(The Daily Advertiser) – UL’s 2017 football schedule is set.
With the Sun Belt Conference releasing on Wednesday its full lineup of league games for the season to come, the Ragin’s Cajuns now know whom they’ll be playing when.
The slate includes two Thursday-night games that will be cable-televised nationally on ESPNU.
It includes five home games and seven games, as expected.
The Cajuns open with previously reported non-conference games Sept. 2 at Cajun Field against Southeastern Louisiana of the FCS Southland Conference, Sept. 9 at Tulsa of the American Athletic Conference and Sept. 16 at Texas A&M of the SEC.
UL will open Sun Belt play Sept. 23 at home against in-state conference rival UL Monroe, a game played no earlier than Halloween since 2009 and in the last in the regular season in 2016.
In six of the last 13 years, in fact, the Cajuns have closed their regular season against the Warhawks – including last year’s 30-3 UL win in Monroe that made the Cajuns bowl-eligible.
UL finished 6-7 last year, including a season-ending New Orleans Bowl loss to Southern Mississippi.
Sun Belt games for the Cajuns follow Oct. 7 at Idaho, which will be leaving the league after the 2017 season, and five nights later at home against Texas State.
The Thursday-night game against Texas State game at Cajun Field will be televised by ESPNU, as will UL’s Thursday-night game one week later on Oct. 19 at Arkansas State.
The Cajuns will then be off until playing Nov. 4 on the road against another Sun Belt opponent, South Alabama.
UL dips back into non-conference play with a previously reported Nov. 11 game at Ole Miss of the SEC, marking the end of a stretch with three in a row on the road for Coach Mark Hudspeth’s team.
The Cajuns will close their regular season with three straight Sun Belt games: November 18 at home against New Mexico State, which is also leaving the SBC after this season; Nov. 25 at home against Georgia Southern, which they have never before played at Cajun Field; and Dec. 2 at Appalachian State.
The Georgia Southern game will be played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, a less-than-ideal date for a home game from a scheduling perspective.
Appalachian State and Arkansas State both finished 7-1 in Sun Belt play last season, sharing the conference championship.
All game times are to-be-announced, and the entire schedule is subject to change.
According to terms of its multi-media contract with ESPN, seven Sun Belt games will be televised on ESPN networks, including UL’s two on a Thursday night.
The other SBC on ESPN Networks: Arkansas State at Georgia Southern on Oct. 4, a Wednesday night (ESPN2); Troy at South Alabama on Oct. 11, also a Wednesday night (ESPN); and three more Thursday-night games on ESPNU, South Alabama at Georgia State on Oct. 26, Idaho at Troy on Nov. 2, and Georgia Southern at Appalachian State on Nov. 9.
2017 UL SCHEDULE
Sept. 2 Southeastern Louisiana
Sept. 9 at Tulsa
Sept. 16 at Texas A&M
Sept. 23 * ULM
Oct. 7 * at Idaho
Oct. 12 * Texas State (ESPNU)
Oct. 19 * at Arkansas State (ESPNU)
Nov. 4 * at South Alabama
Nov. 11 at Ole Miss
Nov. 18 * New Mexico State
Nov. 25 * Georgia Southern
Dec. 2 * at Appalachian State
* Sun Belt game