Thursday, October 21, 2004

UAB @ Tulane Preview

Today we are faced with yet another cruel reality- assuming that incompetent idiot Scelfo can even find the Gormley with the bus. If you charily search through multiple articles titled “Choke” and “Damn Yankees”, you find that the NY Post spots Tulane eighteen points- sharply up from sixteen earlier in the week.

Now, I thought the past two weeks’ selections were pretty obvious. ECU should not be favored by a score over, say, Jesuit High School. And hanging with Memphis was a practical impossibility- which made it easy to grab the Tigers. Nevertheless, this week is perplexing- as this line is very fair. This is a real threat to the 4-0 “picks against the spread” start.

The Memphis game, with its enormous spread, was a psychological exercise- did Memphis have the will to hang 50 or so points necessary on the Wave to cover the 24? This spread still has a psychological portion to it- but it also suggests that someone in Vegas thinks the Wave might not just get utterly rolled in this spot.

Probably because Tulane played the Blazers pretty well last year. Normally, teams that inflict horrific whippings on Tulane feature players that the Wave flat out cannot handle in the trenches- for example, Memphis the past two years. I sense that is not how the Blazers will try to attack Scelfo- straightforwardly bludgeoning the young Wave into submission. That just isn’t their offense.

I have no doubt UAB will have a Memphis-style field day on our defense. If TCU couldn’t hold them under 35, I really doubt Tulane will. Tulane cannot stop either the run or pass at this point. But since our line and ‘backers might not be totally physically overwhelmed here against their rushing attack, the Blazers might not have a grotesque number at the end- maybe more like 35 points than 45? So the question to me is can the Greenies get to the 21-24 points we’ll probably need to cover in this spot?

And you know what, I sort of think they will. Although the recent schedule has featured bruising losses, the offense has haltingly made some progress. Ricard has been merely “kind of bad”- not “close your eyes bad”. Some of that is the pass protection has been very good two weeks in a row- and the wide outs have stepped up and made some quality catches- helping the young QB out. And I imagine Tulane might be able to block this UAB front seven more than a little bit. Once more, the kids seem to do better against quick defensive fronts than ones that feature brute strength. That, coupled with Tulane being in the game a little longer than we were versus Memphis- means the backs should have a USM-style rushing day rather than a Memphis-style one.

If they can do that, I can easily imagine the Wave scoring 14-17 points while the game is competitive- and throw in a garbage time score- you are near that 20-24 magic point number.

That is a lot of “if’s”: block our rushing game, Ricard not "blink your eyes incredulously" bad, etc. But there is enough here to keep the Homecoming game competitive until the second half. Gingerly- as the sharp line move worries me- let’s play the Wave for the second time this year- and take those 18 points.