The Orlando Sentinel has ranked all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country. We’ll take a closer look at a new team daily, counting backward from No. 120 to our projected No. 1 team. We will not be including the four teams the
Today at No. 69:
Coach: Sonny Dykes (13-12, entering third season)
2011 record: 8-5 (6-1 in
Look back: Sonny Dykes earned 2011 Western Athletic Conference coach of the year honors after leading Louisiana Tech to its first conference championship since 2001. Sonny Dykes, son of legendary former Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes, earned his first head coaching opportunity at Louisiana Tech in 2010.
Louisiana Tech got off to a bumpy start in 2011, losing four of its first five games. Three of the losses were by an average deficit of three points. The
The Bulldogs bounced back, winning their final seven regular season games. The team claimed a 24-11 win at
Louisiana Tech faced No. 18 TCU in the
Offensive starters lost/returning: 3/8
Defensive starters lost/returning: 5/6
Key losses: OL Kris Cavitt, DL Matt Broha, LB Adrien Cole, DB
Top returnees: QB Colby Cameron, WR Quinton Patton, WR Myles White, OL Kevin Saia, DL Justin Ellis, DB Chad Boyd, K Matt Nelson, P Ryan Allen.
Strengths: Louisiana Tech returns the majority of its offense, including starting quarterback Colby Cameron and four offensive linemen. Cameron has a variety of reliable weapons who should help him run Sonny Dykes' high-powered offense, including receivers Quinton Patton and Myles White. Patton led Louisiana Tech in receiving last season with 79 catches for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Bulldogs also return six defensive starters, including key members of its defensive line and secondary. The units helped Louisiana Tech rank No. 26 nationally in pass efficiency defense (117.30 rating allowed per game) and No. 29 in rushing defense (127.38 yards allowed per game).
Louisiana Tech is one of the more fortunate teams in the embattled Western Athletic Conference. The university accepted an invitation to join
Weaknesses: Louisiana Tech must replace its entire starting linebacker unit, including 2011 WAC defensive player of the year Adrien Cole. On the offensive side of the ball, the team has taken steps toward executing Dykes' vision but it is far from putting high up the huge passing numbers he has been known for throughout his career as an offensive coordinator.
Outlook: Louisiana Tech has the potential repeat as WAC champions, but the team needs to continue its offensive development and adjust to the loss of key defensive players at the linebacker position.
Sept. 1 Idaho State
Sept. 8 At Michigan
Sept. 22 At UNLV
Oct. 6 Navy
Oct. 13 At Wyoming
Oct. 20 New Mexico
Oct. 27 Nevada
Nov. 3 At Army
Nov. 10 At San Diego State
Nov. 17 Hawai’i
Nov. 24 At Fresno State