Mark Hudspeth steps up, backs Sun Belt Conference

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday August 06, 2012

Posted by: Chris Vannini on August 6, 2012

Coming off a nine-win season, Mark Hudspeth and Louisiana-Lafayette have a lot of confidence heading into 2012.

But Hudspeth is not only proud of his team, but of the Sun Belt conference, as well. At his media day press conference on Monday, he made sure to point out the success of the league.

"One thing I would like to say: You look at the Sun Belt conference, and I went back and had one of my graduate assistant pull up head-to-head win-loss record against other conferences. I'm telling you, you look at how we fared against Conference USA, we won more games than they did when we went head-to-head," Hudspeth said. "Our conference beat the Big Ten, our conference beat the Big East ... we defeated all those conferences at one point last year.

"The Sun Belt Conference is an outstanding football conference. One of the reasons is because it's in the southeast United States, where football is the most important (thing) in this region of the country. To me, that's another prime example of why our conference is so strong year-in and year-out. You see the type of crowds, the type of environments that our programs are putting in across our conference. Last year, to average 30,000 at every (ULL) home football game, outside of the SEC, was probably tops in the southeast, bar none."

It was a great turnaround for the Ragin' Cajuns, who saw a six-win improvement in their first year under Hudspeth in 2011. But with the focus turning to year two, the coach is tasked with keeping things at a high level.

"For us, to be nationally respected and take that to another level, we're going to have to be a consistent winner, year-in, year-out, bowl wins each year, going to a bowl," he said. "We've got to be consistent in those type of things. Our team, they realize they made a little progress, they got a little crack in the door, but we've still got a lot of work to do."


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Chris Vannini is a lead writer for and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to



Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to

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