On Sunday night, I was privileged to be in Shreveport, Louisiana to see my alma mater Louisiana Tech University defeat Northern Illinois in the Independence Bowl. Even though Tech’s appearance in this bowl was due to the SEC and Big 12’s inability to produce enough bowl eligible teams, I couldn’t be happier that the Bulldogs put together this win. I have followed many disappointing seasons over the years, and this opportunity and victory have been a long time in coming.
Here are some reflections on the game:
1. Interpreting the Win. This win doesn’t by any means establish Tech as a great football program. It does, however, signal that the team is headed in the right direction. In time, Tech could have the capability of putting together a 10-win season that would include victories over one or two ranked opponents. This is precisely what Boise State has achieved (a school in Tech’s conference), and Tech should be aspiring to the same kind of excellence. It’s possible, but we aren’t there yet.
2. Recruiting. Tech has always struggled with the fact that LSU has Louisiana sown up in terms of recruiting. LSU gets the top players. A bowl win can only help Tech in future efforts to attract the best athletes to the school. I look forward to seeing what happens in the coming months.
3. Coaching. Tech’s head coach Derek Dooley is the former protÃ©gÃ© of Nick Saban and the son of iconic Georgia coach and athletic director Vince Dooley. Tech needs to do whatever it can to keep Dooley for as long as possible. It takes time to build a great program, and I hope Dooley’s tenure is long enough to do it. We’ll see.
How ’bout them Dawgs!
ESPN Video Recap