Louisiana Lafayette returns 17 starters — most in the Sun Belt — from a team that won nine games. The Ragin' Cajuns will have an opportunity to flex their might in back-to-back September road games against Mississippi and Boise State. Texas State and Arkansas State could be troublesome in October, but the rest of the schedule looks relatively easy.
That opened a can of political worms. The site received several emails on both sides of the issue and most recently, a passionate email from a longtime reader asked that we refer to the school by its "lawful" name, Louisiana Lafayette.
Along with the email came this link, which goes into great detail why officials in Lafayette are prohibited from changing their name, even though the university's sports teams openly brandish "Louisiana" on uniforms.
This is clearly a hot button political issue in Louisiana and because of that, we're going to kick the can down the road, just like any good politician. (Can you say debt ceiling debate?)
But we invite both sides to either comment or send emails to help determine how the site treats this issue in the future.
What's in a name? Perhaps a reader can straight this out. The University of Louisiana Lafayette was known as Southwestern Louisiana until April 27, 1984, when the Board of of Trustees for State Colleges and Universities voted by a 17-1 margin to drop the "Southwestern" from USL's name. On that date, the University of Southwestern Louisiana became the University of Louisiana. The move lasted only a few days, as administrators at other state schools worried that UL’s new name would diminish their directional image. In May 1984, the Board Regents, with the strong support of powerful Louisiana State backers on and off the Board, took the issue to district court, asserting that only the Louisiana Legislature could rename state universities. Yes, they won, and the University of Louisiana was stripped of its new name.
Through a series of court cases and legislative acts since then, we now have something called the "LSU Rule," which requires all universities that change their name change it to "University of Louisiana at [city designation]." Seriously, we never realized that the folks at LSU were so insecure about such matters and because of that, the Wiz will now refer to Louisiana Lafayette simply as Louisiana, which is the way the folks in Lafayette want it to be. Take that, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge!
As a run-up to the start of the season, the Wiz will display one
poster each day until our supply is exhausted.
Then we turn it over to readers, who will vote on the poster of the
year. In the meantime, send your team's poster schedule to jayzuma (at)
Last year, the site
displayed 69 posters. This is poster No. 46 for 2010. Thanks to RaginCajuns.com.
Granted, the Ragin' Cajuns open at home against Division I-AA Southern, but it's difficult to argue with the rest of the nonconference schedule. There's a home game against Kansas State, followed by trips to Louisiana State and Nebraska. An upset of one of the big-time teams would give Louisiana Lafayette a jolt of confidence entering Sun Belt play. A reminder to click any poster schedule for an enlarged view. Thanks to Daryl!
Legendary sportswriter Wendell Barnhouse recently left the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and is now a correspondent for Big 12 Sports.com. With 30 years experience of observing the college scene, his expertise is unmatched. In the spirit of Steve Harvey's Bottom Ten, Wendell will provide us a capsule look at college football's less fortunate, counting down the Bottom 25 teams in Division I-A football.
No. 8 Louisiana Lafayette Location: Lafayette, La. Nickname: Ragin' Cajuns. Conference: Sun Belt. Coach: Rickey Bustle, 26-44 in six seasons. Division I-A history: 460-489-31 in 100 seasons, .485 winning percentage. Last bowl season: None. (Louisiana Lafayette played in the 1970 Grantland Rice Bowl, which is not recognized as a "major" bowl game.) Best record in last five years: 6-5 in 2005. Rank(ed) because: Bustle, a former Virignia Tech assistant, has a program that is built on a solid rushing attack (seventh in the Division I-A last season with 250 yards per game. The Ragin' Cajuns, though, can't do much else. They were 100th or worse in six statistical categories — passing offense, net punting, punt returns, rushing defense, total defense, scoring defense. Negative number: 21. The scoring margin in last season's 38-17 loss at home to McNeese State, which in case you don't keep track of things is a Division I-AA team. Losing to a I-AA team — bad. Losing to a I-AA team that can use the victory as a bargaining chip for recruits in your home state — worse. Possible victory: Florida International, Nov. 1. The visitors are one of the few teams that are ranked better (worse?) in the Bottom 25 than La-La. Considering the schedule before this game, the Ragin' Cajuns might be seeking their first victory when the Panthers travel to Louisiana.
Biggest blowout: At Illinois, Sept. 13. Playing a road game against a solid Big Ten team is a two-course menu for a big loss. Is there hope?: Everywhere but in the win column. Bustle can boast of his team's classroom work that is producing an upward-tracking Academic Progress Rate. Season ticket sales are up, the school has built a new indoor practice facility with a new weight room next for construction. But the Ragin' Cajuns don't appear capable of moving North of the six-win level.