Every offseason we see the traditional lists of the best jobs in the country. Instead of just ranking every G5 job we figured it’d be more fun to isolate G5 jobs by their state and breakdown how attractive it is in comparison to their in-state peers. We will offer cases as to why one job is better than the other and let you determine the best G5 job in the state.
Louisiana is a hotbed for football talent. Like Ohio, most college football fans automatically think of Louisiana as a one-school state, but there are several other teams that sometimes get overlooked. LSU has claimed many of the state’s football fans thanks to its status in the SEC and its national championships a decade ago, but the G5 conferences boast four additional schools playing FBS football.
So we ask, what’s the best G5 job in Louisiana? If a coach wanted to find a way to challenge LSU, which school would they opt for? Our writers present the cases for Tulane, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Louisiana-Monroe.
Making the case for Tulane: Lance Charles, Staff Writer
Tulane has been described as a “sleeping giant” just waiting for the right coach. Compared to the other G5 schools in Louisiana, coaching the Green Wave has a plethora of advantages that make this job a jewel for the right man. First of all, Tulane can boast of being New Orleans' only college football team. The city of New Orleans produces talent at a prodigious rate, and Tulane, as the only college team in the city, is well positioned to reap the benefits. With over $100 million of facilities improvements in the last three years including a band new on-campus stadium and new locker room and meeting rooms. Tulane has joined the college football arms race, showing that playing at Tulane means more than just a great education.
Speaking of education, Tulane boasted a #39 ranking in USNews College rankings, while the other G5 schools in the state...well let's just say they are not even in the top 150. Tulane's academic clout overmatches the other G5 programs in the state as does it's conference affiliation. Being in the American Athletic Conference means every Green Wave game is on TV, broadcast revenues are much more than the other G5 conferences and the quality of competition is much higher than the state's other G5 programs.
It's been said "you are the company you keep" and if that adage is true then the Tulane job is the G5 penthouse, while the state's other G5 programs are mired in the swamps, literally. With a tradition of playing football for over 120 years the Green Wave has been around longer than the other G5 programs in the state. Tulane owns three SEC titles, more than Vanderbilt, Miss. State, South Carolina, Arkansas and Kentucky combined. Tulane also owns a 1998 C-USA title, something Louisiana's current C-USA team can’t even boast. Tulane has put more players into the professional ranks than the state's other G5 programs and has produced more All-Americans, first round draft picks, etc. And in college football, which is defined by it's tradition, that gives Tulane a leg up.
Speaking of a leg up, if you want to see who's the best let's look at the head to head competition. Tulane has never lost to La. Tech (9-0), and owns prodigious leads in the series vs UL-Monroe (3-1) and UL-Lafayette (21-6). Tulane has also won the last meetings between all three G5 programs in the state. So that's academics, facilities, recruiting, tradition and head to head. I think we all know who the top Group of 5 program in Louisiana is.
Making the case for Louisiana Tech: Tanner Spearman, Editor
Louisiana Tech has had its ups and downs throughout history, but each “up” has been better than the last. First, they were winning DII national titles in the 70s. Then they were beating Alabama twice in a row in the late 90s. Now, they’ve won eight or more games five of the last six seasons, which includes a 3-1 bowl record, a conference title, and two division titles.
After Sonny Dykes got the ball rolling with fantastic 2011 and 2012 seasons, Skip Holtz came in and took things to a new level (sorry, USF). La Tech also has a new president that came in at the same time as Holtz, and Dr. Guice has helped elevate the school and all of its athletic programs alongside AD Tommy McClelland through new facilities such as the Davison Athletic Complex, and the new press box. La Tech has been getting better in most sports the past several years, and as ULM’s struggles aren’t getting any better, Tech is establishing itself as a stronger force in north Louisiana (call it southern Arkansas and I will slap you).
La Tech has won eight straight versus ULL and ULM, and controls the all-time record with both. The only hiccup is Tulane, whom La Tech has never beaten. However, keep in mind that most of those games came when Tulane was in the SEC or a predecessor thereof.
Since Tulane left the SEC, the Green Wave have only played the Bulldogs twice. The first was in 1998, when Tulane went undefeated and won the Liberty Bowl. The other time was in 2013, which was La Tech’s only losing season and Tulane’s only winning season this decade. Throw in that Tulane has to deal with high academic standards causing recruiting to be tougher and La Tech is easily the best G5 job in Louisiana.
Making the case for Louisiana-Lafayette & Louisiana-Monroe: Cyrus Smith, Managing Editor
I don’t think there’s really a case to be made for Louisiana-Monroe. Monroe has dealt with budget problems for a couple years now and has remained at the bottom of the Sun Belt despite being in a talent-rich state. They’ve only reached one bowl game in their school history. It’s alarming that ULM has zero games scheduled in 2020 and beyond. The future looks murky.
Now, Louisiana on the other hand - sorry Tanner and Lance, I had to - certainly has a case. Unlike Tech and Tulane, where one can argue that they play against stiffer competition, the Cajuns play in the Sun Belt (though the Fun Belt is much better than they were in the early aughts).
The path for relevancy is much easier at Lafayette while still having the advantage of recruiting Louisiana. With the Sun Belt splitting into divisions, the Cajuns now have an easy path to win the West for the foreseeable future.
But “easy” competition isn’t the only reason why this is an attractive job. Under Mark Hudspeth we’ve seen new facilities and a great fan base emerge in Lafayette. When the Cajuns are winning, administration puts in money and the fans show out.
They’ve operated with less resources than their peers for quite some time and now they are beginning to reap the benefits of having money. I may be in the minority on this, but while I think it’s a stretch to say this is a better job than La Tech, I absolutely think it’s on par with, if not better than Tulane.
The Greenies may have more money, more history, and play in a better conference, but I think the Cajuns have better fan support, a better winning tradition - recent sanctions aside - and an easier path to reach their ceiling (Tulane’s had two winning seasons since 2000 compared to five for the Ragin’ Cajuns with four of them being since 2011).
I really like the La Tech, Tulane, and Louisiana jobs and wish they competed more on a regular basis on the gridiron (sorry Monroe). Since pettiness usually wins-out in college sports, all we can do as fans is debate and vote in polls.
What's the best G5 job in Louisiana?
This poll is closed