Tag:Sun Belt Conference
Posted on: November 21, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 12:46 pm

Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette going bowling

Posted by Chip Patterson

Louisiana-Lafayette is expected to announce an invitation to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in a pep rally on Monday, according local reports.

University officials announced a "bowl invitation pep rally" for Monday, where the school is expected to announce the acceptance to participate in one of the Sun Belt Conference's two bowl games. The game, played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Dec. 17, will be the first bowl game for Louisiana-Lafayette since 1970. It is also the first time in the 11-year history of the New Orleans Bowl that a team from Louisiana will be participating.

The Ragin Cajuns (8-3) were off in Week 12, but likely figured out their destination after Sun Belt Conference champion Arkansas State accepted an invitation to the GoDaddy.com Bowl - the only other bowl guaranteed to the Sun Belt. The Red Wolves locked up the conference after a 45-19 road victory over Middle Tennessee on Saturday.

"Arkansas State is 9-2 with the potential of being 10-2 and having a real good record when they arrive in Mobile for the game," GoDaddy.com president Jerry Silverstein told the Mobile Press-Register. "Not being in a bowl game in a while, being in a game the night before the (BCS) national championship game, it gives their fans a chance to come to town for a good weekend."

Arkansas State will face the to-be-determined MAC champion in Mobile, while Louisiana-Lafayette is slated to face a team from Conference USA. CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm actually has Syracuse slotted for the New Orleans Bowl, in the event that Conference USA will not be able to fill all their bids with bowl eligible teams.

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Posted on: October 20, 2010 11:43 am

Todd Dodge out at North Texas

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Quite frankly, after his Mean Green started 2010 with one win in only seven attempts, the question of Todd Dodge 's eventual dismissal as head coach at North Texas wasn't a matter of "if" but "when." As it turns out, the answer to "when" was Wednesday morning :


Dodge was arguably the top high school coach in the country during his time at Southlake Carroll and had a chance at UNT to prove that, unlike Gerry Faust at Notre Dame, he could translate that success to the college level.

UNT pulled the plug less than four years into the experiment Wednesday when it became apparent the gamble was a complete failure.

Dodge never won more than two games in his first three seasons at UNT, which is 1-6 just past the midway point of his fourth season. He finished with overall record of 6-37 for a winning percentage of 13.9, the worst in the history of major team sports at the school.

There's no Ron Zook-style coaching out the string here; offensive coordinator Mike Canales will serve as the team's interim head coach. Possible replacements include either Oklahoma co-offensive coordinators Jay Norvell or Kevin Wilson , or other Texas-connected assistants like Oklahoma State's Dana Holgorsen or Texas's Major Applewhite .

Unlike some of the other programs scraping the bottom of the D-I barrel, there's no question that's possible to win at Texas's fourth-largest university. (36,000 students at UNT, folks. The More You Know .) Under previous head coach Darrell Dickey , the Mean Green completely dominated the nascent Sun Belt in the early part of the previous decade, winning four consecutive conference titles from 2001 through 2004.

But UNT struggled through Dickey's final two seasons and decided to turn to Dodge, whose high-flying offense at Southlake Carroll -- arguably the best high school program in the country under his watch and producer of major quarterback talents like Missouri's Chase Daniel and Alabama's Greg McElroy -- promised to put both fans in the seats and wins on the scoreboard. For the most part, Dodge got the offensive results he needed, guiding the Mean Green to three straight top-60 finishes in total offense and a No. 36 ranking in 2009. But the UNT defense never evolved beyond "train wreck" status on Dodge's watch, finishing 113th, 120th (out of 120, remember), and 97th his first three seasons.

To be fair, Dodge has been also forced to deal with more than his share of bad luck over the past two seasons. The 2009 Mean Green finished 2-10 but went an ugly 0-5 in games decided by four points or less. With better luck and Dodge's most experienced lineup, 2010 was supposed to be UNT's breakthrough, but injuries to starting quarterback Nathan Tune , backup QB Derek Thompson , and even wide receiver-slash-emergency quarterback Riley Dodge (the coach's son) crippled the offense and forced walk-on Chase Baine into the starter's role in last week's 24-19 loss to Arkansas State .

Bad luck or not, though, coaches who go 6-37 across three-and-a-half seasons don't get a fifth one. And so it will likely be a long while before any team -- even in the Sun Belt -- attempts to hire a high school head coach again.
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