2023 Southland Conference Football Schedules, Coaching Changes and More

May 15, 2023 by Staff

The 2023 Southland football schedule will feature 8 teams playing a round-robin conference schedule and 4 unaffiliated teams. All will vie for the automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs. Half will be led by a new head coach.

Here is the school membership for 2023:
Houston Christian
Incarnate Word (UIW)
NW State (La.)
SE Louisiana
Texas A&M - Commerce

You could call this the Texas-Louisiana Conference as every institution is in one of those two states.

In 2022, SE Louisiana and UIW shared the conference title. However, the Lions won the regular season matchup 41-35 in Hammond to break the tie for the automatic qualifier bid to the FCS playoffs where they hosted and defeated Idaho 45-42 before losing at Samford 48-42.

UIW got a first-round bye as the No. 7 seed and made it to the semifinals before bowing to 35-32 at North Dakota State. The Cardinals edged Furman 41-38 in the second round and then headed to Sacramento State where they escaped with a 66-63 win in the highest scoring game in FCS playoffs history.

The 2022 Final FCS Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com had UIW ranked 4th and SE Louisiana 24th. And the computer's picks hit nearly 77% straight up and just under 55% against the spread.

Sam Houston won the Covid season FCS National Championship in the Bearkats' final season in the Southland. They then joined the WAC before moving up to the FBS, or major college level, this year.

Coaching Changes

A full 50% of the teams in the Southland Conference have hired a new head coach since the end of the 2022 season.

See the entire list of FCS head coaching changes.

Houston Christian: Vic Shealy resigned on November 21 after a 2-9 season and a 10-year mark of 21-79. He was 7-57 in conference play.

Braxton Harris was announced as his replacement on December 13. Harris spent the last three seasons as a top assistant at Campbell as AHC, LB coach and recruiting coordinator. He was 7-23 as HC at D3 Howard Payne from 2017-2019.

Incarnate Word: G.J.Kinne was nabbed by FBS member Texas State after spending just one season with UIW which finished 12-2 after falling in the FCS Playoff semifinals at North Dakota State.

New head coach Clint Killough is a UIW alum and player (2013-2015) who served as AHC this past season under Kinne.

Lamar: Blane Morgan was fired on November 21 after going 5-23 over-all and 3-16 in conference games.

New head coach Peter Rossomando was hired on December 12. He was the interim head coach of FBS member Charlotte for the final 4 games of the 2022 season, going 2-2. He previously was the HC at D2 New Haven from 2009-2013 (42-13) and FCS member Central Connecticut State from 2014-2018 (23-34) with at least one playoff appearance with each school.

Texas A&M-Commerce: After failing to reach terms on a new deal with David Bailiff, the school Clint Dolezel who was the HC with the Frisco (TX) Fighters of the Indoor Football League. Dolozel is member of the school's Hall Of Fame. The 3-sport star (football, golf and track) is the first alum to be named head football coach at A&M-Commerce since Will Hill Acker (1929-30).

Bailiff subsequently went back to his alma mater as a special assistant under former UIW head coach G.J. Kinne.


The 8 Southland Conference schools will combine to face 11 FBS opponents. Every school has at least one on its schedule while three teams - Nicholls State, Northwestern State and SE Louisiana - each have two.

September 2

There are 3 Southland-FBS games on Labor Day weekend.

  • UIW travels to El Paso for the second time since 2015 to take on the UTEP Miners after the last visit resulted in a narrow 27-17 loss. This is the debut game for new head coach Clint Killough
  • SE Louisiana opens with consecutive FBS paydays with first trip coming on opening weekend at Mississippi State
  • Northwestern State goes 144 miles SSE to Ragin' Cajun country to face Louisiana. The Blue Demons only trail the series 32-29-3 after losing the last 3

September 9

There are 6 Southland-FBS games in week 2.

  • Houston Christian will visit Western Kentucky for the second time since 2016 and hope for a better result than the 50-3 they endured the last time around wehn the school was still known as Houston Baptist. This year's game comes a week after hosting NAIA school Arkansas Baptist
  • Lamar goes to Lousiana-Monroe whom they played annually from 1975 to 1988, in additon to meetings in 1961 and '62. Lamar is 6-9-1 in the series
  • McNeese visits Florida in a first-time meeting between the Cowboys and Gators
  • Nicholls is going for the big dough with two trips to solid FBS programs. The Colonels' first FBS stop in 2023 will be a first-ever date with TCU in Fort Worth
  • Northwestern State heads 72 miles NNE from Natchitoches to Ruston to face Louisiana Tech. The Bue Demons trail in the series, 46-17-5. Only 8 meetings have ever taken place in Natchitoches where they've split those games
  • SE Louisiana plays its second consecutive FBS team as the Lions travel to Mobile to take on South Alabama

September 23

There are 2 Southland-FBS games on September 23.

  • After visiting TCU on September 9, Nicholls travels about 60 miles northeast to face Tulane, the defending Cotton Bowl champions who upset USC in dramatic fashion
  • Texas A&M-Commerce visits Old Dominion in the first-ever meeting between the two schools

Team-by-Team Schedules
*denotes conference game

9/2 Arkansas Baptist (NAIA)
9/9 at Western Kentucky
9/16 at UT Martin
9/23 at SE Louisiana*
9/30 Lamar*
10/7 at Nicholls State*
10/14 Prairie View A&M
10/28 Texas A&M-Commerce*
11/4 at Northwestern State (La.)*
11/11 at McNeese State*
11/18 Incarnate Word*

9/2 at Texas-El Paso
9/9 at Northern Colorado
9/16 at Abilene Christian
9/23 North American (NAIA)
10/7 SE Louisiana*
10/14 Texas A&M-Commerce*
10/21 at McNeese State*
10/28 at Lamar*
11/4 Nicholls State*
11/11 Northwestern State (La.)*
11/18 at Houston Christian*

8/31 Idaho
9/9 at Louisiana–Monroe
9/16 at South Dakota
9/23 Lincoln, CA (D2)
9/30 at Houston Christian*
10/7 Northwestern State (La.)*
10/14 at SE Louisiana*
10/28 Incarnate Word*
11/4 Texas A&M-Commerce*
11/11 at Nicholls State*
11/18 McNeese State*

9/2 Tarleton State*
9/9 at Florida
9/16 at Alcorn State
9/23 at Eastern Illinois
9/30 Nicholls State*
10/7 at Texas A&M-Commerce*
10/21 Incarnate Word*
10/28 Northwestern State (La.)*
11/4 at SE Louisiana*
11/11 Houston Christian*
11/18 at Lamar*

9/2 Sacramento State
9/9 at TCU
9/23 at Tulane
9/30 at McNeese"
10/7 Houston Christian*
10/14 Northwestern State (La.)*
10/21 at Texas A&M-Commerce*
10/28 Southeast Missouri
11/4 at UIW*
11/11 Lamar*
11/16 at SE Louisiana*

9/2 at Louisiana-Lafayette
9/9 at Louisiana Tech
9/16 Stephen F. Austin
9/30 Eastern Illinois
10/7 at Lamar*
10/14 at Nicholls State*
10/21 SE Louisiana*
10/28 at McNeese State*
11/4 Houston Christian*
11/11 at Incarnate Word*
11/18 Texas A&M-Commerce*

9/2 at Mississippi State
9/9 at South Alabama
9/16 at Eastern Washington
9/23 Houston Christian*
9/30 Tarleton State
10/7 at Incarnate Word*
10/14 Lamar*
10/21 at Northwestern State (La.)*
11/4 McNeese State*
11/11 at Texas A&M-Commerce*
11/16 Nicholls State*

8/31 UC Davis
9/9 at Sacramento State
9/23 at Old Dominion
9/30 at Stephen F. Austin
10/7 McNeese State*
10/14 at Incarnate Word*
10/21 Nicholls State*
10/28 at Houston Christian*
11/4 at Lamar*
11/11 SE Louisiana*
11/18 at Northwestern State (La.)*