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The Safeway Bowl is the name given to the North Texas–SMU football rivalry. It is a college football rivalry game between the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Mustangs football team and the University of North Texas (UNT) Mean Green football team, two universities in Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.
|First meeting||October 7, 1922|
SMU 66, North Texas 0
|Latest meeting||September 7, 2019|
SMU 49, North Texas 27
|Next meeting||September 5, 2020|
|All-time series||SMU leads 32–6–1 (.833)|
|Largest victory||SMU, 68–0 (1927)|
|Longest win streak||SMU, 11 (1934–1976)|
|Current win streak||SMU, 1 (2019–present)|
Its name is derived from a challenge from then UNT head coach Matt Simon issued in 1994 after a two-year break in the series, stating "I'd like to play because I think we could beat them, and my players feel the same way. If they'd like to play on a Safeway parking lot ... just give us a date and time."
The schools have played on and off 37 times dating back to 1922 with three major hiatuses, from 1943 to 1973, from 1993 to 2005, and from 2007 to 2013. The most recent meeting between the two teams occurred in 2018, when the Mean Green defeated the Mustangs 46–23. In 2013, both schools announced the series would be extended through 2025, continuing its current home-and-home format.
• Despite having their home games at the Cotton Bowl for 46 years, North Texas played SMU there just twice. The first 21 games of the series came before the arrival of Doak Walker to SMU, whose play attracted the large crowds that prompted the school to move its home games out of Ownby Stadium to the larger venue in Fair Park.
• Of the 37 games played between the two schools, just four of those have taken place in Denton. Ownby Stadium was seen as the far superior venue to the tiny Eagle Field that North Texas played on before 1952, which sat just 5,000 people to Ownby's 23,000. When the series resumed in the 1970s, the Cotton Bowl and Texas Stadium both held vastly more fans than Fouts Field could. Only after SMU moved its home games back on campus following the death penalty did the schools start playing games in Denton. Fouts Field hosted its first Safeway Bowl in 1990, which North Texas won to snap a six-game losing streak in the series.
• Both schools have largely had success in the series when playing on their campuses. North Texas holds a 4–1–0 record in games played at Fouts Field or Apogee Stadium, while SMU holds a remarkable 23–1–1 record in games played at Armstrong Field, Ownby Stadium, or Ford Stadium. SMU's only win on UNT's campus came on September 3, 2016 while UNT's only win on SMU's campus came on September 23, 1933. SMU leads the series 7–1–0 when the game was played at either the Cotton Bowl or Texas Stadium.
• 16 of the 37 contests have ended with a shutout (43%), including the 1932 game which ended in a scoreless tie. North Texas was on the losing end of all of those shutouts except the tie and a 7–0 win in 1933 (UNT's most recent win on SMU's campus). The first six games of the series, all won by SMU, were also shutouts.
|SMU victories||North Texas victories||Tie games|
- Watkins, Calvin (2005-02-08). "SMU, North Texas to Resume Football Series". The Dallas Morning News.
- Capper, Eric (2013). "Future Non-Conference Schedules". North Texas 2013 Football Prospectus (PDF) (Prospectus). Denton, Texas: University of North Texas. p. 13.