Louisiana Football will enter the 2021 season ranked No. 23 in the Preseason USA Today/AFCA Coaches Poll, it was announced on Tuesday.
The ranking marks the first time in program history that the team has been ranked in a major preseason poll. Louisiana is the highest ranked Sun Belt Conference school and the second-highest ranked Group of 5 school in the poll behind Cincinnati, who checked in at No. 10.
After receiving three votes in last year’s preseason poll, the Ragin’ Cajuns went on to finish the 2020 campaign ranked No. 16 in the nation after compiling a 10-1 overall record and a 7-1 mark in Sun Belt play.
The team broke into the national rankings following a huge Week 1 victory, upsetting then No. 23 Iowa State, 31-14, in Ames on Sept. 12.
Under head coach Billy Napier‘s leadership, Louisiana was able to navigate a season impacted by COVID-19 to claim a Sun Belt Conference Championship, its third-straight Sun Belt West Division title and its second-straight bowl victory, a 31-24 win over UTSA in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl.
Napier’s team finished the campaign ranked No. 15 in the AP Top 25, No. 16 in the USA Today/AFCA Coaches Poll and No. 19 in the College Football Playoff, the team’s highest ranking in all three polls.