It has been quite awhile since I last graced the blog with a preview of an upcoming opponent, but here I go again. This time, we are focusing on a
1-AA Division 1 Championship Divison in the Southeastern Louisiana Lions, the only non-Division 1 foe on our schedule. The game is to take place on September 8th, a date that stands one solitary day away from the true beginning of the NFL regular season, in Lawrence Kansas. I'm not too worried about this game, as the following equation shows:
BCS Conference team + homefield advantage + Division 1 Championship Division = BLOWOUT(!!!)
That is a soon-to-be copyrighted formula, don't copy it. Anyways, despite the fact that this game likely won't be competitive after the first 5 minutes, as a blogger it is my responsibility to lay down the facts just like I would if it were the Muzzurrah Tigers. With that in mind, let's get goin'.
2 wins, that is all the Lions of Southeastern could muster. Keep in mind, they aren't in the Bowl Division but instead the Championship Divison, making their 2 wins all the more embarassing. Of all the games on their schedule last year, they faced two 'known' football programs to the common fan. They lost both of those games, to Southern Mississippi and Texas Tech, by a combined score of 107-0. No, that is not a typo. Every other team on their schedule, starting with their season opener in Las Cruces, New Mexico against New Mexico State and ending with a home game against Sam Houston State, was a matchup against another Championship Subdivision team. Their 2 victories came against Jacksonville, hammering them 41-13 (seperating the Southern Miss and Texas Tech games no less) and Northwestern State, winning an overtime contest 31-24. The game against Northwestern State was a conference game, making their conference record a less-than-stellar 1-5. Another good omen for the Jayhawks, the Lions were a horrible 0-6 on the road last season, which is where they will be playing the 'Hawks.
Statistical Rankings - Link to Evidence
These won't be player-specific, those will take place in my offensive/defensive previews soon to come, but will instead focus on the total picture and their ranking compared to others in the Championship Divison. But first, let's take a look at the difference between the numbers the SELA Lions put up compared to their opponents.
First off, points. As you might expect, the two beatdowns they suffered against the Red Raiders and Golden Eagles hurt their totals, the Lions' opponents outscored them 351-181. That translates to nearly twice as many points, the Lions defense came 11 points away from getting doubled over in points. Doubled over. Their passing game put up near identical numbers to their opponents yardage-wise, although the Lions threw exactly a 100 more times than their opponents. This likely comes from the fact they were consistently losing and had to come back, thus more passes were called. The difference between a winning record and the 2-9 one they posted has to do with their rushing defense and, to a lesser degree, their rushing offense. Their opponents gained nearly 1000 yards more on the ground than Southeastern did and while some of that can be attributed to more passes thrown, they only ran for 3.6 yard per carry compared to an astronomical 5 per rush for their opponents. Their rushing defense is atrocious, giving up nearly 200 yards a contest (192.9) and 26 TD's throughout the season. That is more than 2 per game.
Now, their statistics compared to other teams on more equal footing talent-wise. As I stated earlier, their passing offense was actually middle-of-the-road. Of 116 Championship Divisoin schools, they ranked 59th putting up 187.6 yards up per game. Their rushing offense wasn't so hot, however as the Lions could only muster 103 rushing yards per game, good enough for a less-than-stellar 95th place. If you take the entire offense as a whole, they again come up short as the 94th best team. In regards of actual points on the board, they were again less-than-stellar, ranking exactly 100th with only 16.5 points of offense a game. With their offense not playing great, in order to stay competitive it would be up to their defense. That porrous run defense I described earlier was the main culprit for the disappointing 2-9 season, ranking 103rd in all of the Championship Division. Their passing defense fared better, however, with a 79th place ranking and in combining those two, their total defense was a very disappointing 105th. Their scoring defense was likewise torrid, ranking 107th. Finally we get to what could be the most important difference between winning teams and losing teams. Turnover margin. They actually fared fairly decent in this category, finishing at 54th with a margin of +1. That is not horrible, but will need to improve if they are to take the next step. A step that looks unlikely to take place this next season.
Looking at this year's schedule, they should be able to improve upon their 2-9 record. They start out the year with two certain losses against New Mexico State and Kansas, then come back home in what figures to be a gimme-win against Kentucky Wesleyan. They then face a near-impossible task in winning against Tulane on the road and following their trip to New Orleans conference play begins. Assuming they can win 2 or 3 conference games (they play 7) that will leave them with 3 or 4 wins, an improvement upon last year. It will take a couple more years before they will be a decent Championship Division team, but this year could be a start.
In case you are an interested Southeastern Louisiana student, you can join the MANEiacs (that might be the worst play on words I have ever heard in my entire life. Seriously.) for a small fee of $5. The Lions actually compete in Division 1 (the real one) in all other sports along with the rest of the Southland Conference, a conference held up nationally soley by the remembrance of this shot by Northwestern State. That is from the 2006 Tournament for those of you unfamiliar and later on that day on the very same court, our Jayhawks lost to Bradley in an upset unfortunately overshadowed by that shot.
I should get the offensive/defensive previews up tomorrow/Saturday, hopefully updating you on the world of basketball recruiting sometime later tonight.