As football season is over, and baseball and softball have yet to start their seasons as of Feb. 9, I am having trouble coping. Football is my favorite sport, and I love the Cajuns to death and then some. Therefore, I have decided to squeeze every last ounce of football content I can until the Ragin Cajuns’ baseball team starts up in earnest. While the dates of certain games have not been announced, the opponents have, and I believe that there’s enough information to give you my honest predictions for the 2023-24 football season.
In Week 1, the Ragin’ Cajuns start off with an easier game against the Northwestern State Demons. The Demons went 4–7 in FCS play last year, and it wasn’t pretty for them. The Cajuns will use this game to test out their starting quarterback, be it Chandler Fields or Ben Wooldridge. Expect Zeon Chriss or newly-recruited D’Wayne Winfield to take some snaps if and when the game becomes a blowout like I expect to be. I believe the Cajuns will win 45–17.
The Cajuns will also have two out-of-conference games on the road in the month of September. The first will be against UAB in Birmingham, Alabama. The Cajuns will be one of the first tests for new Blazers’ head coach Trent Dilfer, who took the job last November. With a good chunk of starters returning, I expect the Cajuns to fall in a close one as the Blazers’ kick a field goal to win the game in the closing seconds.
For the second-to-last non-conference game, the Buffalo Bulls are coming to Cajun Field for the initial leg of a home-and-home. The Bulls were about the same level as the Cajuns last season, and I expect them to fight tooth and nail with the Cajuns to the final whistle, but at the end of the day the Cajuns will be victorious
Finally, we get to Minnesota. I won’t take too much time to go over this one. They’re a Big Ten opponent, and the Cajuns do not have the strength to compete with the Golden Gophers even though Minnesota is losing star tailback Mohamed Ibrahim to the draft. Expect a blowout here, with the Cajuns giving up at least 40 points.
From there, the Cajuns enter conference play. If you’re keeping track so far, the Cajuns are 2–2 in my predictions for this season. For the first time, Old Dominion will square off with UL as Sun Belt foes. However, due to the Monarchs’ lack of success last season, I don’t believe this will be a fair fight as the Cajuns will earn their third win.
The Arkansas State Red Wolves are also going to be a tough challenge for the Cajuns on the road. For the first half of their 2022 matchup, Arkansas State kept it close. However, it ended up being a rout for Louisiana, and I expect more of the same to occur here as well. Fans of the team will be leaving Jonesboro, Arkansas happy, cheering on the vermilion and white to their fourth victory.
That cheering will be short-lived, however. Two games I am certain that they will drop are against South Alabama and Troy. These two teams played the Cajuns close, but mistakes cost the Cajuns both games. Both the Jaguars and the Trojans are coming off of 10-win seasons and with a strong recruiting class, there is no reason to believe that the Cajuns take two losses here and go 4–4.
One game that I believe Louisiana will flip, however, is their annual Battle on the Bayou versus Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks won by the skin of their teeth last season, and the Cajuns will benefit from a home crowd and dominantly win at home. The Cajuns will be 5–4 at this point.
Their last three games are against Southern Mississippi, Georgia State and Texas State. I expect the Cajuns to take two out of those three in any order, finishing the season at 7-5 and good enough to secure yet another bowl game that’s hopefully not in the freezing cold.