Dallas Darrell Dickey could probably think of better situations under which to visit his alma mater.
There won't be much time this weekend to recall the pleasant memories of his days as the starting quarterback for Kansas State from 1979-82 and leading the Wildcats to their first postseason bowl game.
Instead, Dickey will be the coach on the opposite sideline today as North Texas (0-3), which is in only its fifth season of NCAA Division I-A football, plays the fourth-ranked Wildcats (3-0).
Dickey's alma mater has come a long way from that 1982 Independence Bowl. Kansas State is vying for national titles and had had three straight 11-win seasons. The Wildcats are also coming off a record 76-0 victory over Ball State.
"We will have to play unbelievably well just to stay in the game. Since our return to I-A football, this will be the best team we have played," Dickey said.
While Dickey said it's great to see how far KSU's program has come, he probably doesn't need an up-close reminder.
The Mean Green, which has lost eight straight games and is the lowest-scoring team in Division I-A, has scored just 14 points this season and is coming off a 38-0 loss at UNLV, which broke a 12-game home losing streak with its first shutout in 17 years.
"Obviously, we did not play as well as we had been playing or as well as we are capable of playing," Dickey said.
North Texas opened the season with a 20-7 loss to Baylor at home in Denton, then followed that with a 13-7 loss at Texas Tech.
UNLV scored 31 points on five straight possessions in the second half against the Mean Green, including three touchdowns in a five-minute span.
"Our guys need to realize that we've played probably 11 quarters of pretty good football," Dickey said. "We've played awfully well against Baylor, against Tech and with the exception of the second quarter against UNLV. We need discipline and focus."
And a lot of luck this week.
K-State, the highest-scoring team among the 114 members of Division I-A, has gouged opponents for 157 points, averaging better than 52 a game.
Kansas State has outscored its three opponents 157-17. Against Ball State, the Wildcats led 34-0 less than 12 minutes into the game when most of the starters sat down for the rest of the game.
It's not only scoring that separates these teams by a huge margin. Kansas State, which has a 31-game regular-season winning streak against non-ranked opponents, is No. 8 in total offense while North Texas is No. 108. In total defense, Kansas State is No. 5 and North Texas is 77th.
Still, it the Wildcats have taken notice that the Mean Green played Big 12 Conference foes Baylor and Texas Tech close.
"They are a better football team than Ball State by a considerable margin," K-State coach Bill Snyder said.