2012 Record: 4-8 (2-4 in WAC)
Head Coach: Dennis Franchione (197-115-2 All-Time)
Stadium: Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos, TX (capacity = 30,000)
Home Field Advantage: ranked 37th out of 55 mid-major teams
Affiliation: will begin play in Sun Belt this season
2012 Losses: 9/21 at Texas Tech (lost 58-10 in 2012)
Stats to Fear: allowed opponents to convert 46.5% of third downs (last in WAC), only had 12 sacks in 2012 (118th in Nation)
Stats to Cheer: averaged 5.21 ypc and scored 24 rushing TDs
Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 104th out of 124 teams
Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 6, Defense 7, Special Teams 2
Key Defensive Returnees: S Xavier Daniels (66 tackles), CB Craig Mager (48 tackles, 4 INT), S Justin Iwuji (46 tackles), LB David Mayo (41 tackles)
Key Offensive Returnees: WR Andy Erickson (39 rec), WR Isaiah Battle (26 rec), WR Brandon Smith (21 rec)
CFBZ: Dennis Franchione has been the head coach of the Bobcats for two seasons and has posted a 10-14 record. What do you think of the job he's done so far?
Tyler Mayforth: Dennis Franchione took over a tough situation at Texas State. Franchione had to lead the Bobcats as a Football Championship Subdivision Independent and then as a first-year program in the Football Bowl Subdivision with one of the toughest schedules for a program in the same position. Is 10-14 a solid record in two years with those things known? No. Many felt Texas State didn't live up to expectations in 2011 with a 6-6 record and while the Bobcats' win at Houston was quite unexpected, their losses overshadowed what positive things they did in 2012. Franchione created solid momentum with recent recruiting classes and that's a step in the right direction.
CFBZ: This season the Bobcats must replace their QB (Shaun Rutherford) and their leading rusher (Marcus Curry). Who do you expect to fill their shoes?
CFBZ: What will make the 2013 season a success in your eyes?
Tyler Mayforth: A successful season in 2013 would see Texas State reach its first bowl game in school history. Moderate success would be winning five games. Failure would be to win four or less games.
It's so tough to judge a team like Texas State because they have just crossed the border from FCS to FBS and Franchione is essentially building the team from scratch. Something to hang their hats on is the recruiting class that Franchione brought in this year. According to 24/7 sports, they ranked third in the Sun Belt in 2013. One thing that could go a long way for the Bobcats this year is the amount of JUCOs they have brought in. According to Scout.com, they bring in nine JUCOs with five of them on defense and four on offense.
The Bobcats are replacing their QB and their RB so they could struggle to find balance early in the year but they are returning 76 career OL starts with five linemen having eight or more starts to their record. That being said, I think the key to this season is defense. They only had 12 sacks in 2012 and 8.5 of those are no longer with the team. The Bobcats must replace three of their four leading tacklers including Joplo Barto. Franchione has recruited heavily in the secondary but he needs improvement at all levels of the defense especially on the defensive line.
In it's first year playing against FBS competition the Bobcats went 4-8 and had victories over FBS teams Houston, Idaho and New Mexico State. This year the Bobcats make the move to the Sun Belt and the schedule seems like it eases up just a bit with the addition of Georgia State, South Alabama and switching out Stephen F Austin for Prarie View State as their FCS opponent. When you include Idaho that's four probable wins on the schedule. The wins look like they could come easier but after those four "probable" wins it's tough to see where the next win might come from. Will Southern Miss bounce back, can they catch WKU or Wyoming at home or can they win one at Troy? I look at the floor being three wins for this team with a ceiling of seven wins. Split the difference and the Bobcats finish 5-7 in their first year in the Sun Belt.
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