North Texas wasn't North Texas the last time their football team was ranked in the AP poll.
North Texas State College beat Wichita State, 12-0, on Oct. 31, 1959. Two days later the Eagles — North Texas football didn't officially use the Mean Green nickname until 1973, and it wasn't until 2000 that every North Texas sports team was called Mean Green — were ranked in 20th in the AP poll, the first appearance in program history.
After beating Louisville, 39-7, on Nov. 7, 1959, they were ranked 17th in the Week 9 poll, ahead of TCU, Oklahoma and others. North Texas lost to Tulsa in the following week, dropped out of the top 20 (20 teams were ranked from 1936-61 and 1968-88, 10 teams from 1962-67 and 25 teams from 1989-present) and never returned. In fact, they didn't earn a single in-season AP vote from 1960-2017.
Fifty-nine years later, there's a clear path to another AP ranking for North Texas.
The Mean Green clobbered Arkansas in Week 3 and was rewarded with four votes in the Week 4 AP Top 25. They are ranked 39th, and while they won't play a ranked team all season, they will enter the Top 25 soon with more dominating performances, especially as teams ahead rack up conference losses.
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It won't happen in Week 5; even a 70-0 win at Liberty wouldn't be enough to jump 14 teams.
The earliest it could happen is Week 5 when they host Louisiana Tech. If the Bulldogs play well vs. LSU in Week 4, a convincing North Texas win over Louisiana Tech the following week would get the attention of several dozen voters.
They won't lose any votes by clobbering UTEP in Week 6 but, more importantly, they won't gain many, if any. Additional votes would come with wins over Southern Miss in Week 7 and UAB in Week 8.
If North Texas hits 8-0 with a win over UAB on Oct. 20, they will be ranked in the Week 9 AP Top 25.
There are bigger goals (i.e. undefeated season, New Year's Six bowl), but an AP ranking for the first time since 1959 would be a hell of an accomplishment for Mason Fine, Seth Littrell and the North Texas program.