Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns 2023 College Football Preview
July 3, 2023
Record – 6-7
ATS – 7-5-1
The Ragin’ Cajuns failed to win 10 games for the first time since 2018 (!) but they still managed to sneak into a bowl game. HC Michael Desormeaux knew that it wasn’t gonna be a smooth ride given all the new faces on board but they never quit and became bowl eligible in the final week of the regular season. Louisiana gave Houston a good battle in the Independence Bowl but fell at bit short (L 23-16).
Let’s check in with the program and see what’s in store for 2023.
Louisiana Ragin Cajuns 2023 Outlook
The Cajuns struggled on offense LY and averaged less than 30 PPG for the first time since 2017. They ranked #7 in the Sun Belt in rushing offense and #9 with the THROW GAME. Louisiana has a pair of legitimate starting QBs in Chandler Fields and Ben Wooldridge (combined 26-9 TD to INT LY) but both of them are recovering from injuries. We’ll have to monitor the situation closely over the summer months. The RB room looks fairly deep but it’s hard to know if there’s a true #1 option. The cupboard appears relatively bare at WR/TE as they lose #1 WR Michael Jefferson (810, 7 TD LY) and nobody coming back had more than 25 receptions or 300 receiving yards in 2022. The OL appears to be in good shape as they retain three starters and have pretty good size amongst the unit. This has the look of an average Sun Belt offense but hopefully there’s upside lurking at QB.
The Cajuns played sound defense LY (22.8 PPG, #5 Sun Belt scoring defense) and note that they’ve yielded fewer than 23 PPG every year since 2018. There could be trouble brewing on the horizon as the Cajuns return a mere three starters on this side of the football and lose their top-four (!) tacklers from the 2022 team. They’ll also be without their top-two producers in the sack department (Jones, Hil-Green) who combined for 14.5 of those BAD BOYS. On the plus side, they’ve got good beef up front and the LB unit looks decent, but sadly they’ve got a major rebuilding job in the secondary. The defense will almost certainly take a step backwards this season as they’re an inexperienced bunch that lacks proven PENETRATORS. .
The intrepid PHIL STEELE rated the Cajuns as the #3 special teams group in the nation LY but they lose their fine punter Rhys Byrns as well as their devastating PR Eric Garorr (15.1) who took a pair of punts back to the CRIBBY HIZZY in 2022. Thankfully, the Cajuns welcome back PK Kenneth Almendares who connected on 18-23 FG attempts LY (3-3 from 50+).
Overall – There’s some positive news to report. The schedule looks very favorable as they get a soft draw from the East (Old Dominion, Georgia St) and only have one killer game on the non-conference docket (at Minnesota). However, it sucks to have to face Troy and South Alabama away from home.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Minnesota (Sept 30)
This doesn’t look like a great spot to back the road underdog. It’ll be Louisiana’s third road test in four weeks and they have Sun Belt action on deck.
Season Win Total
Market consensus July 3
Over 7.5 +100
Under 7.5 -130
Eight wins won’t be easy given all the holes on the roster. The schedule will lend a helping hand but we’ll side with the ‘under’ crowd on this occasion.
Lafayette, Louisiana is known as the “Crawfish Capital of the World” and is a hub for Cajun and Creole cuisine. Sounds good to us, so let’s get down there!
This has the look of an average Sun Belt roster. The offense doesn’t appear to have many dangerous skill position players and the defense is undergoing a major transformation with several new starters. The good news is that they’ve got a very light schedule in the first half of the campaign and it’s very likely that they get off to a good start. We’ll call for six or seven wins and another bowl appearance.