When the Oklahoma Sooners scheduled the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks as their 2013 college football season opening game, it really looked like a quick and easy victory before the real competition, like Notre Dame, showed up on the schedule. Many Sooners fans may still consider the Warhawks to be a cream puff, similar to something Bill Snyder might schedule for the Kansas State Wildcats to sleepwalk through.
That is now how Louisiana-Monroe sees themselves. Athletic Director Brian Rickstrom actually had an interesting comment last week about his little Sun Belt school.
“We can be the Gonzaga of football,” Rickstrom said.
For those who don’t follow college basketball, the comparison means that he believes his team can be a mid-major school that can contend on a level playing field with the BCS schools, year in and year out. He has reason to think that he could compete after the 2012 season. Last year, the Warhawks beat the Arkansas Razorbacks, and even when the team is having a down year, beating an SEC school is something to brag about. Even better was almost beating both the Auburn Tigers and Baylor Bears, only losing by a combined 10 points.
Then, they went to the first bowl game in school history.
That is where Rickstrom might not want to get too far ahead of himself. Louisiana-Monroe has been to one bowl game in school history, and they lost that one pretty bad. While the big season is something to get excited about, Gonzaga is great because they do this every season. The Warhawks need more than one good season before they can brag about being the “next Gonzaga.”
On Saturday night, Louisiana-Monroe plays the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman. They might see a chance for an upset when considering that the Sooners are coming into the game with a redshirt quarterback making his debut and a questionable defense. Despite that, Oklahoma is favored to win the game by 23.5 points, and it might be by more than that if Trevor Knight proves to be as great as Bob Stoops hopes.
Trevor Knight comes in with high hopes, a player compared to Johnny Manzeil, who can run and make amazing throws. He has a deep backfield of running backs, fighting to get their hands on the ball. He has some fantastic – and experienced – receivers to throw the ball to. If the Sooners defense can stop the Warhawks quick scrambling quarterback, this game shouldn’t be close.
While Louisiana-Monroe is a team that has a lot of high hopes, and honestly there is nowhere they can go but up considering their history, the best they can hope for in this game is to beat the spread.