The Old Dominion football program has come a long way since their 69-year hiatus from the gridiron. ODU brought football back to Norfolk in 2009 and since then has made a steady climb up the ranks.
In their first season back the Monarchs went 9-2 as an FCS independent. The best record ever for a first-year program making their debut in college football.
In 2011-2012 ODU played in the Colonial Athletic Association and made it to the FCS playoffs in back-to-back seasons. ODU then seized the opportunity and made the jump to Conference USA.
In five years ODU went from FCS independent to FBS member in CUSA. The fan interest displayed by the Monarch faithful as well as the commitment from the administration department makes ODU the best job in CUSA... that hasn't played football for over 20 years.
- Located in Norfolk, Virginia, ODU has a strong recruiting area as the tidewater. Hampton Roads is known for producing great football players.
- As it stands, ODU plays at Foreman Field. The stadium holds just over 20,000 and is routinely sold out. The stadium is one of the toughest venues to play in and from a visual standpoint it looks nice to see a stadium packed.
- People care about ODU football in Norfolk. Although the football program is relatively new, the university has been around for centuries. The fan base is already entrenched. As the coach you won't need to worry about fan support in Norfolk.
- In the coming seasons ODU has inked home-and-home deals with North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, East Carolina and Wake Forest. Ample opportunities to make a name for yourself.
- ODU had the largest budget in CUSA last year.
- For as quaint Foreman Field is the venue is an FCS-level stadium. ODU has been looking at proposal to expand the stadium or even build a new one but nothing has been approved by ODU officials. The facility needs a facelift and with the arms-race for new facilities being what it is in today's modern college football world, its best ODU keeps up with the Joneses or fear facing a drop off in recruiting.
- As great as the tidewater area is for football talent ODU has a ton of schools to leap over to one day be a destination rather than a last resort for high school kids.
Making the case for why Old Dominion should be right where they are: Jeremy Addock, UDD Managing Editor
For a program that has been out of the football loop for so long, Old Dominion has the setup to easily become the best job in Conference USA. The location is right in the middle of a talent heavy area of Virginia and the fanbase will show up for every game as evidenced by the "program-long" sellout streak. Just the location alone means home games versus very prominent programs is a huge selling point. Name another G5 program that could even attempt to schedule a seven game series with Virginia Tech and get three home games.
Of course there are issues like an administration that hasn't yet proven they are willing to make a real effort at a new or renovated stadium. It will also take a while to get to playing for a conference title, but there is no reason to believe that Old Dominion will have to wait much longer to play in a bowl.
Realistically, the only negative to this program moving forward is an easily solvable stadium issue that I fully expect to be fixed in the next three years.
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Out of all the upstarts in CUSA ODU has the best infrastructure to succeed. ODU has money, fan support, and a nice recruiting area. There is a ton of potential here.
One could make the argument for FAU to be ahead of ODU being that their facilities are better and that they are in a better location but I just think ODU has more things in place making them less volatile than FAU.
A decade ago ODU football was a pipe dream. Now ODU has a legitimate chance to make a name for themselves in CUSA.
Best jobs in CUSA countdown:
3. La Tech