As we head into the final three weeks of the 2022 college football regular season, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns look to become bowl eligible for the fifth consecutive season and the 10th time in the last 12 years.
A last-second 23–17 loss to the division-leading Sun Belt West rivals, the Troy Trojans, on Nov. 5 at Cajun Field dropped the Cajuns to 4–5 on the year and effectively eliminated the Cajuns’ conference championship hopes. At 2–4 in conference play, Louisiana currently sits in fifth place in the Sun Belt West.
Should Louisiana become bowl eligible for the 2022 season, they will be eyeing one of the five guaranteed spots for Sun Belt teams in bowl games: the Cure Bowl, the Lending Tree Bowl, the Myrtle Beach Bowl, the Camellia Bowl and the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
For a Division I college football program to become eligible for a postseason bowl game, the team must win at least six of their games and maintain a win percentage of at least .500, or 50%.
The Cajuns will have three more opportunities this season to win at least two more games and become bowl eligible for the 10th time in the program’s history, beginning Nov. 10 at home versus the 5–4 Georgia Southern Eagles.
The following week, Louisiana will travel to Tallahassee, Florida on Nov. 19 to take on the 6–3 Florida State Seminoles, their first Power-5 opponent of the season and the first under new head coach Michael Desormeaux.
The Cajuns’ final chance for bowl eligibility will come on the road in their terminal game of the year against the 3–6 Texas State Bobcats.
The 2022 season is the first year that Louisiana is competing in a 14-team conference after recent NCAA realignment this past offseason. The Sun Belt welcomed the James Madison Dukes, the Marshall Thundering Herd, the Old Dominion Monarchs and the Southern Miss Golden Eagles to the conference in addition to the 10 pre-existing members.
James Madison, formerly an FCS school, Marshall and Old Dominion, both formerly of Conference USA, joined the Sun Belt East Division while Southern Miss, also formerly of Conference USA, joined the Cajuns in the Sun Belt West Division.
Desormeaux and the Cajuns would’ve needed a ton of help and then some if they were to win the Sun Belt West and secure a spot in the conference championship game on Dec. 3.
Prior to Nov. 5, Louisiana sat in fourth place in the Sun Belt West behind Troy, Southern Miss and the South Alabama Jaguars and ahead of the UL Monroe Warhawks. Having already lost to UL Monroe, South Alabama and Southern Miss, the Cajuns dug themselves into a deep hole.
First and foremost, Louisiana would’ve needed to win out the remainder of their conference matchups against Troy, Georgia Southern and Texas State, which would’ve given them a 5–3 record in Sun-Belt play.
Had the Cajuns defeated Troy on Nov. 5 and finished 5–3 in the conference, the Trojans would’ve needed to lose one of their remaining two conference games for Louisiana to remain ahead of their rivals via tiebreaker.
Assuming Louisiana finished 5–3 in the conference, they would’ve also needed South Alabama to lose their remaining three games of the season, all against conference opponents, due to losing their head-to-head matchup versus the Jaguars in Week 5.
The Cajuns would’ve needed more help in the form of Southern Miss losing at least two of their last three games, all against Sun Belt teams, and finishing with no more than four conference wins due to Louisiana losing their head-to-head matchup against the Golden Eagles in Week 9.
Lastly, had Louisiana finished 5–3 in the Sun Belt, they would’ve also needed UL Monroe to lose at least one of their final three games, once again all against conference teams. The Cajuns lost the head-to-head matchup against the Warhawks in Week 4.
All this to say, Louisiana simply did not take care of business in the most important games of the season, losing several key conference matchups. There’s still a chance in these final three weeks for Cajuns fans to see their team secure a spot in a postseason bowl game.