Category: Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns

Robert Nkemdiche
AP Photo

Group of Five Update: It’s the American’s bid to lose


Good morning, everyone. Zach here filling in for Kevin on this week’s Group of Five update.

It was a great weekend for the American, and it became that way before Saturday even started. Boise State’s slopfest loss to Utah State on Friday night all but eliminated the Broncos and, thus, the entire Mountain West from Group of Five contention. The entire conference now has at least two losses (in fact, Utah State and Boise State are the only MW teams without at least three losses) and not a quality non-conference win to share among its 12 members. The league at one point had a 21-game non-conference losing streak, lowlighting what will likely shape up to be a forgettable season for the perennially strong conference.

The Mountain West’s loss, it appears, will be the American’s gain. Memphis’s historic 37-24 win over No. 13 Ole Miss will likely give the conference two top-25 teams when the polls come out later today and kept the conference steady at three undefeated teams. Fellow unbeatens Houston (42-7 over Tulane) and Temple (30-16 over Central Florida) took care of business against AAC also-rans, setting up what should be a dandy of a conference championship race. Temple (6-0) is alone in first place in the American East and has a great resume boost opportunity coming later this month when Notre Dame visits Lincoln Financial Field. The West, meanwhile, has three viable contenders in Memphis, Houston and 4-1 Navy. That troika has still yet to play each other. Memphis hosts Navy Nov. 7, Houston hosts Memphis Nov. 14, and Houston hosts Navy on Nov. 27. Whoever emerges will likely face Temple for the AAC crown and a Peach or Fiesta bowl berth on the line.

If all four of those teams were to collapse in on themselves, however, Toledo is more than ready to pick up the slack. The 6-0 Rockets thumped Eastern Michigan 63-20 on Saturday, but the rest of their slate will not be so easy. Preseason MAC contenders Northern Illinois, Bowling Green and Western Michigan still lay ahead over the Rockets’ final six games.

In Conference USA, everything is building toward a de facto championship game between Western Kentucky (6-1, 4-0 C-USA) and Marshall (6-1, 3-0 C-USA). The winner of that one, Nov. 27 in Bowling Green, will be heavily favored to beat the West champion in the C-USA title game the following week.

Finally, the Sun Belt title will likely be decided on Thursday when Georgia Southern visits Appalachian State on Thursday night. If either of those two were to drop the ball, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette remain the top contenders to claim the Sun Belt crown.


Louisiana-Lafayette probed for possible NCAA recruiting violations

Elijah McGuire
Associated Press

The NCAA has inquired into possible recruiting violations at Louisiana-Lafayette, according to a report from The (Lafayette) Advertiser on Sunday.

At the heart of the matter is a possible changing of standardized test scores for multiple recruits during the Mark Hudspeth era. Hudsepth is not accused of wrongdoing and is said to have fully cooperated with the investigation, though new language in the NCAA handbook can chain head coaches to the possible misdeeds of their assistants.

As always, it’s a former rogue assistant that’s claimed to have violated NCAA bylaws here – specifically, former cornerbacks and outside linebackers coach David Saunders. According to the Advertiser, he is the only current or former Hudspeth assistant believed by the NCAA to have participated in any wrongdoing.

The laundry list of sins Saunders allegedly committed, though, is steep – and serious.

From the paper:

Saunders is accused of directing certain recruits to a specific ACT testing center at Wayne County High in Mississippi, and of arranging for an ACT supervisor to complete and/or alter answers to improve test scoring. He also is accused of paying for one recruit’s living/educational expenses while at a two-year college, including one $5,000 payment, and of not cooperating with NCAA enforcement staff.

“We take the allegations very seriously and have fully cooperated with the investigation,” Cajuns AD Scott Farmer said in a statement. “We’ve been committed to finding the truth as much as the NCAA.”

The players involved in the possible grade-changing scheme were not named. “UL is not identifying the student-athletes involved, and it’s believed the players involved did not have any knowledge of wrongdoing,” the paper wrote.

Saunders left the staff last November for “personal reasons” and now coaches at Pearl River Community College in Mississippi.

Louisiana-Lafayette is 38-18 in four-plus seasons under Hudspeth.

Report: Brad Franchione named Texas state interim defensive coordinator

Jonathan Vickers, Ja'Vonn Harrison
AP Photo

Texas State will name linebackers coach/special teams coordinator Brad Franchione as its interim defensive coordinator, according to a report from Football Scoop. (Full disclosure: I also write for Football Scoop.) Franchione would step in for John Thompson, who voluntarily stepped down on Sunday.

Franchione is in his fifth season at Texas State, and arrived after posting a 54-13 and two national championships as head coach at Blinn Junior College (Texas). He is the son of Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione. He also has experience at Texas A&M-Commerce, Bacone College (Okla.), West Alabama, Tennessee-Martin, East Central (Okla.) and Fort Scott Community College (Kan.).

Franchione will be charged with turning around a defense that ranks 127th nationally in total defense, 124th in yards per play and dead last in scoring defense.

The Bobcats (1-3) are off this Saturday before opening Sun Belt play at Louisiana-Lafayette Oct. 10.

Sun Belt confirms Coastal Carolina’s addition in 2017


Yesterday’s report has officially become today’s come-to-fruition news.

In a press release, the Sun Belt announced that Coastal Carolina has accepted an invitation to join the conference.  The Chanticleers will join the league for football in 2017, while they move all of their other varsity sports in a year earlier for the 2016-17 season.

Currently playing at the FCS level, CCU will begin a transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision with its first year of full FBS status coming in 2018. While they will be eligible to compete for an SBC title in 2017, they won’t be eligible for a bowl game until 2018.

“On behalf of all of us at Coastal Carolina University, I’m honored to accept the invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference,” CCU president David A. DeCenzo said in a statement. “I am grateful to Sun Belt Commissioner, Mr. Karl Benson, for his steadfast support of CCU, and to the Sun Belt presidents and chancellors, who honored CCU by selecting their 12th member school.”

The official addition of CCU will give the SBC 12 members beginning in 2017, triggering a conference championship game. The conference will be split geographically into two divisions.

Further, the addition makes for a natural geographic split between East and West to allow for certain sports to compete in a divisional format. The six members that are located in the eastern half of the Sun Belt are: Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, South Alabama, and Troy. The six members in the western half are: Arkansas State, Little Rock, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, UT Arlington, and Texas State. Idaho and New Mexico State compete in the Sun Belt Conference as football only members. CCU’s location makes for a natural geographical fit to the Sun Belt as it borders both North Carolina, home of Appalachian State, and Georgia, home to both Georgia State and Georgia Southern.

“This is a great day for the Sun Belt Conference as we are very proud to have Coastal Carolina University join our membership,” the commissioner said in his statement. “The Sun Belt is a growing conference with a bright future and Coastal Carolina makes a perfect fit as it too has seen a tremendous amount of growth and has all the tools necessary to move forward at the highest level of collegiate athletics. Under the leadership of President David A. DeCenzo and Athletics Director Matt Hogue, I expect the Chanticleers to be competitive in all Sun Belt sports and to represent the conference in a first-class manner on and off the field.”

(Graphic credit: Sun Belt Conference)

Reports: Coastal Carolina to join Sun Belt in 2017


The Great Wheel of Conference Realignment may have just taken its last spin. For now.

According to a report from ESPN’s Brett McMurphy and USA Today‘s Dan Wolken, Coastal Carolina is set to join the Sun Belt as the league’s 12th and final member. The Chanticleers were finalists alongside Eastern Kentucky for the conference’s last remaining spot.


Eastern Kentucky is said to be further along than Coastal Carolina in terms of department-wide infrastructure, but the Myrtle Beach, S.C., school has two things the Colonels do not that are paramount in this particular game of thrones: recent football success and access to large sums of money, and not necessarily in that order. Coastal has both of those things thanks to Joe Moglia, the billionaire former banking executive that is now the Chanticleers’ head football coach; Moglia is 32-10 in three seasons as Coastal Carolina’s head coach, leading the club to the FCS quarterfinals in each of the past two seasons.

Coastal Carolina’s addition would allow the Sun Belt to split into two divisions and stage a football championship game. (Nevermind the fact that the NCAA will likely deregulate championship games before Coastal’s arrival.) Coastal Carolina would figure to fit into an East division alongside Appalachian State, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Troy and South Alabama. Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Arkansas State, Texas State, New Mexico State and Idaho figure to form a West division.

A formal announcement is expected Tuesday, where the school could stadium upgrades necessary for FBS admittance. Brooks Stadium holds 9,214; FBS teams are required to average at least 15,000 paid attendance over a rolling two-year period.