UNT-Cal art

North Texas running back Evan Johnson prays in the end zone before the Mean Green’s game against California at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., in the 2019 season. Cal will face UNT at Apogee Stadium in the 2023 season.

North Texas is finalizing a series of scheduling changes in football that will have the Mean Green host California in the 2023 season in addition to facing UNLV in a home-and-home series.

Cal will play at UNT on Sept. 2, 2023, one season after the game was originally scheduled.

The Mean Green will travel to UNLV on Sept. 17, 2022, before the Rebels visit UNT on Sept. 19, 2026, under terms of the agreements that have yet to be approved.

A UNT official confirmed the dates and opponents of the games to the Denton Record-Chronicle on Monday afternoon. UNT is expected to announce the changes in the next few weeks.

The shifts in UNT’s schedule were prompted by Cal’s desire to alter the parameters of a home-and-home series that was announced in 2017.

UNT played at Cal last season and fell to the Bears 23-17 in the opening game of the series.

Cal was scheduled to play at UNT in 2022. The status of the game came into question when Cal announced it had agreed to play at Notre Dame on Sept. 17, 2022.

A UNT official described the process that led to the addition of the Mean Green’s series against UNLV as well as the decision to push back Cal’s game in Denton.

Cal officials approached UNT and asked to move their game from the 2022 season to allow the Bears to fit the Notre Dame game into their schedule. UNT agreed to move the game with one stipulation. UNT officials asked Cal to help find an opponent they approved of to fill the spot on the Mean Green’s schedule.

UNLV had space on its schedule in 2022. UNT officials agreed to the swap and scheduled the Rebels for a home-and-home series.

UNT and UNLV have played five times in their history. The last of those games was in the Heart of Dallas Bowl at the end of the 2013 season and is a landmark for the program.

The Mean Green knocked off the Rebels 36-14 at the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day under former coach Dan McCarney. UNT has won just three bowl games in its history.

UNT and UNLV have a series of connections.

UNT President Neal Smatresk is the former president of UNLV. Shelby McIntyre was hired as UNLV’s director of recruiting and high school relations following last season. She spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons working at UNT as its coordinator of football recruiting operations.

UNT’s game against Cal last season was its first against the Golden Bears and its first meeting with a Pac-12 opponent since a loss to Arizona in 2002.

The opportunity to host Cal is a significant one for UNT. The Mean Green have rarely hosted Power Five conference teams at Apogee Stadium.

UNT last hosted a Power Five team at Apogee in 2011, when the Mean Green knocked off Indiana of the Big Ten, 24-21.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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