It's July.  That means it's time for football.

Well, time to be thinking about it, anyway.

We don't know how good the Cajuns will be in 2018.  But, with a new coaching staff, a new cULture and plenty of challenges, there will be lots of reasons to head to Cajun Field for the upcoming season.

And plenty of reasons to hit the road.  Here are just a few.

SEPTEMBER 1--GRAMBLING--Amazingly, the Cajuns and Tigers have never met on the gridiron.  The crew from North Louisiana will travel well and you've got a chance to make new friends.  You know their band will be entertaining.  Oh, and they have a pretty good football team, too.  Tailgate early for this one and welcome the visitors.

SEPTEMBER 15--at MISSISSIPPI STATE--Gameday in the Southeastern Conference is always fun.  The Cajuns haven't visited Starkville in more than 30 years and this one could be interesting.  Former head football coach Mark Hudspeth will be on the Bulldogs' sideline, Nick Fitzgerald is one of the league's premier quarterbacks and you can find out if, in fact, the world needs more cowbell.

SEPTEMBER 22--COASTAL CAROLINA--It's the first ever meeting between the Cajuns and Chanticleers.  It's the conference opener and, with a championship game on tap for the first time in the Sun Belt, every league game is crucial.  You also get a chance to see if teal is a becoming color for football uniforms.

SEPTEMBER 29--at ALABAMA--The Cajuns will be huge underdogs, but that isn't the point.  It's Alabama.  The Cajuns haven't visited Tuscaloosa since 1984 (other away meetings were in Birmingham) and there's probably no game day experience quite like the Capstone.  An event not to be missed.

OCTOBER 6--at TEXAS STATE--If you haven't visited San Marcos, you're missing out on a great weekend.  Beautiful campus, great stadium, a trip to the Gristmill Restaurant and bargains galore at one of the largest outlet malls in America.  And, the Cajuns have never lost to Texas State.  Road wins are lots of fun.  It's just a six hour drive from Lafayette and it's well worth your time.

OCTOBER 13--NEW MEXICO STATE (HC)--Be still my heart.  A Saturday home game in October...for the first time in three years.  A break in the weather (hopefully), homecoming festivities, the Hall of Fame induction and a game against a familiar foe no longer in the conference.  By this time the Cajuns will have gone three weeks without a home game.  Party time before and after...and, hopefully, during.

OCTOBER 20--at APPALACHIAN STATE--Well, I'd be lying if I said it was an easy road trip.  But Boone, NC is beautiful, especially at this time of year.  Nothing wrong with a weekend in the mountains.  Lots of cabins and rooms for rent in that area so there's no need to worry about a hotel.  Try the hash and eggs at the Sunrise Grill.  It's the most picturesque campus in the league.  Oh, and their football program is really good.  We could find out a LOT about the Cajuns this week.

OCTOBER 27--ARKANSAS STATE--The Cajuns' biggest football rival makes it's biannual visit to Cajun Field.  The Red Wolves will be the heavy favorite to win the West Division so there will be a lot riding on this one.  Quarterback Justice Hansen is exciting to watch and the Cajuns will be underdogs.  But the Cajuns always seem to find a way when the game is in Lafayette.  Arkansas State has won exactly one time at Cajun Field in the last 26 years.

NOVEMBER 3--at TROY--The Trojans are one of the favorites in the East and this wraps up the three game stretch where the Cajuns play the league's best (preseason) teams.  Another beautiful campus and I've said many times, next to Cajun fans, there are no friendlier folks in the league.   A visit to the lunch buffet at Sisters is almost a religious experience and one not to be missed if you make the trip.

NOVEMBER 10--GEORGIA STATE--The Cajuns haven't seen the Panthers in a while.  Georgia State was a bowl team a year ago and it's a chance to see the league's best receiver in Penny Hart.  The dude is really good.  If the Cajuns are to be a bowl team in 2018, put this one in the "must win" category.

NOVEMBER 17--SOUTH ALABAMA--It's the home finale.  It's Senior Day.  And, it's the Jaguars.  The football series is relatively new, but hey, it's the Jaguars.  Winning at home is fun and the Cajuns have never lost to the Jags at Cajun Field.  Your chance to send the seniors off in style.

NOVEMBER 24--at ULM--This could wind up being a very important game for both teams as far as bowl eligibility is concerned.  The Warhawks are getting a lot of preseason love from the mags and Caleb Evans is the reason.  The ULM QB is one dangerous dude.  It's probably going to be an afternoon game which makes it easy to drive up, see the game and drive home.  And, depending on what kind of season ULM has had, a big Cajun crowd could outnumber the Warhawk fans.  It wouldn't be the first time.

Twelve games.  All with good reasons to be there.  Who's in? #billybilly