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Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana-Monroe’

Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 3 (Sept. 15)

Do you remember the last time Notre Dame took a trip to East Lansing? You might not remember the game’s first 60 minutes and change, but that’s fine: things didn’t get wild until overtime, when Michigan State answered a Notre Dame field goal with the most audacious coaching decision of the 2010 season. Now you remember, right? Dan Conroy is lined up for the potentially game-tying 46-yard field goal; Aaron Bates, the punter and team captain, was the holder; tight end Charlie Gantt was lined up one spot inside from the edge to Conroy’s right. The call: “Little Giants.” The snap went to Bates, as expected – and then came the unexpected. You’ll see the rest of the play later tonight, when the Irish and Spartans meet in one of the day’s marquee games. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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    Setting Early Non-B.C.S. Conference Odds

    Technically, there are seven non-B.C.S. conference teams still in the B.C.S. mix: Boise State, B.Y.U., Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Ohio and Utah State. The number would be eight if Texas-San Antonio was eligible for postseason play, but alas – the Roadrunners, still undefeated after walloping Texas A&M-Commerce, must resign themselves to playing out the string. Unless you’re Boise State, a one-loss non-automatic qualifier is not reaching a B.C.S. bowl without some degree of divine intervention, or the sort of N.C.A.A. intervention that would leave 75 teams ineligible for the postseason.

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      P.S.R. 1-124: Week 3 Re-Ranking

      With the weekend in the books, here’s a look at how the country ranks — using the original rankings as the starting point, with the season’s results as rationale for any movement. The top 25 teams land a one-sentence breakdown. The rest? Not so much. Part of the perks of being one of the best. Think your team is too low? Feel another team deserves more credit, less credit? Let’s hear it below. It’s a delicate ranking process, particularly with only two weeks in the books, so you may see one team ranked below a team it just beat — see Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas, for example. Don’t be alarmed. Everything will become clearer by the end of the month.

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        U.L.M. Shocks, Rewrites Arkansas’ Season

        Louisiana-Monroe owns the SEC. Not really. No, really: U.L.M. owns the SEC – with a slight caveat. The Warhawks are as good against the SEC as any non-B.C.S. conference program in the country, I should say. Last night, the Warhawks beat Arkansas, 34-31, in overtime, to notch the program’s second win against the nation’s premier conference since 2007. The victory joins that earlier win against Alabama in Nick Saban’s first year; the two wins sandwich seven losses, but that’s neither here nor there.

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          A.P.R. Scores Viewed at 2014-15 Level

          The latest Academic Progress Rates, released yesterday by the N.C.A.A., uses the baseline of a four-year score of 900 for postseason eligibility. By that standard, all 120 F.B.S. programs – not yet 124 when this data was compiled – earn a passing grade.

          But beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, the baseline to avoid penalties will increase to 930, putting a few F.B.S. programs in danger of suffering one or more of several potential penalties: a postseason ban, a loss of scholarships or a loss of practice time, for example.

          According to the N.C.A.A., an A.P.R. score of 930 equates to a graduation rate of roughly 50 percent. While the current rate of 900 remains in place for the next two years, the increased standard has the potential to impact a handful of B.C.S. and non-B.C.S. conference programs.

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            Sun Belt Offenses Catch Up With Troy

            While the underdog portion of the Sun Belt was moving forward, Troy was standing still. I don’t mean this in the big picture, but in one specific category: totals plays. Consider this:

            –Troy led the Sun Belt in total plays run from scrimmage in each year from 2007-10. The Trojans averaged 980.3 plays per season, running at least 972 plays each year with a high of 997 plays in 2010.

            –The Trojans’ offense was on the field for 867 plays last fall, which tied Florida International for fifth-most in the Sun Belt. Arkansas State led the way with 1,016 plays, followed by Louisiana-Monroe with 939 plays, Middle Tennessee with 938 plays and Louisiana-Lafayette with 893 plays.

            –And the Trojans weren’t doing more with less. Last year’s offense averaged 5.3 yards per play, a program-low since 2007. Troy averaged 5.9 yards per play in 2010; 6.5 yards per play in 2009. Both totals paced the conference. Two teams, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette, tied for the S.B.C. lead at 5.7 yards per play last fall.

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              No. 107: Louisiana-Monroe

              U.L.M. has an image problem. It’s not about L.S.U., because L.S.U. is L.S.U., and that’s fine. Louisiana-Monroe doesn’t compete with the Tigers, and wouldn’t dare try, of course. U.L.M. competes with Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech and Tulane for in-state eyeballs, and as the Warhawks head into the summer, they’re losing the battle for public attention. The Ragin’ Cajuns are riding a wave of good vibes after earning their first bowl berth on the F.B.S. level, beating U.L.M. to the punch. In addition to hitting its groove under Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech is now back in the news thanks to this week’s jump into Conference USA. Even Tulane, despite suffering a setback to its hopes for an on-campus stadium, has moved back into the regional conversation since hiring Curtis Johnson in December. In a state with five F.B.S. programs, U.L.M.’s Q rating comes in last. Perhaps being last isn’t new for the Warhawks; being a distant last, however, is a recent development.

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                Idaho, N.M.S.U. Hope Sun Belt Moves West

                If Idaho and New Mexico State wish to remain part of the F.B.S. — and here’s guessing they do — each could choose to attempt to make a go of things as an Independent. There are two issues with dropping any conference affiliation: one, the Vandals and Aggies would need to find seven games to replace the conference games lost with the WAC’s disintegration; and two, the two schools would need to find a way to recoup the lost conference revenue. As an Independent, one way for the Vandals and Aggies to keep the money flowing into their respective athletic departments is to play seven or eight road games against B.C.S. conference competition every season. Is that a tenable solution for two programs that have failed to win with any consistency since joining the WAC in 2005 — and for the decades prior to joining the league?

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.