SMU at North Texas for the Hippogriff Trophy Once Again

If you don't get Stadium, and let's be honest, most of us don't, get yourself to Facebook Live at 6:30 on Saturday night for an explosive contest between two offensive powers in SMU and North Texas. You'll be glad you did. 

Two of the best quarterbacks in the state as well as the country tangle for the second time in SMU's Ben Hicks and North Texas' Mason Fine. The two juniors have grown into more than competent signal callers as the two programs have grown up as well. 

Yes. We created a trophy. What did you do today?

North Texas has been chasing SMU for nearly 100 years. The Mustang hold a 31-5-1 lead in the series and are winners of three straight. Don't let those numbers fool you, North Texas under Seth Littrell has joined the fight in earnest and boast the most talented roster in school history. 

The Mean Green are prepping for a historic season with Fine at trigger man and a group of skill talent players that Power 5s drool over. Jalen Guyton, Michael Lawrence, and Rico Bussey Jr. headline a group of receivers with plans on turning CUSA on its ear. Again. 

Meanwhile on the Hilltop, Ben Hicks is far from the redshirt freshman thrown to the Wolves at Baylor two seasons ago. Last year he led one of the most explosive attacks in college football with the help of Courtland Sutton and Trey Quinn. While those two and other key cogs are gone, don't cry for SMU's offense, they'll be as pointsy as always, perhaps more so with Air Raid guru Sonny Dykes turning the reigns loose. 

SMU will play at a faster pace this year and boast three talented running backs to help ease the strain of last season's graduations. Reggie Roberson Jr., the West Virginia transfer, is plenty explosive and he'll stretch the defense for an offense that isn't afraid to push the ball over the top. 

You've got a choice in which games you watch and while this weekend's slate is stacked with great national matchups featuring name brands with more pedigree, exposure, and money, you may not find a better game that what goes on in Denton on Saturday night.

Here's the kicker, this game matters. 

North Texas' big plans begin with a win over their neighbors to the south. Since both schools committed to a yearly game, the fans are embracing the fun. The games in Denton have been more competitive in recent history and North Texas is holding itself out as equals to the Mustangs. 

SMU on the other hand needs to get a win in Denton because the rest of their September is brutal with TCU, a trip to the Big House, and Navy. Winning against the Mean Green is imperative to get on track. The Mustangs can't afford to allow North Texas to move down the road to equality. Both schools are recruiting at a historic pace, the Mean Green more so, and both are upgrading their profiles with indoor facilities coming online in the next year. When either coach enters a recruits living room, chances are the other's already been there. They share one of the most valuable areas of recruiting real estate in the country. Like we said, this game matters. 

Dykes and Littrell learned a fair amount at the feet of the Mad Scientist himself, Mike Leach. Both served as assistants under Leach, on staffs with Dana Holgorsen and Lincoln Riley. Then both headed west to Arizona under Mike Stoops. Since then they've paved different paths to the Metroplex.

The common denominator is an offensive sense and bravado that most coaches dream of.  

If history and reputation are any indicators than the 2018 version will be a track meet. The evil four letter will push the usual name brands at you: Alabama/Louisville, Michigan/Notre Dame, Auburn/Washington, but the best game may well be on a startup network with two under-recruited but more than capable trigger men throwing to an impressive array of offensive weapons. 

You may not see two better quarterbacks going head to head this weekend. You certainly won't see two coaches more willing to let it fly. 

The Roundup...