5 reasons Troy will play in a bowl game in 2012

Published 11:32 am Tuesday, December 27, 2011

“Wait till next year” has become the mantra for many fan bases after a rough season. For the Troy Trojans “next year” can’t get here fast enough. Following a 3-9 season on the gridiron, Trojan Nation is anxious to get spring practice kicked off and a new season underway.

Here is a look at five reasons Troy will play in a bowl game in 2012.

1. Experience

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The Trojans will return most everyone on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Troy losses only two major contributors, James Brown and Zach Swindall, and both are on the offensive line. The entire receiving corps returns with the exception of Brett Moncrief, who was injured most of the season, as well as quarterback Corey Robinson and all running backs.

2. Recruiting

Troy has had a solid year recruiting already and picked up several junior college signees that will come in and help right away. Defensively, the Trojans seem to have addressed their needs with defensive end Brandon Timmons and linebacker Wayland Coleman-Dancer jumping in to immediately battle for a starting spot. Redshirt sophomore Brach Bessant will also be a major contributor in 2012 for Troy. The Trojans will also get help in the secondary with three-star corner Shaq Beverly and Fitzgerald, Ga. native JaQuadrian Lewis.

3. Blakeney

Plain and simple, head coach Larry Blakeney is not a loser. This program has not posted consecutive losing records since 1988-89 and never done so under Blakeney in his 21 seasons. Here is a look at how the Trojans fared in four seasons following a losing campaign under Blakeney.

1991 – 5-6   —>  1992 – 10-1

1997 – 5-6   —>  1998 – 8-4

2002 – 4-8  —>  2003 – 6-6

2005 – 4-7   —>  2006 – 8-5

Keep in mind that 1991 was Blakeney’s first season. 2002 was only Troy’s second season in Division I-A and 2005 was the school’s second season in the Sun Belt Conference.

4. Cinderella seasons over

Proof positive that preseason polls and awards should be taken as seriously as a politician’s promise, the Sun Belt standings turned upside-down in 2011. Arkansas State finished 8-0 in conference play just above Western Kentucky (7-1) and Louisiana-Lafayette (6-2). The Ragin’ Cajuns, under first year head coach Mark Hudspeth, capped a dream year with a New Orleans Bowl victory over San Diego State finishing the season 9-4. ASU make waves when they signed Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn to become their new head coach.

ULL will have to find a way to replace a lot of seniors. ASU has most of its weapons returning but will be playing under a new system. WKU will lose their All-World running back in Bobby Rainey, who carried the Hilltoppers offense in 2011.

The Trojans will be right back in the mix in 2012.

5. Pride and Pressure

Neither the Troy Trojans football team nor its fans are accustomed to losing. There will be too much pride in that locker room to go through another 3-9 season. The Trojans will improve based solely on growth and maturity. Blakeney and the coaching staff will put a quality team on the field in 2012. Some of the assistants are on the hot seat so a quality season will be expected if some are to keep their jobs.