On an early-season schedule that is as rugged as any in college football, this is the one that has romp written it all over it for Georgia.
Nobody will confuse North Texas with the top-10 teams the preceded it on the Bulldogs‚Äô sche (Clemson and South Carolina) or will follow next week (LSU).
The Mean Green is a 33 ¬Ω point underdog. That‚Äôs actually less than the 37 points Michigan was favored to beat Akron by last week.
The Zips nearly went all Appalachian-State-circa-2007 on the Wolverines, who thwarted a pass attempt at the end zone on the game‚Äôs last play to avoid a shocker like the one six years earlier.
Richt brought up that Michigan game to reporters when the game week started.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know what their mindset was going into the game, but I know what it was I‚Äôm sure when the game was over,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúEverybody needs to line up and get ready to play ball.‚Äù
That‚Äôs the same message he delivered early this week to his players when he used that game as an example.
‚ÄúI‚Äôll probably mention it to them again before it‚Äôs over,‚Äù he said after practice Wednesday.
Georgia had last weekend off, so there‚Äôs some sentiment just to get back on the field and pick up where it left off after the crucial win against South Carolina that avoided an 0-2 start to the season.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs hard having a bye week when you‚Äôre feeling good, so we‚Äôre excited to get back out there and play another game right now,‚Äù Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said. ‚ÄúI could care less who we‚Äôre playing. We‚Äôre just excited to get out there and play.‚Äù
North Texas (2-1) has ventured into Southeastern Conference stadiums in recent seasons.
The Mean Green were beaten 41-14 by a top-ranked LSU team to open last season and 41-0 at then No. 2 Alabama in 2011.
Kansas State, ranked 14th at the time, was pushed at home by North Texas on Sept. 15, 2012, holding just a 14-13 lead in the third quarter before pulling away for a 35-21 win.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôve already played in some big games,‚Äù Georgia defensive lineman Garrison Smith said. ‚ÄúThis game isn‚Äôt going to be nothing to them. We‚Äôve got to be prepared.‚Äù
Georgia safety Connor Norman said even more so than the other games so far.
‚ÄúI feel like we need to concentrate a little bit more than [against] a top-10 team,‚Äù Norman said. ‚ÄúThese are the dangerous games.‚Äù
Georgia is expected to win big. North Texas is expected to get crushed and say thank you for its $975,000 guarantee for playing the game.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm sure they‚Äôre licking their chops, man,‚Äù Norman said. ‚ÄúThey‚Äôre ready to go. They‚Äôve got nothing to lose.‚Äù
Georgia‚Äôs last game against a Conference USA team didn‚Äôt go so well.
UCF beat the Bulldogs 10-6 in the Liberty Bowl in 2010.
The Mean Green defensive coordinator is John Skladany, who was linebackers coach for UCF when it beat the Bulldogs. Georgia receiver Rantavious Wooten learned that when he did research on this week‚Äôs opponent.
North Texas does have a win against a ranked opponent back in 1974 when it beat No. 20 San Diego State. It‚Äôs lost its other 43 games against ranked foes.
‚ÄúJust because they‚Äôre not an SEC team,‚Äù linebacker Amarlo Herrera said, ‚Äúdoesn‚Äôt mean they‚Äôre not going to come in here and play hard.‚Äù