Putting Ten in Perspective – From the Bird’s Nest
If you've been a fan of Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football over the years, last night's win over ULM should have been really special.
Because while younger fans will look at ten wins as a great season and a school record, those who have been around a while remember when ten wins was something you hoped for in a two year period.
And, there was no darker period for the Ragin' Cajuns than the five year period between 1997-2001.
Ten really gets put into perspective when you think of nine.
That's how many wins the Cajuns got in that five year period.
During that time, we saw the Cajuns lose to Tulane four times, giving up 72 points to the Wave in 1998. We saw Louisiana give up 63 points to Louisiana Tech in 1997, only to give up 77 more in 1998. The Cajuns lost to a Division II school (North Alabama) in 1997 and lost three times to FCS opponents in the same season (2000). Of the nine wins, three were against FCS opponents and four of the wins were against either Arkansas State or ULM. During that five year period, the Cajuns were outscored 2,141 to 953.
It got so bad that as we were getting ready to leave on a road trip, I told former President Dr. Ray Authement that we were going to win. "How do you know?" he asked. I said "Because we're going to lie. We're going to let everyone know we won the game and they won't know we got our ass kicked until tomorrow when they read the paper." Doc didn't laugh.
Five seasons. 9-46.
Rickey Bustle came on in 2002 and gave the Cajuns back their pride. And, Mark Hudspeth took the Cajuns to four nine win seasons, even though the NCAA insists there was only one.
Now Billy Napier has led the Cajuns into waters only dreamed of as the calendar reached the 21st century.
During that five year span, the most points the Cajuns scored in a season was 234. This year, they've scored 466. The fewest points given up during that five years was 355. The 2019 Cajuns have given up 214.
There's an old saying that in order to know where you are, you have to know where you've been.
I know a ten win season is special to all Cajun fans. But for those who were in the abyss when the Cajuns were arguably the worst program in the FBS, I only have one thing to say.
Enjoy the ride and...
Smoke em if you got em.