Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are makingtheir final season in the Western Athletic Conference one for the ages, asthey are one of only 16 undefeated teams left in the Football BowlSubdivision.
While eligible to earn an at-large bid to the BCS National Championship Gameshould they finish the regular season ranked first or second in the BCSrankings, the more likely scenario will have the Bulldogs challenging for asecond straight WAC title and a spot in a lower-echelon bowl game.
LaTech head coach Sonny Dykes was asked recently about the BCS and his team'schances of reaching the title tilt. While not taking anything away from histeam and all it has accomplished to this point, he didn't pull any punches.
"The BCS is certainly not based on any kind of fairness. Basically, you have anational championship that excludes half the football teams, so it's notnecessarily built on quality and fairness."
Dykes went on to say, "But, that is the way it is in college football. Youjust deal with it and do the best you can. That is kind of our approach whenit comes to pretty much anything. Our deal really is when you are fighting forrespect and credibility, every game is important because if we had lost lastweek, that would have been the biggest game of the year."
Louisiana Tech won the 2011 WAC crown, its first conference championship since2001, and the team is 5-0 heading into this week's non-league clash with TexasA&M. The game was originally scheduled as the season opener for both teams,but was rescheduled due to the effects of Hurricane Isaac on the gulf region.
The Bulldogs, who own the nation's longest regular-season winning streak (12games) and have garnered enough national attention to earn the 23rd spot inthis week's AP Poll for their first Top-25 mention since 1999, are preparingto take on a Texas A&M team they have never beaten (0-10 all-time). TheAggies, who are in their first year as a member of the SEC, come into theclash ranked No. 22.
While not on par with in-state power broker LSU, or regional luminaries likeAlabama, Mississippi State, Arkansas or the bigger Texas schools, LaTech hasmade folks stand up and take notice this season by notching wins over Houston,Rice, Illinois, Virginia and UNLV. The Bulldogs have scored no fewer than 44points in any game, and come in averaging 53.2 points and 523.4 yards percontest.
Senior QB Colby Cameron has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes foralmost 1,500 yards and 13 TDs. He has yet to throw an interception, and hisfavorite receiver is senior Quinton Patton (34 receptions, 532 yards, fiveTDs). The Tech run game accounts for 232.2 ypg, with freshman Kenneth Dixon(424 yards, eight TDs) thrust into the role of the team's workhorse sincefellow rookie Tevin King (369 yards, five TDs) went down with a season-endingknee injury late last month.
Defensively, it's another story entirely as there is much work to be done. TheBulldogs allow an average of 35.8 ppg, and if you can imagine, they areactually being outgained by nearly eight yards per outing. They have beenespecially lax against the pass (369.6 ypg, 16 TDs), despite posting double-digit totals in both sacks (11) and turnovers (15).
A win this week, which would be its first over a ranked foe since 2005, wouldfurther cement Tech's reputation as one of the up-and-coming programs in thecountry, and while the WAC hasn't offered much in the way of national supportover the years, the team's move to Conference USA for the 2013 season shouldhelp in that regard.
Dykes realizes that with the playing field being what it is right now, winningone game at a time and putting themselves in position to win the final WACfootball crown is where the Bulldogs need to keep their focus.
"Anytime you play and you are in the situation we are in, every game is big.Not from the BCS, because that is so far away and that is so far removed fromeven entering our minds," he continued, "I mean I do not even know how tospell BCS. That is like miles and miles away from our thoughts. Our thoughtsare just about trying to win football games and have a program that peoplethink is significant."
Louisiana Tech hasn't posted back-to-back winning campaigns since 1996-97, andthe team has been to consecutive bowl games only once in its history(1977-78). Regardless of whether or not they beat Texas A&M this week, theBulldogs are certainly in position to achieve both of those goals this season.