry is essential.
So next November, after Black Friday's sapped the last remnant from your bank account, heat up the leftovers, and tune in or turn up for the Mean Green and Roadrunners. You won't regret it.