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Traveling Trojans bowl bound again

After breaking down the schedules for both Auburn and Alabama last week, I have come to the conclusion there should be three, if not, four schools from the state of Alabama playing in a postseason bowl this season, including the Troy Trojans.

The Trojans struggled last season after a successful 2004 campaign, winning only four games, with three of those coming against conference opponents.

Troy returns several talented skill position players on offense and several more on a defense that struggled last season, meaning the Trojans should be poised for a successful conference run, although the non-conference schedule is brutal.

Sept. 2 Troy vs. Alabama State

This game has a lot of local appeal with both teams in a relatively close geographic area and could be the biggest game in Hornet history if Alabama State can manage the upset. With this game being at home in Troy, the Trojans will have no problem with their neighbors from the northŠ Troy 30, Alabama State 10.

Sept. 9 Florida State vs. Troy

Troy head coach Larry Blakeney has figured out how to get his Trojans national exposure in recent years, and he knows winning can bring the most and best exposure of all. The Trojans have been great against Mississippi State and Missouri, except for last year's contest, but Florida State is of a different breed. You can never count out the Trojans when the odds makers seem to want to, but this one could get out of hand by the fourth quarterŠ Florida State 42, Troy 14.

Sept. 16 Georgia Tech vs. Troy

Without even having time to lick their wounds from the Florida State game, the men of Troy will have their hands full once again when they make the short trip up to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix has taken over play-calling duties for the Yellow Jackets so expect Tech quarterback Reggie Ball to be the centerpiece of the offensive game planŠ Georgia Tech 38, Troy 13.

Sept. 23 Nebraska vs. Troy

Either Blakeney has gone mad or he knows something the rest of us do not. Consecutive games at Tallahassee, Atlanta and Lincoln are three games nobody wants in a row, so either Blakeney wants his team tried and tested before conference play starts or he has a hunch he can at least knock off one of the three. If recent trends prove true, this game is his best chanceŠ Nebraska 35, Troy 20.

Sept. 30 UAB vs. Troy

UAB got the best of Troy last season but that was in the next to the last game. Last season's loss also followed two big opponents in Columbia, South Carolina and Missouri that is, but playing three big opponents this year should have the Trojans ready for the BlazersŠ Troy 24, UAB 21.

Oct. 14 Troy vs. Louisiana-Monroe

Monroe upset the Trojans last season in a stunning loss and with this game being a conference game, the Trojans cannot afford four losses in the first six games. Revenge is sweetŠ Troy 23, Louisiana-Monroe 13.

Oct. 28 Troy vs. North Texas

Troy took the home game from North Texas last season in Denton and with this year's game falling in Troy, the Trojans should be poised for win No. 3 in a row. This one will be close, though. Real closeŠ Troy 17, North Texas 16.

Nov. 4 Troy vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Louisiana-Lafayette snuck one out last season, 31-28, but the game fell in Bayou. With this year's game taking place in Troy, lookout all you Louisiana teams. The men of Troy are comingŠ Troy 27, Louisiana-Lafayette 20.

Nov. 11 Florida Atlantic vs. Troy

While there isn't much in Boca Raton except retirees, they have discovered football and last season's game was closer than expected. Troy escaped with a 14-point victory at home last year, but with the game in Florida, this one could be a trapŠ Troy 23, Florida Atlantic 18.

Nov. 18 Troy vs. Arkansas State

Arkansas State upset the Trojans last season in Jonesboro, 9-3, but the improved Troy offense should allowed for a more points and more excitementŠ Troy 24, Arkansas State 14.

Nov. 25 Middle Tennessee vs. Troy

The Trojans couldn't handle Middle Tennessee in the opening game of the 2005 season and that set the tone for down year. The game is in Murfreesboro this year and that doesn't bode well for Troy. If the Trojans can keep it close going into the fourth quarter, this one could be one of the best games of the dayŠ Middle Tennessee 21, Troy 17.

Dec. 2 Florida International vs. Troy

This relatively new program is located in one of the best football cities in the world, Miami, but competing for athletes with the University of Miami makes it difficult to compete on the fieldŠ Troy 19, Florida International 14.

If the Trojans can hang on and win the games they are supposed to win, an 8-4 record is not out of the question.

However, if the murderous stretch of FSU, Georgia Tech and Nebraska wears the Trojans thin, Blakeney and crew could be in for another long season.