After going a somewhat surprising 4-8 in his first season, Matt Viator and ULM could be looking a a rough season in year two. The 2017 schedule was released today and the Warhawks have some major challenges.
ULM 2017 Schedule
|August 31st||at Memphis|
|September 9th||at Florida State|
|September 16th||Southern Miss|
|September 23rd||at UL Lafayette|
|September 30th||Coastal Carolina|
|October 7th||at Texas State|
|October 14th||Georgia State|
|October 21st||at South Alabama|
|October 28th||at Idaho|
|November 4th||Appalachian State|
|November 18th||at Auburn|
|Novmeber 25th||Arkansas State|
Non-Conference Play Could Get Ugly
The Warhawks have a brutal non-conference slate in front of them as they will take on some of the best quarterbacks in the country. In the opener they get former Tennessee signal caller Riley Ferguson who lit the AAC up last year at Memphis. They follow that up with a trip to Florida State to take on Deondre Francois and the ‘Noles. Then in the opener comes Southern Miss and their Air Raid attack. Last, but certainly not least, ULM travels to The Plains on November 18th to take on the highest profile transfer of the offseason in former Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham. That pass rush and secondary could get exposed early.
October Will Determine ULM’s Fate
It’s likely that three losses are inevitable coming out of the gate if you’re ULM. With the way things have gone, you probably have to think that ULM will drop to 1-9 in their last 10 against heated rival UL Lafayette in the Battle on the Bayou. After that comes a huge five game stretch that will determine ULM’s season. These next five (Coastal Carolina, at Texas State, Georgia State, at South Alabama, at Idaho) are where ULM could make some headway. The two home games against Coastal and Georgia State are probably the biggest games on the schedule.
No Luck With Byes
Unlike most of the Sun Belt, ULM will not get the advantage of having two byes. The Warhawks finish their season on Thanksgiving weekend and do not receive a bye until November 11th. That means 10 straight games to start the season. Then their two final games should be very difficult as they travel to Auburn and then host the defending Sun Belt champs.
This is just a brutal slate for ULM and the Sun Belt office did not give Matt Viator’s club many breaks. ULM plays, arguably, the toughest non-conference schedule in the league and doesn’t get the opportunity to take advantage of the two bye system that the conference currently uses. If Viator can get this squad bowl eligible, or even five wins, he’s your Sun Belt coach of the year.