North Texas Daily

Seth Littrell led the Mean Green to a bowl in his first season, now what?

Seth Littrell led the Mean Green to a bowl in his first season, now what?

August 28
19:19 2017

At this time last year, we didn’t know what to expect from the North Texas football team.

Sure, there was excitement surrounding Seth Littrell and the new regime, but the optimism had a cautious air to it – so much so that fans didn’t really know what the goal was when the 2016 season began. Coming off a historically bad 1-11 year, would 3-9 be good? 4-8?

Not many realistically expected what actually happened – a Heart of Dallas Bowl appearance in Littrell’s first season at the helm.

This year is different.

The immediate success has fans, alumni and the team ready for an even bigger season. Now, a return to the postseason is an expected commodity.

In order to find out how high the bar has been set for this team, I conducted an extremely methodical and precise survey – or a poll on Twitter – almost two months ago. I asked what the worst record the football team could have this season is with it still being considered a good year.

The results of the 174 votes surprised me.

Fifty-seven percent said if the team does not make a bowl game, it would be a bad season. Twenty-seven percent said they have to win seven games for it to be a good year. Keep in mind this isn’t what people actually expect the team to do. This is what the bottom of the totem pole is as far as fans are concerned.

Not even two years removed from a 1-11 season that included an embarrassing 66-7 loss to FCS Portland State on homecoming, the Mean Green faithful are all-in on Littrell and his program.

While there is certainly reason to be hopeful, the results portray a dangerous way of thinking – a dramatic stride forward each season shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Here’s some perspective. Of the 10 SEC coaches who have been at their school for at least two seasons, the average increase in wins from year one to year two is a mere 1.3. It’s not easy to make that leap regardless the amount of talent or how great the coach is. Traditionally, the third year under a given coach is when a team should be really turning the corner in a rebuilding project.

So no, the Mean Green probably won’t increase their win total by four games again this year. But fans need to see the value in continuing what was a hefty rebuild.  Simply returning to a bowl game and proving this team is built to contend consistently in the long haul should be the goal this season.

North Texas hasn’t been to consecutive bowl games since Darrell Dickey led the team to four straight New Orleans Bowl appearances from 2001 to 2004.

Consistency is the goal for the team and fans will need to be consistent too – as weird as that may sound. Don’t get too high or too low if the team doesn’t live up to your subjective expectations right away. Keep in mind things looked bleak at the end of last season before the Mean Green qualified for a bowl based on the program’s APR score.

It’s a long season and Littrell has shown, so far, that he’s a very capable coach.

Let’s give him a chance to build on that without setting the bar too high.

Featured Image: Head coach Seth Littrell walks the sideline during a game against Middle Tennessee State University last season. Littrell went 5-8 in his first year as a head coach. Colin Mitchell

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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