The Texas State Bobcats have recently transitioned into a Football Bowl Subdivision team and 2012 was their first year as an FBS member. The Bobcats went 4-8 last year and saw the difference in competition, but there were good signs for the bobcats moving forward to the 2013 season.
First, the Bobcats won two conference games in their first (and last) year in the now defunct Western Athletic Conference. This may not seem like a huge accomplishment, but for a first year FBS team, wins don’t come easily. Head coach Dennis Franchione has built a solid base in terms of talent for the Bobcats and they should be able to compete in their new conference home: the Sun Belt Conference.
In a new conference and a newly renovated 30,000 seat football stadium, the Bobcats look to have a winning season and their first ever bowl birth in 2013. It won’t be an easy task, but it’s possible with returning talent and a favorable schedule. Two of the first three games for the Bobcats could get ugly as they travel to Hattiesburg, Miss. to take on the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles in their season opener and two games later they travel to Lubbock, Texas to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Golden Eagles are usually a good team, despite having a terrible 2012 season going 0-12, but should be much improved with new head coach Todd Monken. Texas State has dropped two in a row to Texas Tech and will likely make it three in a row as they are greatly outmatched and will have to play the Red Raiders on the road.
The Bobcats home schedule alone could give them a good shot at a bowl game. They host Prarie View A&M, Wyoming, Louisiana-Monroe, Georgia State and Western Kentucky. They also have two winnable games on the road in Idaho and Troy. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bobcats can win six games in 2013 and head to their first bowl game as an FBS team in program history.
Senior quarterback Tyler Arndt will have good offensive weapons in sophomore running back Robert Lowe and senior wide receiver Andy Erickson. The offense shouldn’t be the problem this year, but the defense is another story. The Bobcats gave up 33.5 points per game in 2012, which was 100th in the nation. They also had just 2.5 total sacks as a team last year. The defense must improve drastically for the Bobcats to have a successful season in 2013, but help is on the way. Franchione recruited seven defensive backs in last years class, including three from junior colleges.
Improvement from last year is almost inevitable, but how much improvement depends on the leadership of the defense and Arndt. The Bobcats have a chance to make program history this year and make a trip to the post season.