Looking at the 2016 Cajuns Football Schedule – From the Bird’s Nest
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns released their 2016 schedule Thursday.
No schedule is perfect. And, fans can always find something positive and negative about schedules when they come out. This schedule is no different.
But I must say, there's more good than bad in this schedule. Here are some of the highlights.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME---If you're coming off a 4-8 season, the thing you want to do is get off to a good start. Playing at home gives you that opportunity. Ask any coach and they'll tell you, if you can't have a perfectly balanced schedule, then front loading it is much better than back loading it when it comes to playing at home. Fans are excited at the beginning of the season. The Cajuns get three straight at Cajun Field to open up. Boise State is the most attractive non conference opponent to visit the Swamp in recent years. McNeese State will bring in the biggest crowd of the season (dem Cowboys will travel to Lafayette in big numbers), and then the conference opener with South Alabama. Yes, it will be hot. Yes, you will sweat while tailgating and sweat during the game. If your team wins, you won't care nearly as much. Wear lots of deodorant. And, imagine how that Boise State team is going to feel in that heat.
A TRIP TO NEW ORLEANS--Week four features a trip to Tulane and new head coach Willie Fritz. It's a trip to New Orleans, it's against the Greenies and tickets will be available. Don't know if the Cajuns will have more fans there than the home team, but if they did, it wouldn't be the first time. They play on campus now, which is pretty cool.
ONE LAST TRIP TO LAS CRUCES---Actually, El Paso the night before. Not an easy trip to make. But you can eat at Carlos and Mickey's in El Paso the night before. And, that city is ALWAYS festive. Did I mention Carlos and Mickey's? Many brands of tequila. Luke Johnson of the Advocate will be happy to do a shot with you.
MORE NATIONAL EXPOSURE--The Cajuns and App State have a Wednesday night game on ESPN2. A game on ESPN2 is never a bad thing. Repeat: Never a bad thing. Yes, it's on a school night. Yes, it means one less Saturday home game. Yes, tailgating is affected. Yes, I'd rather play on Saturday, too. But a three and a half hour commercial for your program outweighs all of that. Cajuns get plenty of national love with shots from the parking lot. We all say no one does it like the Cajuns. Showing it off doesn't suck.
SAN MARCOS, ANYONE--Frankly, I think there's no better place on the road in this league. There's plenty of night life, plenty of good food in the area and that humongous outlet mall is a good way to bribe the wife to make a road trip. Not necessarily good for your credit card, but hey, a sacrifice is sometimes necessary.
NO ROAD TRIP TO IDAHO....YET--The Vandals come to Lafayette for Homecoming on November 5th. That is better than going to Moscow. Trust me. 2017 will probably be a different story, but we might as well prolong the agony as much as possible. It's also on my birthday. Feel free to bring presents.
GEORGIA ON OUR MIND--Neither is an easy road trip, but the Cajuns go to the land of the Peaches on two consecutive weeks in November. Both are great road trips. Savannah is less than an hour from Statesboro, and you'll learn the true meaning of "Old South" if you go there. And, trips to Power Five schools are always fun, especially late in the season. You have a better chance to pull an upset if they're worried about conference games...and they always are.
ARKANSAS STATE...ON A SATURDAY--That hasn't happened in many years. It's become a solid football rivalry. The two teams don't like each other much. And, trust me, fans in Jonesboro are rejoicing...because EVERYONE loves a trip to Cajun Country. And, it's senior night. Good way to send the good guys off with a big win. Bummer, it's on Thanksgiving weekend which always hurts the crowd. But, I don't think we're moving Thanksgiving to another date any time soon.
ULM AT THE END OF THE SEASON--Just feels right. And, it's an easy trip. Drive up, see the game, drive home. Waterfront Grill has good grub and it's not far from the stadium. And, late in the year, the Warhawks are smart enough to play in the afternoon. If you win, the trip is worthwhile. It puts the fun in Funroe.
No, it's not a perfect schedule. But overall, it's a good one.
Especially if you win.