Not many season-opening opponents enter enemy soil with such a bull's-eye on their backs.
And for something they had no control over, no less.
But September 1 will be LSU's first contest following the disappointment of last season's BCS Championship Game, and you can be sure the Tigers will try to turn whoever the opponent would be from Mean Green to black and blue.
That's a tough break for a North Texas squad that probably didn't have much of a chance anyway.
The Mean Green finished 5-7 a year ago and had a respectable go in the non-conference slate. Sure, they lost to Alabama 41-0 and got outgained by over 400 yards, but they beat Big Ten foe Indiana and scored more than 20 (although they gave up more than 40) against near-BCS buster Houston and talented Tulsa. That's not bad for a Sun Belt outfit, and maybe that's why the Mean Green are destined for an upgrade to Conference USA in 2013.
Their 4-4 finish in conference play, however, took them out of the running for a winning season.
In 2012, North Texas will have to overcome the loss of running back Lance Dunbar. That won't be easy. He is the Mean Green's all-time leader in rushing yards (4,224), rushing yards in a game (313), touchdowns scored (49), points scored (294) and all-purpose yards (5,375).
Next man up is probably Brandin Byrd, and he'll likely be getting his second career start against LSU's vaunted defense. Good luck.
Byrd carried the ball only 20 times last season for one touchdown. He appeared in 11 of 12 games. Dunbar was just such a workhorse that there weren't very many other carries to go around.
The loss of Dunbar may put more pressure on North Texas' passing game and quarterback Derek Thompson. In his first full year as the starter last season, Thompson completed 57.7 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns compared to six interceptions. He'll have the majority of his favorite targets back as well, including Chris Bynes and Brelan Chancellor who combined for eight of North Texas' 14 touchdown receptions last season.
Chancellor doubles as North Texas' return man although he wasn't very good at either kickoff or punt returns last season.
Defensively, the Mean Green will have quite a bit to replace as only three starters return. One of those returnees is linebacker Zach Orr, the 2011 team leader with 74 stops a year ago. He also made seven tackles for loss, which placed him third on the team.
To say the least, the Mean Green were not very good defensively last season. They finished 97th in total defense, giving up 429.33 yards per game, and they were even worse against the pass, ranking 104th nationally at 265.83 yards per game.
Without eight starters from that unit, don't expect their defense to be any better.
That means Zach Mettenberger will likely have double, triple or even quadruple his career passing-touchdown total of one, and backups Stephen Rivers and Rob Bolden might even get in on the action once the game is well in hand.
If you're looking for individual matchups to watch to keep the game interesting once the score isn't, here are a couple.
After sitting out last season, North Texas transfer offensive lineman Cam Feldt was one of the top OL recruits in the country before he enrolled at Arkansas as a freshman. Two years later he finds himself beginning his career for the Mean Green against an SEC opponent anyway. If he earns a starting spot, how will he block against LSU's ferocious front-four?
Secondly, the game will feature two of America's best punters in Brad Wing and Will Atterbery (43.5 avg. in 2011). Both squads finished in the top-10 nationally in net punting last year with LSU coming in first.