[Editor’s Note: This series was cancelled due to time constraints.]
Lost Lettermen is counting down and ranking all 124 FBS college football teams from best to worst by comparing each to a well-known song. We will examine one team per day through the summer in the lead up to the 2012 season. Today’s team: The UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.
2011 Record: 9-4 Head Coach: Mark Hudspeth Returning Starters: 10 (8 offense, 2 defense) Key Players: QB Blaine Gautier, WR Harry Peoples, S Jemarious Moten
9/1: vs. Lamar 9/8: @ Troy 9/15: @ Oklahoma St. 9/29: vs. FIU 10/6: vs. Tulane 10/16: @ North Texas 10/23: vs. Arkansas St. 11/3: @ Louisiana-Monroe 11/10: @ Florida 11/17: vs. Western Kentucky 11/24: vs. South Alabama 12/1: @ FAU
The Ragin’ Cajuns stroll into the 2012 campaign fresh off a nine-win season in Mark Hudspeth’s first year at the helm. Not to mention, Hudspeth upset San Diego St. in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl to cap off a surprising year. However, for the upcoming fall, there’s no question Hudspeth will struggle to produce the same results. The Ragin’ Cajuns return just two starters on defense in linebacker Jake Molbert and safety Jemarious Moten and, while there are a handful of defensive transfers expected to step in and fill starting roles. The youth and inexperience will undoubtedly show at times throughout the season. Under center, Blaine Gautier returns for his senior year with hopes of duplicating his 23-touchdown and 2,900-yard-plus season from a year ago. Wide receivers Harry Peoples and Darryl Surgent - who combined for over 1,200 yards and seven receiving touchdowns - are Gautier’s prime targets again for 2012.
Based on the defensive holes, a season that exceeded expectations from a year ago and the upcoming non-conference road schedule, it’s almost certain the Ragin’ Cajuns will take a step or two back in 2012 - and that’s OK. For a team that lost so much on defense, an eight-win season is still attainable and, with that, we’re reminded of Shania Twain’s upbeat country track titled, “Up.” It’s got a catchy tune that describes the state of the Louisiana-Lafayette football program. Despite a minor setback in 2012, it can only go up from here for Hudspeth and company.