Louisiana-Monroe has had one winning season since coming into the Sun Belt Conference in 2001, and that was in 2012 under former coach Todd Berry. There have been four .500 seasons during that span, too. Third-year head coach Terry Bowden knows how to win. He won at Auburn, and even took a typically down program at Akron in the MAC to two bowl games. Don't be surprised when Bowden leads the WarHawks to a bowl game, and that's the goal.
LOUISIANA-MONROE 2023 PREVIEW
THE CONF.: Sun Belt Conference (West Division)
2022 RECORD: 4-8
CONF. FINISH:2-6 (No. 5 in the West Division)
HEAD COACH: Terry Bowden (3rd year, 8-16; 16th overall, including stops at Auburn, Akron, Samford, Northern Alabama and small college Salem (W.V.)
ALL-STAR CANDIDATES: Tyrone Howell, Sr./WR (852 yards receiving, 5 TDs); Kenard Snyder, Soph./DT (61 tackles, 9 TFLs); Tristan Driggers, Jr./DB (63 tackles, 3 INTs); Deuce Mayberry, Jr./CB (31 tackles, 5 PBUs).
THE NEWCOMER: Adin Huntington, Soph./DT (key Kent State transfer);
This isn't g0ing to be easy for the WarHawks, who play in the G5's version of the SEC — the Sun Belt Conference.
Louisiana-Monroe hasn't traditionally been a power in the Sun Belt Conference since joining the league in 2001. But they've beaten this year's potential frontrunner South Alabama three out of the last five seasons and last year it was a close loss — which proves this program is no afterthought.
Last year the WarHawks won three conference games and were within 10 points of winning another three. How does that translate to 2023? It remains to be seen, but it was clear last year that the defense must improve.
Tyrone Howell at WR is a proven badass, as are returning D-lineman Kenard Snyder and LB Tristan Driggers. If key transfers fit the mold too? This program could do some things. But with transfers? That's always a risk.
THE KEY GAME AND WHY
A pivotal game, ULM record wise, is the road trip to Texas State on Oct. 14. There's no guarantee here and this is a key game for both programs who are rebuilding.
THE TOUGHEST GAME AND WHY
Obviously, SEC trips to Texas A&M in September and Ole Miss in November are payout games, but when we come back down to earth? Hosting one of the G5 level's top programs in South Alabama — even with ULM's decent success in recent years against the Jaguars? This one is a big challenge for ULM. But, there are players on ULM's roster who have seen success against USA before.
THE CHANCES OF MAKING CONF. TITLE GAME
None. This league is too loaded. ULM might — MIGHT — have a chance in helping upset the apple cart of some other contender's season, but the WarHawks aren't ready to compete for Sun Belt titles just yet.
ULM usually — with the exception of CoVid 2000 (0-10) — wins around half or nearly half of its Sun Belt games. This program is not an easy out. The schedule screams 4-8 or 5-7, but a surprise win or two could put Bowden's boys in a bowl game, and you know this program would love that. ULM might be able to open 2-0, though a home win over a good Army team in Week One is no guarantee. There's no way ULM goes winless, but the happy spot seems to be at around four to five wins as usual in 2023, with anything beyond that being gravy.
Want More Sports News?
Get the biggest and best sports news sent directly to your inbox.